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MPP Smith announces cancellation of turbine project in Prince Edward County

UPDATE: County residents were protesting the wpd Canada industrial wind turbines at Bond and County Road 10 when they heard the news Tuesday of the project’s pending cancellation.

“Today’s citizen action photo opportunity at Bond Road and County Road 10 was a great success with 40 to 50 participants coming out to demonstrate their anger and dismay towards the IESO for issuing a Notice to Proceed (NTP) to wpd White Pines Wind Inc, after the election campaign was under way,” said Gord Gibbins, chair of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC). “The group delayed the delivery convoy of large wind turbine parts for a short period for the photo op. The organizers clearly achieved their objective to send a strong message to Queen’s Park. A great job by the organization committee.”

Gibbins said APPEC and its supporters deserve a big call out “in representing the County’s best interests and concerns in such a short time and for following through on his election promises.”

APPEC will be conferring with legal counsel Eric Gillespie on next steps, including the upcoming stay motion, Gibbins said, “to ensure best results given the latest information from Todd Smith.

“We are extremely pleased and looking forward, as always with the continued support of our members, to a County that is turbine-free!”

JULY 10 – Todd Smith has announced the cancellation of wpd’s industrial wind turbine project in Prince Edward County.

“We will introduce legislation to cancel the White Pines industrial wind turbine project which received its Notice to Proceed during the election period – before the government had any chance to make any decisions on the project for the benefit of the people of Prince Edward County,” said Smith.

“You can also expect us to act to ensure that going forward, local communities are better protected from having these kinds of projects imposed on them against their will.”

Smith, Bay of Quinte MPP, and now also Minister of Government and Consumer Services, and Government House Leader, delivered remarks today at Queen’s Park in Toronto.

He stated the Conservative Party has decided to recall the House to deal with “several areas of public interest that require urgent attention” during the summer session.

“The people of Ontario can’t afford to wait, and they won’t have to” he said, and pointed to three priorities.

The government, he said, will use legislative tools to protect York University students from the ongoing labour dispute to see it resolved.

“We will strike Ontario’s cap-and-trade carbon tax law from the books, and repeal any legislation that would enable a future government to impose a cap-and-trade carbon tax in future,” said Smith.

Addressing media questions about Ontario Hydro and “firing the $6 million man, Smith noted “We are five plus business days into the work of the new cabinet, and taking that issue seriously.” (Watch the video to hear him speak, and  media questions on Ontario Hydro, cap and trade, alcohol, school building funds and other issues.)

Cheryl Anderson, of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, said she and others were in mid demonstration today in front of a turbine piece when they heard the news.

“General whooping, hollering and crying (me),” she said. “What a great victory for all the hard working people who never gave up through all these many years of fighting the undemocratic Green Energy Act and the Toronto- centric McGuinty/Wynne government.”

Anderson said that not only is Amherst Island destroyed by their actions, but also “there is a huge, unnecessary gas power plant spoiling the Bath road due to their cancellation of the Oakville plant to gain a seat in the 2015 election.”

The Field Naturalists send “huge thanks to Todd Smith who fought for PEC and kept his promise to cancel the wpd project. Now we need to finally raise the funds to finish paying the legal costs of this long fight.”

In July 2015, two of the 29 proposed turbines were not approved due to heritage concerns. In April 2017, the Environmental Review Tribunal found the wpd project “would cause serious and irreversible harm” to the natural environment (Blandings turtles and Little Brown bats) and removed 18 turbines from the project – all on the south shore and south of Royal Road. The Field Naturalists were instrumental in the removal of Gilead Power’s nine turbine project on the south shore in 2016, following an ERT ruling. Since, they have supported efforts by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County and the County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy (CCSAGE) to continue action through the courts.

South Marysburgh councillor Steve Ferguson, a candidate for mayor in November’s election, says he’s still processing the news of the announcement, but “I am thrilled for
the residents of South Marysburgh whose lives have been disrupted by the
project’s construction for so long. Clearly, there is a lot of work to do
to return the affected areas to what they were before all this began.”

Ferguson said he’s grateful to Todd Smith and the government “for doing what should have been done months ago when the project was secretly approved to the smaller,
nine-turbine, size.”

The community owes its gratitude to the citizen-driven volunteer organizations who fought so hard against the project, also to the residents, mayor and councillors of other areas of the County who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us in town hall meetings, marches and other activities.”

