Moving out: Anti-wind activist leaves Ontario worried for family’s health

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Activist Esther Wrightman (right) is leaving the province after losing the fight to stop wind turbines from going up in her backyard.

 

Esther Wrightman feels like she is being evicted from her own home.

The woman who has been at the forefront of the anti-industrial wind turbine movement in Middlesex and Lambton County is moving to New Brunswick.

Wrightman, who heads up the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Concerns group and runs the Ontario Wind Resistance website, put up the for sale sign on her home Tuesday as workers from NextEra continue to put up wind turbines around her home just outside of Warwick. She says it was one of the toughest things she’s ever done. “You feel like you’ve been evicted,” says Wrightman who fears for the health of her family.

“I don’t think we had much of a choice here,” she says. “When you have people in your family with (pre-existing) health problems…you can’t risk it to stay…you have to leave.”

Wrightman has be in the forefront of the fight against a number of projects, including the Bornish and Adelaide projects by NextEra Energy which are right in her backyard. She went to the Ontario Energy Board to try to stop the company from building its transmission wires down the roads in her community, but lost. Now, crews are busy in the neighbourhood putting up one turbine after another.

“It really does make you want to throw up,” she says as she watches the turbines go up in the places which used to be dots on maps in NextEra’s plans. “I know these dots on these maps in my head now, after so many years now – where they are and who they effect …And then you see the dots ripped in the ground…yeah this is exactly what I had imagined. Somewhere in my mind there was a chance it wouldn’t happen…but now it’s holes and concrete… “This is what I thought would happen, but now its worse because it has happened.

“These companies have come in, they won’t be staying as people they’ll be staying as machines but you have to stay and suffer or you have to leave…That does make me angry.”

Wrightman says some of that anger has worn off as she plans to move her family to New Brunswick with her parents. New Brunswick isn’t pursuing wind energy so the family will take its nursery business to the province this summer and start again. The activist may have to return to Ontario. NextEra is suing Wrightman for libel after labeling the company as Next-Terror on line and on placards during some of the dozens of demonstrations she’s been part of. She’s not ready to walk away from that fight.

“They’ve taken my place, taken my home that I was so attached to, and five years of my life fighting,” she says. “I’m determined that they won’t take my right to speak out as a person. I’m determined they won’t take my happiness and they won’t take my health and the health of my family.”

But she admits they have taken away some very precious things – her sense of being rooted in a community and her faith in the political system. “I cannot put any faith in politicians at all…It’s a game and your pawns in their game,” says Wrightman who won’t stay in Ontario to see if an anticipated provincial election will change the situation.

Wrightman says she is concerned for the neighbours she leaves behind and the impression she may leave with others who are still fight projects in their neighbourhoods. “It does look somewhat that I’m pulling up stakes, leaving retreating. I don’t like how it looks. I’m sure the wind companies like it, “ she says. “Some people may say ‘you need to stay you have to stay and help,’ As much as I would like to stay and fight I can’t do that to my family.”

In the end, she says it is a personal choice to leave the province to protect the health of her family. “I’m a voice I’m a single person…this is what happens. We fought, we pushed them back,” she says adding she doesn’t know what to say to others continuing the fight. “When they ask, what could I do, I don’t even know what to tell them – fight government? Fight wind companies? I don’t know. Now, when the wind turbines are up its even harder – it’s almost impossible. They’re not coming down. “It’s a hard pill to swallow.”

24 Responses to “Moving out: Anti-wind activist leaves Ontario worried for family’s health”

  1. Rodney

    This woman is a radial protester. There is zero evidence that wind turbines have any negative health effects. That you would publish this biased nonsense shows your lack of journalistic integrity.

    Reply
    • Richard Hardman

      Rodney what’s the source of your revelation about the health effects of Wind Turbines? Can you even see a wind turbine from where you live?

      Reply
    • charlene winger

      Only someone with a vested private interest in these IWTs would make such a comment. Not only are these IWTs a health concern to those who live near them, they are a financial disaster for Ontario and all of the Ontario citizens will pay the price in the long term. They make absolutely no sense…which is why so many other countries are now having them removed…or preventing any more from going up. The recent research now coming out supports the concerns being expressed by so many citizens today. Even the urban folks will one day regret losing the beauty of their rural, countryside play grounds to these ugly and dangerous structures. Ontario is selling out to the Americans and their ,put the dollar first’ ways. Nextera, and other companies like them, use a strategy to pit neighbours against one another by attempting to pay individual private land-owners to entice them to put these up regardless of how their neighbours and communities are impacted. Divide and conquer is the approach and it is up to us to stop it.

      Reply
    • Eric Jelinski P. Eng.

      What about the health studies, especially done by the University of Waterloo recently? The 550 metre setback decreed by the government has no basis in science.

      Reply
    • john lever

      maybe yes maybe no who knows. but everybody else cant be wrong all the time

      Reply
    • Marie

      Rodney, please go and talk to just one person living with giant wind turbines before commenting

      Thanks
      Marie
      Denmark

      Reply
    • Wind Energy's Absurd

      Yes Rodney, we too would be very interested to know the evidence on which you base your assertion that there is zero evidence that wind turbines have any negative health effects. Interesting that you think that Esther Wrightman is a radial protestor. We should all take that as a compliment; we all do indeed radiate from or converge to a common center; war on wind.

