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First reading of bill to terminate turbines passes in legislature

A turbine section being delivered to the Murphy Road site via the road around South Bay and the Mariner’s Museum. Irv Collier photo

The termination of nine industrial wind turbines in Prince Edward County began today at Queen’s Park with the introduction of a bill that includes the White Pines Wind Project Termination Act.

The bill passed first reading and is subject to two more reading before it is on its way to becoming a new law.

The industrial wind turbines have been under way for almost a decade and were to be in operation this fall.

“The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) is extremely pleased by today’s news,” said Gord Gibbins, APPEC chair.

The White Pines Wind Project Termination Act is retroactive to July 10, the date when Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, as Government House Leader, announced the recall of the House to deal with “several areas of public interest that require urgent attention” during the summer session.

“wpd was shocked at the news that the new government plans on cancelling the White Pines Wind project,” said wpd CEO Ian MacRae earlier this week. “wpd has been proudly working on this project for the last 10 years and have all regulatory approvals and permits in hand. Cancelling projects in construction was not part of the PCs election campaign.”

Dubbed the ‘Urgent Priorities Act’, the bill also removes independence of Hydro One by giving the provincial cabinet a veto over executive compensation and legislates an end to the York University strike.

“Once passed into law, the Act will terminate all wpd permits and revoke all approvals including the Project’s Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) contract and the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) that was issued to wpd three years ago today on July 16, 2015,” said Gibbins.

The Act also includes decommissioning, specifically that “wpd White Pines Wind Incorporated shall ensure that the White Pines Wind Project is decommissioned in accordance with regulations made under this Act or the Environmental Protection Act.”

In addition, the act states it must maintain the lands in a clean and safe condition and ensure they are left that way when it leaves.

“wpd White Pines Wind Incorporated is liable to the Crown for any costs or liabilities the Crown may incur as a result of a failure of wpd White Pines Wind Incorporated to meet these obligations.”

The Act does set out compensation for development, employment and decommissioning costs, but “The compensation payable is subject to various limitations and contingencies set out in that section and that may be further set out by regulations made under the Act.”

“While this comes as great news, celebrations are on hold as wpd carries on with construction,” he said. “Reports were received today of horizontal directional drilling on Royal Road and rock saw excavation on Crowes Road for underground distribution lines as well as reports of a turbine tower being transported to the site.”

“Section 5 of the Act extinguishes any existing proceedings, and prevents future proceedings, against the Crown, the IESO and other specified related persons in relation to the terminated contracts and agreements, the revoked permits and approvals, and the Act itself and actions taken, or not taken, in accordance with it.”

However, following a successful appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal, APPEC has been granted another court hearing seeking a “stay motion” to stop work by wpd.

Read the full act here: https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-2

 

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  1. Dave Thomas says:

    Sue3, when companies assess juridictions in which to invest, they seek certainty, certainty that a project won’t be expropriated. In effect this is what the provincial government has done.This is the sort of stuff that happens in the Congo or Bolivia, and now Ontario. For a long-life asset like a wind farm, that certainty needs to exceed more than one election cycle. Rationalize however way you wish, but I can assure you that we’ve just given Ontario a huge black mark in the eyes of the international investment community. For those of you who think “fine, bring it on”, true, you likely won’t be personally too impacted too much by lower foreign investment in Ontario but the implications are real and will contribute to the ongoing decline in the quality of life for its citizens including for our kids and grandkids. There ARE negative implications associated with this outcome which we must acknowledge and accept. Please note that this is coming from a birding enthusiast with a home on Point Petre Rd.

  2. Chris Keen says:

    Dave: Many of us have been writing cheques for ten years to support the groups that have fought this project.

    It most certainly should not have gone ahead and could have been cancelled by Wynne’s government, at relatively little cost, months ago. It was not. I am one of many who believe this was the Liberal’s way of thanking wpd for their financial support. The only thing that is appalling about this is that wpd was allowed to proceed in the first place. Governments have the right to reverse bad decisions made by those in power previously.

    wpd continues to work when the project is clearly near death. They are subjecting residents to ear-shattering noise as they continue to dig trenches for cable. This is nothing but petty vindictiveness and irresponsible behaviour, not to mention bad management.

    Oh, and the $100 million? That’s wpd’s number, not the government’s.

  3. Tech2 says:

    Reputation works in a number of ways. Ontarian’s also do not want to be known as easy targets over which any government can ride roughshod. This project has always been about money. The money wpd will make, the money the landowners will make and the money that those poor folks within 500m will lose. It should come as no surprise that money will again feature in the final chapter of this ill conceived project.

  4. Sue3 says:

    Regarding Ontario’s reputation; I would think that the majority of companies/businesses wanting to invest in the province would be welcome by the people and communities in Ontario.
    This is not the case with the wind farms.
    Objections to the project have been very clear from the start.
    Therein lies the difference.

  5. Dave Thomas says:

    Does anyone care about the reputational damage to Ontario as a jurisdiction to invest? While people may be happy with the outcome, the path taken to this outcome is appalling. To those of you who are fine with paying whatever it takes to stop the project: Put your money where your ideology is and write a cheque to the “WPD Contact Buyout Fund”.

    This project should never have gone ahead. Now, the taxpayer will be out $100M. Just think of the good $100M could do, whether it is building healthcare facilities, improving infrastructure or enhancing the quality of government service delivery. Further, the broader negative economic impact will far exceed the payout. Ontario will be viewed under the same guise and suspicion of a developing country run by a tin pot dictator. Capital is mobile.

  6. Fred says:

    Can a stop progression work order not be given? We don’t need the daily convoy of massive parts to the sites.

  7. Paula Peel says:

    In response to “w”, perhaps instead of looking for something to complain about we should be grateful about not being stuck paying for the White Pines Wind Project for the next 20 years. It’s been estimated that cancelling the White Pines Wind Project could save taxpayers/ratepayers over $420 million. According to Energy Analyst Parker Gallant, the IESO could have cancelled the FIT contract after the Project was reduced in size to only 9 turbines: “If (the) IESO had canceled the contract, the Ministry could have claimed they reduced future rate increases saving ratepayers $21 million annually or $420 million over the full 20-year term.”

    But Chris Keen is right. No price tag can be put on the damage the White Pines Wind Project would have caused over the next 20 years.

  8. old local says:

    They continue putting them up , even when told the gig’s up ! The City of Munich has a lot of money being wasted right now by W.P.D. So much for that investment !
    Rip em right out of the ground ! Think about the nice jump in property values once this fiasco is settled.
    Priceless !

  9. Chris Keen says:

    I have no idea how to value the endangered species and other wildlife that make the south end of the County their home, or the millions of birds that migrate through the area in spring and fall. But I am sure they are worth far more than wpd will receive in compensation. This was always the wrong project in the worst possible location for the environment.

  10. w says:

    Chris you might have a different view when it goes to court and the province has to pay out millions which falls on the taxpayers

  11. Chris Keen says:

    Gute riddance! Komm nicht zurück!!

  12. Dee says:

    Interesting to hear of APPEC’s being granted another hearing for a “stay motion” but it will have to happen soon, as driving down Bond Road yesterday they were still working on it and Johnston Road, and heard that a resident was told by them that they are continuing to work and by the time the government gets approval of bill, the white pines will be completed.

    In the end, I am curious to see how much this is going to cost the taxpayer…good news and bad news.

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