“We commend the Ontario government for taking swift action to end this project, which has been met with opposition across Prince Edward County,” said Mayor Robert Quaiff in a statment. “Council has taken the consistent position that the installation of nine industrial wind turbines in South Marysburgh would be detrimental to our pristine natural environment and our world-renowned reputation… The area is home to many families. Furthermore, the area offers habitat to birds, turtles, bats, and other animals, including many at-risk species.”

In 2013, council joined municipalities across the province declaring themselves “not a willing host” for industrial wind turbines.

“Moving forward, we strongly contend that municipalities must be consulted on the issues that are most pressing to them when it comes to industrial wind turbines, including: community vibrancy allocations, community and stakeholder engagement processes, wind turbine placement, compensation for lost property value and the availability of funding for municipalities to manage implementation.”

wpd Canada said the announcement comes “as an unmatched surprise” to wpd.

“Trust in the rule of law and investment security in Ontario would be trampled underfoot if the abrupt abandonment of the wind farm project, which is in the middle of construction, was confirmed,” said wpd board member Dr. Hartmut Brösamle. “A halt to construction without warning from the ministry would have significant economic consequences for all involved parties.”

Brösamle said the first wind turbine and the infrastructure have been completely installed are were slated to go live this coming September.

“The total investment volume is in the vicinity of CAD 100 million,” he said. “Like all other investors in Canada, wpd assumes that legally granted and valid approvals will be honored at any time and also in the event of a change of government. Anything else would send out a fatal signal to the entire economy. The protection of confidence is a great asset and will certainly not be called into question by the new government either. In this respect, wpd fully trusts the rule of law applicable in Canada and all its jurisdictions.”

 

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  1. Mike Rodgers says:

    Susan, any law they make will apply to anyone after the fact not before the fact. WPD will still sue and win and win big, just like the gas plant.

  2. Susan says:

    Our MPP has stated that the legislation to be presented canceling the wind factory will include measures to prevent litigation for costs, in order to protect taxpayers.

  3. Paul Cole says:

    The County says it will honor existing road agreements with wpd…

  4. Mark says:

    2 giant turbine blades going thru Picton right now heading for Milford.

  5. Paul Cole says:

    Common sense says defaulted contracts or cancelled contracts generally lead to lawsuits resulting in damages or loses don’t need to be lawyer to understand that…

  6. Robert Dafoe says:

    If WPD does not want to take down the turbines, stop payments on their other fit contracts until they do so.

  7. ADJ says:

    Too many wanna be lawyers on here! Interesting article on Quinte News just posted. Who knows who will be compensated ,,by whom,,who will restore property frontage, road conditions etc. to original. Early in the game but stay tuned.

  8. Ryan Noth says:

    The people on here who think this is about green energy or PEC getting off the grid are completely missing the point. This is foreign big business ruining the potential use of land on the south shore of PEC for agriculture, tourism, culture, and a host of future possibilities that would bring actual people and jobs to the area. Even the delivery of the parts for WPD were done by a foreign (US) company. None of WPD’s investments were ever going to legitimately affect PEC’s or the Ontario citizen’s energy situation, or bring any money to the area.

  9. Mark Bouckaert says:

    At a cost in penalties of $100 million I’ve heard… so we are now subsidizing Prince Edward county’s energy instead of spending it on school repairs. How disgusting!!!

  10. Dave Thomas says:

    Tech2, this idea that the Notice to Proceed was issued illegally is, frankly, laughable.

  11. Whatever says:

    Really, you think this is wpd’s first rodeo? You think they didn’t check their contract terms prior to starting?

  12. Tech2 says:

    Before we assume that WPD deserve any compensation, we should let the PC’s investigate the terms surrounding the release of the Notice to Proceed, to ensure that all was ‘above board’. This whole thing has had an odor from the start, and now this may be a good time to establish a source.

  13. Whatever says:

    This may end up costing more than you think (if you’ve thought of it at all). Contracts still have to be fulfilled one way or another. Don’t think wpd and all their contractors will be out of pocket. We will through taxes. So, congratulations on your big win!

  14. Lois says:

    Sad day. Progress is always being axed in this County.

