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Send your comments on Ostrander Point wind turbine project

The Gilead Industrial Wind Turbine Project at Ostrander Point is now listed on Environmental Registry for public comment.  Please take a few minutes to submit your comments.

The deadline is February 19, 2012.

Be sure to quote the EBR Registry Number: 011-5239

Here are some points you may wish to make:

A globally significant natural habitat
Gilead’s 9 wind turbines would be built in the Ostrander Point Crown Land Block on the south shore of Prince Edward County. Ostrander Point is part of the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area (IBA).

This IBA is globally important for the number of species that congregate there, and nationally significant for its threatened species. In spring and fall, migratory birds funnel through Prince Edward County. In fact, Prince Edward Point has more migratory birds, and in greater densities, than anywhere else on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario.

Migration
The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO) sees more birds than any other migration-monitoring station in Ontario.  Approximately ¾ million birds pass through the 1 km shoreline of Prince Edward Point each year.  It’s estimated that about 12 million birds migrate through the eastern Ontario area every spring and fall, from Presqu’ile in the west to Wolfe Island in the east.

Experts from Environment Canada and Nature Canada have said that Ostrander Point is a bad place for wind turbines because of the numbers of song birds and raptors which migrate through the area.  The Wolfe Island turbine installation kills about 7 times more birds than other North American projects, mostly because of the high numbers of migrating birds.

Species at Risk
The IBA was designated because of its species at risk.  The more than 20 species at risk documented at Ostrander Point include the loggerhead shrike, Henslow’s sparrow, king rail, black tern, bobolink, whip-poor-will and Blanding’s turtle.  Gilead’s proposed damage control for wildlife is extremely limited: purchasing other land for the Blanding’s turtle habitat and funding a study of the effects of turbines on whip-poor-wills.  No other species has been mentioned in the studies and no damage control has been suggested for those other species.

Habitat
Ostrander Point contains provincially significant wetland areas and globally rare alvar habitat, some of which would be irreparably harmed by the industrial construction.

Your comments can be sent to:

Shannon McNeill
Senior Project Evaluator
Ministry of the Environment
Operations Division
Environmental Approvals Branch
2 St Clair Ave, W.
Floor 12A
Toronto Ontario, M4L 1L5

Comment may also be submitted online at the Environmental Registry site:  http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External 

Be sure to quote the EBR Registry Number: 011-5239

Below is contact information for relevant government ministers. We suggest copying your comment to them and to our local MPP.

Thank you for taking the time to protect our priceless natural heritage.

-Prince Edward County Field Naturalists

Hon.  Jim Bradley
Minister of the Environment
minister.moe@ontario.ca

Hon. Christopher Bentley
Minister of Energy
cbentley.mpp@liberal.ola.org

Hon. Michael Gravelle
Minister of Natural Resources
mgravelle.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Todd Smith
MPP Prince Edward – Hastings
todd.smithco@pc.ola.org

Filed Under: Uncategorized

About the Author: The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, founded in 1997, is an affiliate of Ontario Nature. It provides an educational forum dedicated to the study, promotion, appreciation and conservation of the flora and fauna within Prince Edward County. The public is welcome at the meetings held on the last Tuesday of the month from September to May, except December, at Bloomfield Town Hall. Guest speakers introduce a variety of nature related topics. All members are encouraged to participate at meetings by sharing their experiences and observations. Regularly scheduled field trips in the vicinity offer members the opportunity to experience various habitats. Membership in PECFN is open to all. Contact: Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, P.O. Box 477, Bloomfield, Ontario K0K 1G0 Or Cheryl Anderson 613-471-1096

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  1. myview1872 says:

    Another of Ontario’s beautiful spots is threatened by the misguided notion that wind turbines are going to save us. There should not be a wind turbine development at Ostrander Point.
    Environmentally sensitive areas, farmland and historic sites are being torn up for the sake of greed all over the world. Those who speak out are vilified. Wind advocates demand proof but will find a way to dismiss it. Our electricity bills are going through the roof as landowners collect lease payments and wind developers collect their subsidies. People are suffering and birds are dying. Yet these monsters as so inefficient that backup power must wait on standby until needed. They don’t have a place in anyone’s ‘energy mix’.
    Reasons for opposition to industrial wind turbines include well being, economic, aesthetics, cultural, or environmental. Each is valid, including this one: THEY DO SPOIL THE VIEW.

  2. Tom says:

    Good article Donna! Sounds like that town was voicing the same opinions as found here. Life went on without the expected negative impact that is so expressed. This is not about party affiliations but about slowing down global enviromental issues.

