The Ontario Assessment Review Board has ruled that there is no evidence the presence of a wind farm affected the value of Ed and Gail Kenney’s waterfront property on the west end of Wolfe Island, a rural community located in the Township of Frontenac Islands on Lake Ontario.
The Municipal Assessment Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) assessed the Kenney property at $357,000 for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 taxation years, a valuation that the Kenney’s objected to due to their proximity to the Wolfe Island Wind Project, the second largest wind farm in Canada, which has been in commercial operation since June 2009. The Kenney’s property is located within 1 km of three turbines, 2 km of 14 turbines and 3 km of 27 turbines. The Kenney’s argued that the existence of the wind farm reduced the value of their property because of the various nuisances or annoyances that it caused.
The Board rejected the Kenney’s arguments. In particular, the Board found that:
- the noise from the wind turbines has not restricted the Kenneys’ activities;
- there was no direct link between Ms. Kenney’s complaints about tinnitus and the wind farm;
- neither “shadow flicker” or lighting on the turbines interferes with the Kenneys’ enjoyment of the property;
- the Kenney’s view of the waterfront from their property (a view which could affect property value) was unaffected;
- there was no evidence presented to show that industrial traffic from the farm causing increased wait-times for the island ferry reduced the value of properties on Wolfe Island; and
- there was no evidence presented to demonstrate that the wind turbines caused a degradation of the natural environment on the Kenney property.
Because MPAC has not yet developed a category in its assessment formula for proximity to wind turbines, the only way for the Board to assess whether the property was over-valued was through analysing sales of similar property on Wolfe Island. The Board examined listings and sales of property on the island, focusing on sales of waterfront property, and found that sales of such property following the approval, construction and operation of the wind farm had not slowed and that the selling price of the properties did not indicate that the wind farm had any depreciative effect on value.
As a result of these findings, the Board concluded that there was nothing to indicate that the value of the Kenneys’ property had been negatively affected by the creation or operation of the wind farm and confirmed MPAC’s assessment of the property at $357,000.
For more information, see Kenney v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp. Region No. 05.