  15. John says:

    You’d think that as an agricultural centre County people would be very concerned about climate and be prepared to support plans to address it. We are seeing draughts and floods, and this will just keep getting worse. The County is threatened by climate change. But we are cheering a government with zero plan for climate: no windmills, cheap gas so people drive more not less, canceling subsidies for clean energy initiatives, etc. The People want a cleaner environment as long as they are not impacted in any way. Agriculture could d be dead here in 20 years, but at least we can say we stopped the windmills.

  16. John says:

    Am I missing something here about WPD ‘playing by the rules’: what about the May-October prohibition on construction which was ignored?

    We all wish that South Marysburgh should be spared further devastation, but given their track record it’s difficult to imagine WPD cutting their losses now, dismantling what they’ve erected already, landscaping and replanting, and calling Germany to report mission failed. They are in too deep – they’ll push on even harder, get it all plugged in as soon as possible, and then lobby and sue like crazy to force the Tories forget expensive election promises, or this one anyway.

    The only absolute certainty is that a lot of corporate and government lawyers will stay longer on the gravy train.

  17. Wm Camp says:

    Wwo wrongs don’t make a right! just because Wynnes government made a mistake doesn’t justify Ford’s (Smith) government making another mistake that will end up clearly cost tax payer 100 million+ if this gets cancelled at this late date. I thought the Conservatives had better heads on their shoulders than this!

  18. Dave Thomas says:

    Who would have thought a Doug Ford government would be the County’s saviour at the 11th hour? But I agree, WPD will need to be compensated for the value of the power supply contract, not just costs incurred. This would be similar to the canceled gas plants. This will not be cheap. Will the County shoulder more than its share of the costs? I don’t know.

    Say what you wish about the witch being dead but WPD played by the rules. I actually feel sorry for WPD. My ire is with the former provincial government, which ignored local opposition time and again. A lot of money, time and emotional energy could have been saved had the prior government respected the wishes of the vast majority of people in the County.

    All politics are local. This is true for any infrastructure or other large scale project development. The Liberals chose to ignore this. Now we are left with a big mess to clean up, including the trenching mess along Royal Road.

  19. Gil says:

    Thank you Todd. Great work and continued squash the Turbines for many years!!!!

  20. Emily says:

    So Mayor Quaiffs Liberal Party which does not even hold party status in the legislature, gets another dose of reality today. Whoever thought PEC would lead a new government agenda in Ontario?

  21. Fred says:

    You are ignoring the action taken today as you seem to want to bring in what if’s. Enjoy the day. Attend the street beer party when the turbine blades are heading back out of the County instead of in. It is a glorious day for PEC.

  22. Dennis Fox says:

    Fred – get real, I was responding to a previous comment. If you think this is a done deal, then great, but don’t ask the rest of us to bury our heads because we happen to see a bigger and different picture, one that you seem unable to comprehend.

  23. Chuck says:

    They obviously had manufactured equipment/parts on order prior to approvals banking on the Liberal GEA. Lot of confidence. They are now dead!

  24. mike says:

    strange on how pieces continue on getting trucked in late this afternoon…

  25. Seeing is believing! Sure hope it’s true. When it’s finally over, I will celebrate. Go, Todd Smith! Hurray for the voice of reason!

  26. Poopycock says:

    Merp. Love Todd,good guy.
    Bad fight though. Prince Edward county needed this so bad. This isn’t a political issue picking sides and such. It’s aand environmental issue
    and with the turbines it’s a start to a better greener life.p

  27. Don F - South Bay says:

    Ding Dong the WITCH (WPD) is dead.
    Thank you, Thank You, Thank you. Todd, Robert, and Steve for all your work to KILL this project’
    However, let’s not forget the work that the APPEC, PECFN and CCSAGE folks and 100’s of supporters that have spend 10 plus years to fight this project. RIGHT FIGHTS MIGHT.
    Now let’s get those cheques ready.

  28. Nancy Pavan says:

    What about the mess in front of our B&B on Royal Road? Who will fix the huge hole they dig and the pile of rocks in front of our vineyard?

  29. John says:

    WPD proceeded at their own risk, knowingly, until May 11 when IESO illegally issued the “Notice to Proceed”. That Notice will be rescinded by the new government as it was issued during the election period in what will likely be proven to be a fraudulent manner.
    WPD may sue but will not win.