  3. Donna says:

    Not sure where to post this so I’ll include it here. This is from an Australian newspaper about a small community with first-hand experience of wind turbines:

    Leicester Mercury, October 31, 2011

    “When they first heard there were going to be four giant wind turbines on their doorsteps, villagers feared the worst. But now even some of the most hardened protesters have admitted fears over the noise have come to nothing. The county’s first commercial wind farm has towered over the countryside between the villages of Gilmorton, Ashby Magna and Dunton Bassett, near Lutterworth, since its construction in March. Concerns over noise from the 410ft turbines prompted swift action from residents who campaigned against the project.

    However, after being in operation for almost a month homeowners have said they are getting used to the gentle “swoosh” of the giant blades. John Phillips, 70, lives in Ashby Road, less than a mile from the wind farm. He said he was against the construction at first. He said: ‘I went to all the protest meetings and I was against them from the start. But now, I must say they don’t really bother me. I can’t hear them and I can barely see them. It’s like the industrial revolution all over again – people don’t like change until it actually happens, and they get used to it.’

    Kelly Gamage, 33, moved into her home in Gilmorton in July, and said she had no idea about the plans to build a wind farm there. She said: ‘It was a shock when we found out, we certainly didn’t expect anything like this when we moved in. At first we didn’t want them on our doorstep, but now they’re up, they’re not doing any harm and there’s no noise coming from them.’

    The turbines, which cost £1.8million each, stand between the three villages. David Dewes, who owns Low Spinney Farm, after which the wind farm is named, said: ‘I think now the ice has been broken people are warming to them. Our home is very close to one of the turbines, and the most we hear is a slight swooshing sound – some people have said it’s quite calming actually.’

    The wind farm, which is connected to the National Grid, is expected to provide enough power for 5,000 homes.It is estimated that it has produced 2.5 gigawatts of electricity since the blades began turning at the start of October. Parish councils at Gilmorton, Ashby Magna and Dunton Bassett will receive £5,333 a year as part of the agreement with the developer, Broadview Energy.”

  4. Pete Johnson says:

    While it is certain that a wind turbine will kill hundreds of birds, it is less than clear that wind turbines will have a positive effect on climate change. Europe has had IWTs for decades and has not reduced its carbon emissions by one gram. It is a false argument to claim that IWTs will reduce our carbon footprint or improve the air that we breath.
    Pete

  5. Suzanne Lucas says:

    Rob, thanks for your response, but I don’t think you actually addressed the points I was making. Naturalists, the experts on bio-diversity, are against the siting at Ostrander Point as it will negatively impact sensitive and endangered species and habitats that are rare in this world. Global climate change is impacting biodiversity at a frightening rate as you mention, so what we need is to develop wind energy projects that do not contribute to this devastating problem. And, as you probably know if you are informed about global climate change, this project, or any number of these projects on the shores of Lake Ontario will not slow climate change by even one milli-second. Wind energy can become a smart and efficient energy source for Ontarians, but erecting IWTs on the South Shore is not the answer.

  6. Beth says:

    I will say, I would rather have systems out there that would allow low income families to provide energy for their own households at an economical level. I, as a Mom and a concious member of society would love to be able to produce the energy my family needs within our own property. That is not currently economically viable, looked into it. Beyond that I want green energy as a source of energy to offset the fossil fuel and nuclear sources that are currently available. Yes I know there are problems with the current technology. I just know (from one of the courses I have taken) that we cannot continue to pollute the way we have. My children deserve a better future.

  7. Mark says:

    The anti protecting vulnerable County sites are out again. They are anti anything that would stop their mission for gigantic industrial wind turbines. They want to push this upon us with little or no consultation and to h**L with the impacts. This is all driven by $$$$$$. An unreliable, expensive power source that requires a backup. They just don’t get it. Follow the $$$$ path for the real truth.

