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APPEC appeal dismissed as ‘facts still forthcoming’

UPDATE MARCH 30 – An appeal of an Environmental Review Tribunal decision to allow land clearing on the County’s south shore at the site of the wpd Canada industrial wind turbine project was dismissed Wednesday.

The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) legal counsel Eric Gillespie took the appeal to Divisional Court on Tuesday.

“What APPEC could not provide to the court, however, was the ERT’s reasons for its decision of last week to dismiss our stay as the ERT never provided reasons,” said Orville Walsh, APPEC president. “Justice Stewart noted in her decision that ‘the specific grounds of any such appeal are uncertain given the fact that reasons for the decision are still forthcoming.'”

Walsh said that by not providing timely reasons for dismissing the original motion for a stay, the ERT “handcuffed” APPEC in appealing the decision.

APPEC provided evidence from four expert witnesses of serious and irreversible harm to Blanding’s turtles if wpd proceeds with vegetation clearing.

The court will allow APPEC to renew its motion if it so chooses “on a fuller record that will include the reasons for the Tribunal’s decision under appeal.”
UPDATE MARCH 25 – The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) intends to appeal Wednesday’s decision of the Environmental Review Tribunal.

APPEC’s legal counsel Eric Gillespie has notified wpd Canada and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change of APPEC’s intent to appeal the ERT’s dismissal of the stay motion.

A motion for a stay stopping the clearing of vegetation at the White Pines project site was denied Wendesday – with reasons for dismissal to be provided at a later date.

“This legal action is considered to be necessary following the ERT’s decision this week to not allow APPEC’s motion,” said Orville Walsh, APPEC president. “wpd still plans to start construction on the White Pines wind project. In wpd’s own words: ‘We are entitled to begin vegetation clearing immediately.’ We strongly disagree.”

Kevin Surette, of wpd Canada has notified the MOECC they could proceed with the work anytime after March 28, but the schedule is dependent on the weather.

“The concern that the ERT raised in its Feb. 26th ruling relates to the operational phase of the project and concerns the access roads and municipal roads,” said Surette. “The activity we will be undertaking is simply clearing vegetation and does not relate to the concerns of the ERT.”

APPEC will be making an application as an urgent matter to the Ontario Divisional Court, with submission at the beginning of next week.

“During the past few weeks APPEC has received many messages of encouragement from members and supporters in the County and beyond,” said Walsh.

UPDATE MARCH 23 – A motion for a stay stopping the clearing of vegetation at the White Pines project site has been denied – with no reason for dismissal.

The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) was notified about its motion Tuesday but the The Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) did not provide any reasons for dismissal.

“We are of course very disappointed with the decision,” said APPEC president Orville Walsh. “But we are also disappointed in the Tribunal itself. In denying APPEC’s motion for a stay the Tribunal is putting APPEC in the bizarre position of defending its successful appeal of the White Pines wind project at the ERT at the very same time the project is being constructed.”

Walsh said APPEC is examining possible courses of action and “will use all legal means available to prevent wpd from carrying out its plans. We will continue to work with the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and CCSAGE-Naturally Green to prevent this destruction of the natural and cultural environment.”

APPEC shares this photo it noted was provided to the Environment Review Tribunal in its reply to APPEC’s motion for a stay.  The photo depicts the type of heavy machinery wpd intends to utilize onsite to clear vegetation.

APPEC shares this photo it noted was provided to the Environment Review Tribunal in its reply to APPEC’s motion for a stay. The photo depicts the type of heavy machinery wpd intends to utilize onsite to clear vegetation.

March 14 – The Environmental Review Tribunal is expected to make a ruling this week on a motion to stay clearing of brush on the site of proposed industrial wind turbines.

Other parties have indicated support and input into the motion by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC).

Orville Walsh, APPEC President, said the Tribunal has allowed a few days this week for those submissions and replies.

“Reply documents to the stay motion from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change indicate that wpd needs to obtain approval from the director for a Storm Water Management Plan for the project. In addition wpd must give the director 10 days written notice of its intent to start construction. We believe that due to these conditions wpd will not be in a position to commence activity until after March 19th.”

WPD describes what it wants to do as “vegetation-clearing” but Walsh said the work will result in clearing of significant wildlife habitat for endangered species such as the Blanding’s turtle and ​endangered ​grassland species ​​such as the Whip-poor-will, Eastern Meadowlark and Bobolink. ​

“wpd’s decision to start clearing vegetation demonstrates how little respect it has for due process,” said Walsh. “Rather than wait for the resumption of the ERT hearing, where further evidence will be submitted on its project and for a final order from the Tribunal, ​wpd is bringing ​out the bulldozers and chainsaws… allowing all of this habitat destruction to happen for a wind project that has no assurance of ever being built.”

APPEC files motion to stop clearing work at turbine site

MARCH 9 – Just four days after an Environmental Tribunal ruling that turbine development would pose serious risk to the Little Brown Bat and the Blanding’s Turtle, the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County has had to file a motion to stay construction to stop wpd Canada from plans to begin clearing vegetation next Monday.

APPEC president Orville Walsh said the group is “appalled” by wpd’s action and that “it is disprespectful of the appeal process”.

wpd had informed APPEC, resident John Hirsch and the ministry, the company intended to commence with site preparation — namely clearing of brush — as early as next week.

“It is our position that site clearing is not related to the concerns raised by the tribunal,” said Kevin Surette, of wpd’s communications department. “In regards to Blanding’s Turtle, the tribunal is seeking further mitigation measures during the operation phase related to internal access roads and upgrades to municipal roads.

“We disagree with APPEC’s position,” added Surette. “This is part of the process, and they were aware of it early in the ERT process.”

In its decision, the ERT ruled the development would cause “serious and irreversible harm” to the turtles and Little Brown Bats, suspending wpd Canada’s Renewable Energy Approval, pending remediation hearings (no date has been set).

“Vegetation clearing for turbines and access roads will cause irreparable environmental destruction,” said APPEC president Orville Walsh. “Of particular concern is the impact of heavy machinery that will be brought in on Blanding’s turtle habitat, where most of the wind turbines are located, and on Blanding’s turtles themselves as they emerge from their over-wintering sites early this year after a mild fall and winter.”

Walsh said the decision by wpd to proceed with site preparation was similar to another Prince Edward County turbine development, Gilead Power’s nine-turbine project at Ostrander Point.

“APPEC, Mr. Hirsch and the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) note the similarities between wpd’s attempt to start on construction while an appeal is under way and a prior attempt by Gilead Power to do the same at Ostrander Point,” he said. “In this instance, the Ontario Court of Appeal had no hesitation in granting a stay on construction in order to prevent irreparable harm (and) we are confident that wpd’s attempt will meet with the same outcome.”

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  1. hockeynan says:

    WPD also has approval but you people won’t give up

  2. Marnie says:

    We owe that turtle. It should be our county mascot. There ought to be a T-shirt.

  3. hockeynan says:

    Doesn’t seem that you care.You should be looking into this .

  4. Fred says:

    Perhaps because Hydro One has approval and WPD do not since their approval has been suspended by the ERT.

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