      Reply
  2. C. McLean

    This is what it always boil down to for those who are affected by turbines. The fight ends up being one that only a few end up fighting because residents are too apathetic to gather forces and claim their rights as Canadian citizens. Ontario is losing decent, honest, hardworking people, like the Wrightmans, all because residents would rather deny the problem then take action. It may be uncomfortable to stand up and be counted, stick your neck out and say something against wind development, but it ends up being a lot harder putting up with this kind invasion on your personal and property rights. I’m sorry to see the Wrightmans go, but wish them well. They have made the best decision for them.

    Reply
  3. Bob Lewis

    Esther was never our leader – she was always an inspiration. I don’t know anyone who has given more of themselves. Those who think she needs to stay, they need to step up. One person can only give so much.

    Reply
  4. James Wrightman (@jayt90)

    Too bad the local Conservatives didn’t catch this firebrand when they had a chance.

    Reply
    • Eric Jelinski P. Eng.

      I agree, Hudak’s handlers, if not Hudak, are not very smart when it comes to dealing with these issues.

      Reply
  5. Wind Energy's Absurd

    Esther has fought so well and so hard, not only for her own rights but for others; she has been inspirational globally. Now it’s time for her to put herself and family first. She has nothing at all with which to reproach herself and we wish her and her family all the luck in the world for their future in New Brunswick. Oh, and NextEra, you would do well to retain whatever degree of credibility you still might have and drop your libel case, which still smacks, across the world, of harassment!

    Reply
  6. larr

    Set in my mind they will come down,got to blow those trumpets louder.
    We are dealing with corporate fictional corporations that have an appetite for money. No thought process for the living or a care in the world,just money and the false preaching of green energy bul crap

    Reply
  7. Eric Jelinski P. Eng.

    The government process for wind turbine implementation defies all that is being taught about respect for humans in post secondary education.
    The 550 metre setback has no basis in science. The government, nor the College of Physicians, nor the Ontario Medical Association, nor the Ontario Nurses Association have addressed any of the e-mails that I have written to them. So much for respect of the “self governing professions” if they personally, jointly, severally do not have any kind of response to these issues, it certainly means these “self governing bodies” are slaves beholden to the government. I conclude that we may be better off with out those individuals individually, jointly and severally. We can also discuss highway safety where 40% f accidents are preventable, yet nothing is done to prevent accidents. We can discuss cigarette smoking, yet nothing is being done to eliminate smoking. We can discuss diabetes, and obesity due to sugars, yet nothing is being done about this. I rest my case. Eric Jelinski P. Eng.

    Reply
  8. Gisela Rust

    Dear Ester, I wish you peace yourself and your family you did all you could start a new live and love your children and parents. Try to forget all the insults. Just start a new live where ever you go. I wish you well.
    Love Gisela

    Reply
  9. Mpoppnot

    Ester Wrightman we all hate NexTerror. Their lobbyist were key in getting our State bill killed to regulate IWT’S in Alabama. We may not be able to stop every project but they will not forget the fight!

    Reply
  10. nadia nichols

    Esther, thank you for your courage and committment to the truth. You are not a loser, you’re an inspiration to all of us who face the same fight. No special interest lobby or corrupt politicians can hide the truth about industrial wind power for long, and in the end, the truth will prevail.

    Reply
  11. Vitto

    Thank you for all of your work Esther. Thank you to your family as well.
    I I truly hope that your future holds peace of mind and good health for all of you.
    May your transition be smooth and joyful.
    Please let everyone know when you and the family are safely re-located.
    Be assured the “conversation” with your neighbors who sold their souls to the devil…is not over!

    Reply
  12. Jim McPherson

    Esther, thank you for being an Ontario heroine for those of us who understand the impending demolition that the Wind Industry is bringing to our rural communities. I hope that the next Ontario government will bring some of the attributes of leadership and resolve that you have shown, and that they will change the Green Energy legislation and impose measures that will clean up the fiscal and social mess left behind by the McGuinty and Wynne green dreamers. Somebody needs to show the understanding and the courage to stand up to Big Wind, and there is no evidence that that the Horwath gang has it. Hope you will return to Ontario when the dust settles.

    Reply
  13. Jimmy Stewart

    Esther:
    Thank you so much for everything you’ve done. You made so many people get off their behinds and take notice. You spurred people to action, and for that we will be forever grateful. You’ve made the proper decision for your family, and we wish you every blessing and success in your new home.

    Reply
  14. Tammy Huffstutlar

    Where is Rodney? My family also has pre-existing health issues here in Oklahoma. We are fighting the wind turbine corporate industry also. Please do your research before you make statements as such. Besides health issues, enviromental issues, there is the issue of your tax dollars going to support this boondoggle. Without your tax dollars this corporate welfare industry would not be in operation.

    Reply
  15. Jane Brewster

    I can empathises with this family as our situation is similar.
    Scotland is being covered with turbines by politicians who claim to be listening to the people and claim to love Scotland.
    This issue is all about money and power. The tragedy is politicians know the problems but, are choosing to ignore those they were elected to serve.
    I just hope my health can hold out to see the wind folly being blown away by common sense and voters who truly care about our country and her people.
    Come to Scotland before it is ruined.
    Electricity the life blood of a nation cannot be left the vagaries of the wind and the egos of politicians.

    Reply

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