Hundreds of Canadians demonstrated on Tuesday calling for an end to subsidies for wind power, saying noise from colossal turbines is making some people sick and driving down rural property prices.

Organizers told AFP about 800 farmers and other rural residents rallied outside a clean energy forum in downtown Toronto against a government subsidy for wind and solar power projects.

They said in a statement the program has resulted in "unbridled and unnecessary development" of wind power projects throughout Ontario, "which is altering rural communities, causing power bills to rise dramatically, and even causing some people to become ill from exposure to the environmental noise."

And they called for Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to resign for pushing wind power as part of a clean energy agenda.

Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, one of the 40 groups represented at the protest, said in a telephone interview, "People like to point to wind mills in Holland. These machines are nothing like that.

"They're huge power-producing machines that make noise and produce a vibration... that is felt in the inner ear, similar to the bass from a passing car that's playing loud music."

"People can't sleep at night, they get headaches, nauseous and dizzy," she said.

Others lamented premiums paid for wind and solar energy, saying Ontario's feed-in-tariff program, which led to thousands of small rooftop solar installations and large wind farms to pop up across the province, is driving up energy costs.

McGuinty said his government would lower the subsidies the province pays for future wind and solar energy projects.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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