  8. Rob Williams says:

    Suzanne, I am pleased that you support wind power and as an environmentalist I am definitely onside with the need to protect birds. As Douglas pointed out, however, this seems to be situation where the fight to save hundreds of birds is blocking our efforts to help save billions of birds and avoid the extinction of many species worldwide.
    You argue that “…the (Ostrander Point) site is clearly inappropriate because it is in a migratory bird fly way.” Unfortunately the whole North Shores of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie are in a major migration route within the Atlantic Flyway (see http://www.birdnature.com/flyways.html). It is a much broader area than the south shore of the County. Wind maps of Ontario clearly show that wind energy is also concentrated along the North Shores of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie (http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@renewable/documents/document/198058.pdf). Avoiding migratory bird flyways essentially means ruling out all of the sites where wind can be economically harvested, in southern Ontario including the whole of PEC.
    Please recognize the campaign to block the Ostrander Point project for what it is. It’s pretending to be a noble fight to protect birds in the County but the devil is in the details. When you look at the details it’s hard to escape the conclusion that it’s actually an initiative contrived to recruit well-intentioned bird enthusiasts into the campaign to block wind energy in the whole County and the whole of Ontario.

  9. Donna says:

    You’ve missed the point. The anti-winds don’t want wind turbines built anywhere! ‘Not in my back yard’ means nowhere in Prince Edward County. Now there are people fighting solar installations. There’s always a reason why NOT. It has to be somewhere and it has to be now.

  10. Suzanne Lucas says:

    People all over Ontario oppose the Green Energy Act for many reasons. Many, myself included,oppose it even though I support alternative energy including wind power. I believe that Ontarians deserve good energy policy, and the project at Ostrander Point demonstrates the many ways that the GEA has failed us. To begin with, the site is clearly inappropriate because it is in a migratory bird fly way. Local, provincial and nationally recognized natural ecologists, who also support wind energy, oppose this project. I wonder why anyone who is concerned with the earth’s biodiversity could support this siting. Logical fallacies don’t bolster anyone’s arguments, so to suggest that if we choose not to support the siting at Ostrander Point, we are also choosing to pollute the world with more fossil fuels, is insulting at best. Surely even the most ardent supporters of wind energy can admit that there should be some criteria used to pick the best sites for IWTs. To do otherwise will only create more opponents of wind power. A good green energy policy would include such criteria and would give all wind energy proponents the right to say that they support an environmentally sustainable energy source. Let all of us on the county who support good green energy policy work together to stop the Ostrander Point wind project.

  11. Douglas says:

    While Prince Edward County fiddles, the world burns! Birds such as Scaups and Scoters (boreal ducks) are the species that make the south shore of PEC an INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED important birding area. Over the past number of years these 2 species have declined 40% and 60% respectively. Scientists have identified CLIMATE CHANGE as the source…spring is coming 11 days earlier where they breed. Their competitors (Mallards) that arrive in time for the bloom of life on which they feed, are thriving. The Scaups and Scoters don’t have enough food to breed successfully.

    The naysayers of PEC would rather save the odd bird from being hit by a turbine while millions of boreal ducks die! Poor choice. There’s more to the world than our little corner of Lake Ontario.

    There is not one species whose survival will be affected by wind turbines in Prince Edward County. There are tens of thousands of SPECIES that will be affected by CLIMATE CHANGE.

  12. Myrna Wood says:

    I agree with Rob Williams that there is widespread denial, or perhaps just ignorance, of the reality that fossil fuel use will need to be reduced for only essential needs that cannot be replaced with other sources – yet. But that ignorance and denial is logical given the fact that none of our governments and leaders have faced up to their responsibilities to act on this crucial issue.

    For instance, renewable energy technology will be worth our funds and effort when we find a way of storing the power so it is available when we need it. Not one government is spending our money looking for that technology. Instead they are handing out our money to tar sands and turbine corporations, some of whom are the same.

    Another use of our money for our actual needs would be in developing smaller, cheaper renewable energy technology that everyone could afford for their homes and businesses.

    The most obvious way that the County can “do our bit” for Canadian citizens faced with this future is to resurrect the practice of growing food that we can eat. Not industrial crops for manufacturing and energy. And it will provide a new (or old) economy for local residents.

    It is also only too true that unsupported claims are oft-repeated by the wind industry that turbines will not affect bird and bat populations. There are scarce habitats remaining for wildlife that is our responsibility to protect from development of any kind. The Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area is one.

  13. Rob Williams says:

    Like Tom I am a supporter of wind energy in the County, not because I have a personal financial stake in it (I don’t), but because I am very aware of the severe damage our continued irresponsible use of fossil fuels is doing to the Earth’s climate, biosphere and ecosystems.

    Some of the most obvious evidence of this is recorded in recent reports of the state of the oceans where warming and increased acidification are primary drivers of species extinction. (“…we now face losing marine species and entire marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, within a single generation.” http://www.stateoftheocean.org/pdfs/1806_IPSOshort.pdf – June 2011). Other evidence can be seen in the increasing frequency and severity of droughts and forest fires around the world.