  30. Carman and Blanche Mcdermaid says:

    Finally! The majority has their voice back. Bravo

  31. Doug says:

    Wpd continued at their own risk

  32. Mario Panacci says:

    We were part of the protest team and yeah we couldn’t believe the timing of the news! We were literally standing in front of a turbine delivery truck taking pictures/video to further record our positions when the news came in. We kept asking where did the news come from and can we believe the source. It’s been a long, hard fight and while our county has stood united as an unwilling host to turbines sadly there have been a few that have elected to profit and/or support this powerful corporation and their elected/hired public servants. Our effected area community of 500 is not the same as it was and it will take years to rebuild “trust” but my hope is slowly we’ll do just that. today the farmland we fell in love with back in 2009 now has a fully erected turbine sitting hundreds of feet away from our property. Who will pay to take it down? When will it happen? Will the promise today turn into a turbine free county of the future? So while this news is good we’ve been fighting this corporation since 2009 and they don’t give up. They have very deep financial pockets and lots of elected and hired guns/supporters to continue fighting to get what they want and there is only one thing they want from the county and that’s money from wind they don’t own and turbines on land they only lease.

  33. Mike Rodgers says:

    Susan it is always about cost. WPD just announced if news is true they will be suing to recoup costs estimated at 100 million plus. That is what democracy is, t0 right a wrong. WPD have been wronged and will receive compensation. How much the courts will decided,I agree with Dennis, the Queens professor must of forgot about the gas plant cancellation that cost a billion.

  34. Fred says:

    Do you always have to pee on the parade? Take a minute of satisfaction that democratic rights on this file have been returned to the people.

  35. Dennis Fox says:

    The courts, not the province has the final say on what compensation will be paid. Once it is before the courts, the the law can be applied in a way the courts deem it to be the most fair to all parties. Considering that WPD has invested 10 years of planing and most recently constructing – all with the approval of the provincial government (until now) – don’t expect a painless nor cheap solution to this latest political decision. The taxpayers will definitely paying out a large sum for this decision – otherwise no business of any kind will invest in this province, if their fortunes are going to be decided by a change of government.

    So while the wpd announcement sounds encouraging, the cancellation of the $100 million school repair and environment upgrades is a definite regression back to the Mike Harris years. Hold on, the fun is just beginning!

  36. Chris Keen says:

    I trust that the law that is introduced to kill the roject includes directions that the landscapes, roadside ditches and the roads themselves be returned to their original condition and that the sections of turbines already erected be taken down and removed.

  37. Gary Mooney says:

    As pointed out by Queen’s Park law professor Bruce Pardy in 2014, the Ontario government can pass legislation to cancel any contract without incurring any liability. Governments have absolute power in this regard. That’s what will happen here. It’s possible that the government might offer some compensation to Wpd, but the amount is up to them.

    As far as County government is concerned, there is no chance that it will be liable for any cancellation costs.

  38. Brian says:

    He introduced legislation to cancel. Has it been passed already?

  39. Susan says:

    Sometimes cost doesn’t matter and we should never use $$ as an excuse to shutter democracy.

  40. Mike Rodgers says:

    The problem now, how much is it going to cost the tax payers. You can bet that WPD will sue for cost so far, lost revenue plus what it will cost them to cancel ordered equipment. So who has won.

  41. Anon says:

    How much in cancellation fees will the PEC taxpayer be on the hook for??

  42. Susan says:

    Looks pretty alive today and this news will make it greater.

  43. R Hennessy says:

    The COUNTY is dead. Look at all the schools closing. No future for kids that’s the truth

  44. Renee says:

    @anonymous, community planned off grid is much different that what this GEA foisted on unwilling communities. I think it would be great if PEC could generate it’s own energy too.

  45. anonymous says:

    Disappointing – would have loved to see PEC go off the grid in the future – many smaller countries such as Costa Rica have already achieved it, so it wouldn’t be much for PEC to as well.

  46. Dennis Fox says:

    Good for Todd Smith – I had my doubts, but don’t mind being proven wrong on this one.

  47. Mark says:

    What fantastic news!! Democracy prevails.

  48. Tech2 says:

    Way to go Mr Smith! Some integrity in government….thank you!

  49. Mark says:

    What fantastic news! Democracy prevails.

  50. Snowman says:

    Well. Allrighty Minister Smith!!

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