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wpd clearing vegetation for turbine project in absence of final decision

wpd Canada began clearing vegetation Wednesday April 19, 2017, north of Royal Road and east of Lighthall Road for its White Pines industrial wind turbine project. – Photo courtesy APPEC

APRIL 19 – wpd Canada began clearing vegetation Wednesday morning north of Royal Road and east of Lighthall Road for its White Pines industrial wind turbine project. There was also activity at a second site south of Hilltop Road, just west of Brewer’s Road.

The company notified the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) and the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) of its intentions to clear “in areas other than those identified as Blandings turtle habitat”.

It also asked the ERT for a motion date to lift the existing ‘stay’ ACPEC obtained last April to stop clearing in the foraging habitat of the Blandings turtle, the endangered species their hopes are on, plus the Little Brown Bat, to stop the project altogether.

The ERT has not issued its final decision on the project.

“It is evident how little respect wpd has for the ERT appeal process in deciding to not wait for the Environmental Review Tribunal to issue its final decision on the project. The Tribunal’s decision is due any time,” said Gord Gibbons, chair of APPEC.

Gibbons believes that as long as the ‘stay’ is in effect wpd should not be allowed to move forward.

“However, from the numerous photos we recently received showing Blanding’s turtles on roadsides and various other locations, we know that these turtles are dispersed throughout the south shore at this time of year and are at great risk from wpd’s construction activities,” he said.

APPEC is taking steps to counter the actions, including contacting the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

wpd began clearing of vegetation on the south shore April 4 last year, until APPEC was able to win a ‘stay’ of the destruction for construction on April 8. – APPEC photo

wpd intends to continue clearing vegetation in absence of final decision

APRIL 13 – wpd Canada has notified the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) it intends to proceed with clearing vegetation this week of the White Pines project on the County’s south shore.

The industrial wind turbine developer sent an email to the ERT late Thursday, before the long weekend, stating its intention to begin clearing of vegetation in areas other than those identified as Blandings turtle habitat, beginning Wednesday, April 19.

In absence of a final decision on the project, wpd also asked the ERT for a motion date to lift the existing ‘stay’ the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) obtained April 8 last year to prevent clearing in the turtles’ spring foraging habitat. wpd began clearing trees at the sites for the 27-turbine project April 4 last year.

APPEC obtained the stay last year at this time, and will again submit photographs and statements showing evidence the Blandings turtles have been active on the south shore for some time already this season.

“We believe these proposed and premature construction activities by wpd illustrate again the willingness of wind energy proponents to risk environmental damage in order to advance their increasingly unwanted and unecessary projects,” said Gord Gibbons, chair of APPEC.

The Tribunal, following a 21-day hearing  in December 2015, issued an order in February 2016 that the project “will cause serious and irreversible harm” to animal life and the natural environment – including the endangered Blandings turtles and Little Brown bats.

A hearing was held in January to hear “remedy” plans to prevent loss of life. A decision has not been made and is expected any day.

wpd needs to begin its project to avoid breach of its contract with the IESO which may declare default and terminate the agreement.

The difference between the wpd project and the nine-turbine project that the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (and Blandings turtle) witnessed victory over last summer,  is that the wpd plan is to be built on private lands where Gilead Power’s project involved public land.

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  1. Borys Holowacz says:

    The new natural gas generation plant next to the Lennox plant is being built to backup intermittent wind produced electricity.

    The new gas generation plant replaces a cancelled plant in Oakville costing taxpayers over 1 billion dollars in cancellation fees. Increased production costs are also associated with the move due to distance required to send the electricity back to the GTA.

    In the meantime next door the Lennox Generating Station receives 7 million dollars per month from the Ontario government to run at 1.5% capacity.

  2. Doris Lane says:

    I wonder why we need wind farms. have you seen the new hydro plant going up near Lennox generating. That should raise our hydro bills.

  3. hockeynan says:

    Good to see them going ahead.Enough of this BS.

  4. Susan says:

    Despicable sight!

  5. Fred says:

    Bigger question is where is MOECC? Oh yes supporting WPD at the Tribunal. They are OK with harm & kill.

  6. Joanne says:

    Wpd was clearing the vegatation off Hilltop Rd today in the area of the turtles. What gives wpd the right to violate the stay order. The order of stay is still in effect.m

  7. Fred says:

    So from your comment I see that you indicate Wind Factories lower neighbouring property values.

  8. Ian says:

    It doesn’t matter how long voters have been here. It does matter that this isn’t about a turtle. It’s about property values. Just be honest!