    We need every community around the world to “do its bit” in helping develop clean energy sources as an alternative necessary to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, not just within its own community but also nationally. PEC has no greater opportunity to contribute to this national and ultimately global effort than through the development of wind energy on a commercial scale. The abundance of wind makes it the outstanding resource for the generation of energy in the County.

    It is very frustrating to see a few hundred anti-wind energy campaigners blocking efforts of responsible citizens to address the global fossil fuel problem and, with no supporting evidence, claim that they represent most of the 20,000 plus residents of the County. There’s no doubt wind energy was a factor in the provincial election but it was by no means the only factor. Sadly the anti-wind energy campaigners seem to be in denial regarding the urgency of developing alternative low carbon energy sources and/or believe others have a responsibility to “do their bit” but not them.

    Finally it is disturbing to see the anti-wind energy campaigners repeatedly resort to propaganda tactics well known to unscrupulous politicians. Their claims don’t need supporting evidence or even to be true. They simply need to be repeated over and over till people believe them.

    Examples in other comments here include: claims of human health problems have repeatedly failed the evidence test; claims of Wolfe Island now being a wasteland are absurd and where is the body of evidence showing wind turbine adverse impacts on property values and the local economy beyond those impacts attributable to anti-wind energy scaremongering? Allegations that wind energy will cause a 45% increase in hydro rates were shown to be absolutely untrue by a detailed Pembina Institute study (see “FAQ about Ontario electricity prices” http://pubs.pembina.org/reports/re-in-on-faq.pdf). Impacts of wind turbines on bird populations are insignificant compared with the entire species that are being threatened by climate Change or with the bird mortality attributable to fossil fuels;

    Don’t allow yourself to be brainwashed by oft-repeated but unsupported claims of the scary impacts of wind turbines. Ask to see the evidence and judge for yourself.

  14. Beth says:

    I am a supporter of IWT’s as I have stated before. Throw all the scary numbers at me that you want in terms of environmental impact, inefficiency and inflated costs. I believe this is one small step that can and should be taken.

  15. Mark says:

    You are correct Gary. I would add to that long list a couple of other items that people find distasteful. With hydro rates already exorborant there are few that welcome a 45% further uncrease in 4 years time to support an energy source such as wind that is unreliable and requires backup. Also the fire hazards of turbines is significant and you only need to google wind turbine fires to see the potential risks. The County doesn’t have the equipment to fight turbine fires and the risk to an often drought conditioned area poses some potentially huge wildfires.

  16. Gary Mooney says:

    Tom, it’s not that CountyLive is a place only for those who oppose large scale, uncontrolled wind energy development in the County, it’s that there are very few local people who are now in favour of wind projects here.

    Most of us were early supporters of wind. It was only after learning about health issues, realizing the impact on property values, taking account of adverse effects on our local economy and recognizing the risk to birds and other wildlife that most people switched to the opposition side.

  17. catherine stewart says:

    Industrial sized wind turbines can be located anywhere in the Province of Ontario. We have seen the destruction they have created on Wolfe Island, once a Crown Jewel, now a wasteland bearing a disproportionatly sized mega power project. Nobody wants to live there, birds are dying at 7 times the rate of other North American Projects. We can see this project with a good pair of binoculars.
    Why would the Government of Ontario consent to Crown Land being handed over to industrial development in a provincially designated IBA area? It was designated thus by agencies supported by the Province through funding from our tax dollars.

    Ostrander Point has been carefully surveyed by Environment Canada, Nature Canada and Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory which have already concluded Ostrander Point to be an unwise choice for Industrial Development, with solid evidence.
    Listen to the experts folks, they speak from experience, science and understanding. They are not going to profit other than by successfully protecting a rare habitat. They speak for wildlife whose voices and requirements cannot be heard by government.

    Gilead loosely(cavalierly)states that they will provide alternate wildlife habitat….how does Gilead or the Province of Ontario know that this will be a good deal for these Species at Risk? We cannot tell a Blanding’s Turtle, Loggerhead Shrike, Henslow’s Sparrow, Whip-poor-will, Bobolink to use land Gilead feels is more suitable for them!!!

    If these species could make a presentation at public hearings, they would no doubt suggest other habitat for Gilead!
    Years down the road, after the migration route is decimated, we can move the turbines to a more suitable location but we CANNOT bring back wildlife species which have succumbed to our outright IGNORANCE, neglegence and greed.
    Obviously wind power is powerful at this Point. It is where the ancient species called birds make the best of wind to cross a large body of water to migrate north and reproduce before heading south again. This is their land and wind as much as ours, therefore I speak for them and welcome their beautiful voices, apparently not heard by those unable to see a wholistic picture.

