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APPEC’s legal action against IESO re: wpd turbines dismissed in court

Base section of a turbine a turbine as seen from Walmsley Road. – Steve Ferguson photo

As enormous industrial wind turbine components continue to make their through the County enroute to sites in South Marysburgh, disappointing news has arrived in opponents’ email boxes.

Gord Gibbins, chair of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, (APPEC) informed supporters and media Thursday morning that legal action against the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) has been dismissed in the courts.

APPEC undertook legal action against the IESO and wpd Canada last year, after learning that another Feed-In-Tariff contract had been issued for the project behind closed doors. Final submissions were heard at Belleville Courthouse Jan. 29, 2018.

“After a long wait the APPEC board has received disappointing news, with Mr. Justice Stanley Kershman of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruling against APPEC and dismissing the case,” said Gibbins. “The decision came down on July 3 and more time is needed for review, which will be done in consultation with our legal counsel, Eric Gillespie.”

South Marysburgh councillor Steve Ferguson has been touring the turbine site areas every day and posting information and photographs on his Facebook page, to share with concerned residents.

“I posted correspondence delivered to residents in “the project area” concerning the delivery of turbine components to the nine turbine locations in South Marysburgh and Athol. I also posted a photograph of two turbine bases being delivered to sites located north of Royal Road,” said Ferguson. “Residents throughout PEC have witnessed the oversize loads, pilot vehicles and escorts as they make their way from Highway 401, down County Road 49 and eventually to County Road 10 through the main intersection in Picton.”

Over sized load moving through Picton. Steve Ferguson photo

As wpd’s activities continue, the remainder of the 81 oversize loads – including the 140’ turbine blades – will travel the same route, and under terms specified in the provincial government-approved REA (Renewable Energy Approval) and the County’s RUA (Road Use Agreement).

The matter of the Notice to Proceed (NTP) to wpd Canada from the IESO – which Ferguson says is considered to be a crucial last hurdle to getting any green energy project up and running, and providing electricity to the hydro grid, remains up in the air.

Ferguson said opponents learned Friday, June 22 at 2:30 p.m. that the IESO had given wpd its Notice to Proceed.

“By 4 p.m. an email from MPP Todd Smith’s office stated that unbeknownst to them, it was their understanding the NTP was issued on May 11th. Shortly thereafter, the approval of the NTP was confirmed on the IESO’s website.

The alleged timing of the NTP approval is troubling for a number of reasons, said Ferguson, “not the least of which is that the provincial election campaign began two days earlier.

“From what has been discovered so far, none of the local candidates in the election had been informed of the decision during their campaigns in May; the newly elected PC government – particularly PEC’s MPP, Todd Smith, and the PC government’s transition team – were not informed at, or after, meetings with the IESO held immediately after the election; and, most egregiously, the municipality of Prince Edward County and the hundreds of people whose lives will be affected by the nine industrial wind turbines sanctioned through the approval, were kept entirely in the dark that the White Pines project had reached this milestone.”

“It is our understanding that the Independent Electricity System Operator has granted wpd Canada a Notice to Proceed, but this documentation has not been shared with the municipality. Furthermore, the municipality did not receive advanced warning or notice that the IESO would be granting a Notice to Proceed to wpd.

Mayor Robert Quaiff confirms the municipality was not informed.

“It is our understanding that the Independent Electricity System Operator has granted wpd Canada a Notice to Proceed, but this documentation has not been shared with the municipality,” he said. “Furthermore, the municipality did not receive advanced warning or notice that the IESO would be granting a Notice to Proceed to wpd.”

“We have reached out to the IESO to learn more about the Notice to Proceed, but we have not received a response at this time,” said Quaiff. “We are also aware that MPP Todd Smith’s office is looking into this matter.”

Ferguson said much can and will be read into this series of events and their timing.

Several facts, he said, remain unimpeachable:

– Prince Edward County – inclusive of elected officials – is on record as opposing the White Pines Project;
– Prince Edward County’s well-known status as an “unwilling host” to IWT development;
– Several citizens’ organizations whose tireless activities have raised in excess of $1.5 million and led to the elimination of 30 proposed wind turbines.

“These County residents have been a thorn in the side of the provincial Liberal government for years. It has caused the government to spend excessive amounts of time and money fighting the diligent efforts of those groups and individuals who have appealed its approval of the project, and who have worked so hard to ensure that the laws the provincial government itself has enacted to protect species at risk, natural habitat and heritage landscapes are upheld.”

After almost 30 years’ experience in Prince Edward County, including 10 years as a resident, Ferguson said he has come to understand many things about the community.

“One of the most important is the knowledge that “sticking it” to the County should be done at one’s own peril. The action and timing of the IESO’s decision – bearing in mind its overseers at the time – raises the possibility that such is the case.”

Following last Friday’s swearing-in of the new PC provincial government, there has been much conjecture as to the status of the White Pines project.

“Obviously, for those most affected – the residents and businesses of South Marysburgh in and around Milford – a thorough investigation as to what led to the NTP is in order,” said Ferguson. “I intended to introduce a motion calling for same at last week’s council meeting but I withdrew it on advice from staff on the basis of legal concerns.”

Meanwhile, one turbine is being assembled and is visible from Walmsley Road just east of County Road 24. Parts are to continue to arrive for other turbine sites on a daily basis until about July 19th.

Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, newly sworn in last week, is investigating and is expected to provide a status update in the near future.

“Inasmuch as the NTP is perceived as a last step in the process to get the White Pines project built, for many in the community it is a clarion call to redouble efforts to ensure it never sees the light of day,” said Ferguson.

Turbine 6 under way off County Road 10. – Steve Ferguson photo

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  1. Chuck says:

    There is the issue Chris. They break environmental rules in this haste for erection of the turbines so it can’t be stopped. By the October court date they have them up and pay a minor fine. Our justice system.

  2. Chris Keen says:

    The Picton Gazette reports that the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks has charged wpd with three violations of Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act. The matter will be heard on October 5.

  3. Chuck says:

    Come on now, yea of little faith. Todd is going to have these ripped right out of the ground!

  4. Dennis Fox says:

    It is discouraging to see the only people still arguing about IWTs are the residents of PEC. Our politicians are responsible for this scenario. Now that the election is over and promises are already being forgotten or feebly explained away, it is the local people really paying the price. A special thanks should be given to APPEC for fighting the good and honourable fight.

    Read below an article that explains just how the public have been misled on a number of Ontario energy issues – that I believe voters should have known about before Election Day. In no way am I forgetting what the Liberals are guilty of, however, I fear that we have jumped from the frying pan into the fire…

  5. Chris Keen says:

    Not in the affected area there aren’t wevil and you didn’t answer my question.

  6. Emily says:

    No Municipal comment! Hmmm.

  7. Chuck says:

    Come on Wevil, other than land leases who does it help besides our $$ heading to Germany.

  8. wevil says:

    there are more in favour of wind power than you think Chris

  9. Chris Keen says:

    So, you have no objection to paying increased taxes to pay for power we don’t need, that we’ll give away to the U.S., from a project shrouded in secrecy, that may be a) a thank you gift to wpd for supporting the Liberals re-election or b) a parting gift from a party wanting to stick it to the County for standing up for its rights? Oh, and whose profits go to foreign investors? There are very few of you.

  10. wevil says:

    glad to see it moving ahead

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