  9. Fred says:

    I don’t believe that. All public meetings and Hearings have been jam packed with long time resident opposition. They tend to check their Hydro bills! Lol

  10. hockeynan says:

    Fred maybe you should talk to some people in other parts of the county.Any meeting I have been too,there hasn’t been too many of the old locals against turbines.Any of the signs against turbines in our community sure aren’t on the old locals. They are on properties of people who have moved in.

  11. Marnie says:

    If you believe that hockeynan you are mistaken. Lots of locals are against wind turbines. Most of those who are in favour stand to make a financial gain.

  12. Fred says:

    Not according to the South Marysburgh vote that was held. I don’t know who you are hanging out with other than landowners looking for contracts that we all can add to our energy bill!

  13. hockeynan says:

    I believe you are wrong Fred.I have lived here all my life and a very small percentage of the old locals I know are against the turbines.It is people who have moved in are the higher percentage.

  14. Fred says:

    It’s not our new welcomed residents who are most strongly opposed but the long term folks whose ancestors settled here. You can take that to the bank.

  15. Susan says:

    Hoping the political and energy climate has changed enough to kill this ill-conceived project. WPD is not welcome here. When you crash a party and are asked to leave one generally slips out quietly. Of course this unwanted visitor chooses to fill their pockets on the backs of our energy bills and decimate the environment in doing so.

  16. Ian says:

    I wish that new residents who are opposed to renewable energy didn’t have the Blanding Turtle to hide behind. The fact that they are only interested in compounding their property investments would be laid bare. I doubt that many of them had ever heard of this turtle when they were flipping properties in Etobicoke.

  17. Fred says:

    Not many housing developments going up in the proposed Wind Factory area. Time to deliver a ruling putting an end to the folly. Harmful, unwanted & unneeded.

  18. Wilma says:

    No more so than to build a housing development

  19. Fred says:

    Pretty strict requirements under the “Act”. Hard to imagine clear cutting going ahead.

  20. Wilma says:

    If landowners they are following the guidelines you mention then, yes, it’s their land to do with what they want.

  21. Chris Keen says:

    Landowners DO NOT have the right to do whatever they want on their properties.

    Endangered or species at risk are protected both by federal and provincial law. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) for Ontario reads as follows:

    The ESA 2007 protects individuals of Threatened, Endangered and Extirpated species and, under the act, killing, harming or harassing individuals or removing them from the wild is illegal:

    • No person shall, kill, harm, harass, capture or take a living member of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as an extirpated, endangered or threatened species. (Section 9[1][a])
    This act also protects the habitat of Threatened, Endangered and Extirpated species on all Crown and private land in Ontario:

    • No person shall damage or destroy the habitat of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as an endangered or threatened species; or a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as an extirpated species, if the species is prescribed by the regulations for the purpose of this clause. (Section 10[1][a and b])

  22. Wilma says:

    Fred, They are following the guidelines given to them by the province as far as species at risk are concerned.

  23. Fred says:

    Landowners do not have the right to harm or kill endangered species or their habitat.

  24. hockeynan says:

    Way to go Wilma.Where in the county bylaws does it say you have to have a permit to clear land ,turtles or no turtles

  25. Wilma says:

    whether the project gets approval or not the land owners still have the right to do with their land whatever they want.

  26. Gary says:

    I don’t think this project will get approval to proceed.

  27. hockeynan says:

    Let WPD worry about that

  28. Susan says:

    What’s the point in clearing it, if it’s not a go ?

  29. wevil says:

    the land that they are going to clear soon does not have blanding turtles on it get it cleared

  30. hockeynan says:

    You people don’t own the land either so what gives you the right to stop the landowners from doing what they want to do with there own property

  31. Susan says:

    Terrible action by WPD upon the County. Example of their character.

  32. Chris Keen says:

    Hockeynan – wpd does not own the land.

    Given the Tribunal’s ruling that the project “will cause serious and irreversible harm” to animal life and the natural environment, and the subsequent “remedy” hearing which essentially gave them a do-over because their initial arguments were rejected, I would expect any responsible developer would have respect for the process (which has given them every consideration possible) and wait for the Tribunal’s ruling.

    By not doing so, this foreign-owned company is showing utter contempt for our legal processes, and that is unforgivable and unacceptable!

  33. hockeynan says:

    Chris ,a landowner has a right to clear his own property.Do you get a permit to clear on your property

  34. Chris Keen says:

    There is no difference between the two projects as far as the turtles are concerned.

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