    Remember the Seven Generations philosophy – wisdom does not evolve overnight and asks us to have the courage to make hard choices which sometimes means denying self-interest.
    cathie stewart

  18. Chris Keen says:

    http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Environment/2012/01/10/19224596.html?cid=rssnewsenvironment

    Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller makes a plea for at-risk species such as those found at Ostrander Point.

  19. Tom says:

    I have already sent my comments to the Ministry and have received an acknowledgment. My comment supported the project at Ostrander Point and I have the courage to stand by it by commenting here. I understand that I will be attacked verbally but I feel that I must since this site seems to only be a place for the participants who oppose wind generation on the County. There are others who agree with me so I invite them to post a positive comment on wind generation.

  20. John Gilbert says:

    Unfortunately
    I think you know the answers.
    Our governments, the voice of Parks Canada, Ontario MNR, Historic Societies and others have not learned that it’s all about pressure.
    These officials and most of our anti-wind leaders have no balls to apply pressure. Leaders in Prince Edward County (PEC) fought against organizing non-violent angry marches, demomstrations which are tactics foreign to our anti-wind leaders. Most are staid parlor gentry businessmen who shy from controvercial actions in the streets, while their pro-wind adversaries with deep pockets are happy to keep it between lawyers rather than in the streets in the eye of the media. As far as I know, I’m the only experienced community organizer in PEC that has offered to help the anti-wind leaders remember the tried and true tactics of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – marches demonstrations and actions.

    We would appreciate if you would tell our anti-wind leaders to use civil disobedience.
    — John Gilbert – email: godhas4legs@gmail.com

  21. Gil Charlebois says:

    The “County” and Todd Smith, really need your Support and your Input on cancelling this project Folks.

    Please submitt your thoughts on this Project and help protect our wild life in the County.
    Thank You.

  22. Gil Charlebois says:

    Sorry,I forwarded comments before the hi-lighted points were identified below.

    Do we really need any more Justification to CANCELL this whole program???

    “Experts from Environment Canada and Nature Canada have said that Ostrander Point is a bad place for wind turbines because of the numbers of song birds and raptors which migrate through the area. The Wolfe Island turbine installation kills about 7 times more birds than other North American projects, mostly because of the high numbers of migrating birds.”

    Plus, as a Senior on a “Fixed Income” budget, I don’t think I can afford the upcoming Hydro Increases with the FIT Program rates included in the future.
    Please Support “our wild life and enviroment”.

  23. Gil Charlebois says:

    Be sure to quote the EBR Registry Number: 011-5239

    Here are some points you may wish to make:

    A globally significant natural habitat
    Gilead’s 9 wind turbines would be built in the Ostrander Point Crown Land Block on the south shore of Prince Edward County. Ostrander Point is part of the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area (IBA).

    This IBA is globally important for the number of species that congregate there, and nationally significant for its threatened species. In spring and fall, migratory birds funnel through Prince Edward County. In fact, Prince Edward Point has more migratory birds, and in greater densities, than anywhere else on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario.

    Migration
    The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO) sees more birds than any other migration-monitoring station in Ontario. Approximately ¾ million birds pass through the 1 km shoreline of Prince Edward Point each year. It’s estimated that about 12 million birds migrate through the eastern Ontario area every spring and fall, from Presqu’ile in the west to Wolfe Island in the east.

    Experts from Environment Canada and Nature Canada have said that Ostrander Point is a bad place for wind turbines because of the numbers of song birds and raptors which migrate through the area. The Wolfe Island turbine installation kills about 7 times more birds than other North American projects, mostly because of the high numbers of migrating birds.

    Species at Risk
    The IBA was designated because of its species at risk. The more than 20 species at risk documented at Ostrander Point include the loggerhead shrike, Henslow’s sparrow, king rail, black tern, bobolink, whip-poor-will and Blanding’s turtle. Gilead’s proposed damage control for wildlife is extremely limited: purchasing other land for the Blanding’s turtle habitat and funding a study of the effects of turbines on whip-poor-wills. No other species has been mentioned in the studies and no damage control has been suggested for those other species.

    Habitat
    Ostrander Point contains provincially significant wetland areas and globally rare alvar habitat, some of which would be irreparably harmed by the industrial construction.

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