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Assembly calls Ostrander Point ‘worst possible place for wind turbines’

Upward of 60 County residents concerned with Gilead Power’s Ostrander Point Wind Project assembled outside the company’s public meeting Tuesday night at South Marysburgh Public School in Milford.
They carried signs that said: Stop The Wind Turbines;  Protect the Eagles; Protect Ontario’s Countryside; Save Our IBA (Important Bird Area) and Turbines Create Dead Zones.
They were members of the South Shore Conservancy (SSC); the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) and the County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy (CCSAGE).
The assembly was planned to show dissatisfaction with Gilead’s refusal to hold a public meeting where all in attendance could hear questions and answers. Gilead’s open house featured an auditorium full of story boards and Gilead staff on site to tour the boards and answer questions one-on-one.
Prior to the gathering, the SSC members held a first information meeting – Ostrander Point: The Worst Possible Place to Put Wind Turbines – at the Milford Town Hall.
They discussed the unique biodiversity of Prince Edward County’s south shore and why it is worth protecting; specific threats to the south shore; effects of wind turbines on the natural environment of Wolfe Island and other areas and discussed questions to ask Gilead Power on its proposal to construct roads and wind turbines at Ostrander Point.
“The whole South Shore, with Ostrander Point in the middle, is one of the County’s unrecognized treasures,” said Henri Garand, APPEC president. “But its value lies precisely in its neglected state. Development would make it less attractive to migratory birds and resident wildlife—and to those who want to enjoy this natural environment.
Consequently, APPEC has always resisted seeing Ostrander Point as the sacrificial lamb that will protect the rest of the County from other industrial wind projects. The announcement of WPD Canada’s White Pines project proves that Ostrander Point is just the first victim of predatory wind development.  If construction goes ahead, it will be more difficult to challenge other projects, especially on environmental grounds.
“More wind projects are officially planned for Athol and Hillier, and WPD has leased land in North Marysburgh.  But since developers operate in secrecy for years before announcing projects, no one in the County should be sleeping easily. ”
Treat Hull, Green Party provincial candidate and the GPO’s Energy Critic, was in attendance at the gathering and also submitted a statement in response to Gilead Power’s request for written feedback concerning the wind energy project it has proposed to develop at Ostrander Point.
“Industrial-scale wind energy is obviously a highly controversial subject in Ontario, with strongly held views on both sides of the issue.
“However, leading naturalist organizations such as Nature Canada and Ontario Nature – groups that otherwise support wind energy – oppose this project due to its location inside the Important Bird Area, stating, ‘This project is a most egregious example of a renewable energy project that is simply located in the wrong place.’
“I respect these organizations and believe it’s worth taking the time to listen to their concerns. When strong advocates of the government’s wind energy program have such objections, it is clearly time to put aside our different views on wind energy in general and to agree that this is, plain and simple, the wrong place for such a project.
“I am therefore opposed to Gilead Power’s application for to proceed with the Ostrander Point project because of the risk it poses to migratory birds. I hope that the representatives of the other major political parties, regardless of their views on wind energy, will join me in opposing this
poorly sited project.”
Federal Green Party candidate Patrick Larkin has also submitted written opposition to the project, citing the need for a full environmental impact study.
“Furthermore, the current Prince Edward County council has voted in favour of a moratorium. I believe, therefore, that local government must be informed and involved in any decision to proceed.”
PROJECT OVERVIEW
The project will consist of nine turbines, each generating 2.5MW for a capacity of 22.5 MW. Each turbine is 85m tall; each blade 48.7m long and the total height is 135m.
Gilead states comprehensive studies have been completed over the past four years in accordance with regulatory requirements, noting the project area “has a very good wind resource due to its proximity to Lake Ontario.”
The project will include electrical collection lines (buried); access roads, and a transformer substation. All project infrastructure willbe wholly located on Crown land known as the Ostrander Point Crown Land block within South Marysburgh. Hydro One will be designing, constructing and operating a transmission line that will connect the project to the provincial grid at the Milford Distribution station.
Gilead has completed detailed studies, analysis and work required to obtain a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) for the project. The draft REA reports were issued to the community for review and comment on February 10, 2011. Gilead is in the studies and consultation stage of applying for approval from the Ministry of the Environment.
NATURAL ENVIRONMENT ON-SITE SURVEYS
Gilead’s environmental assessments were conducted between 2006 and 2010. Included werfe assessments of the vegetation communities and associated wetlands, wildlife monitoring surveys and a review of surface water features – including endangered species surveys for Whip-poor-will, Blanding’s Turtle and Golden Eagle.
In its “Potential Natural Environment Effects” report, Gilead responds to environmental assessments and stakeholder input:
“The length of new access roads have been minimized;
Disturbance to local flora and wildlife habitat comprises approximately 1.9 per cent of the available habitat in the study area;
Large contiguous areas of shrubland alvar will remain intact in the eastern portion of the study area;
Tree and brush clearing will be completed prior to or after the breeding seasonf or migratory birds (May 1 to July 23);
The amount of available habitat necessary to sustain current populations will be maintained during construction and operation;
No loss of species is anticipated from the construction of the project.”
Post-construction, Gilead notes bird and bat mortality monitoring will take place for a minimum of three years. Gilead also plans ongoing hydrological monitoring, disturbance effects monitoring of amphibians and breeding birds and monitoring in accordance with endangered species permits. A qualified biologist will be on-site during the construction to ensure compliance with the Environmental Effects Monitoring Program approved by the MNR.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
“Low frequency sound and infrasound from current generation wind turbines are well below the sound pressure levels at which known health effects occur,” Gilead said in its presentation. “Tehre is no scientific evidence to date that vibration from low frequency wind turbine noise causes adverse health effects.”
Gilead quotes a summary from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health: “…while some people living near wind turbines report symptoms such as dizziness, headaches and sleep disturbance, the scientific evidence available to date does not demonstrate a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.”
On noise, Gilead stated “the predicted noise produced by the project was found to be within the acceptable limits established by the MOE at all noise receptors and at all wind speeds.”
Gilead acknowledged stakeholder comments and experiences related to potential property values impacts.
“Based on available data, wind energy facilities including those in Ontario, show no evidence of a material negative effect on property values. Studies used to support the conclusion have been provided on the project website www.gileadpower.com/ostrander-reference-materials.htm)
LOCAL BENEFITS
Gilead cites a minimum 20-year revenue source to the County through municipal property tax payments;
Approximately $2.3 million accrued to the local community during construction;
Up to 50 per cent of the peak labour force during construction will be supplied by the local community;
and Gilead expects to pay approximately $250,000 per year to the province in lease payments.
COMING UP:
Due date for public comment inclusion in the REA Application April 15, 2011.
Submission of REA Application – late April, early May.
30-day Environmental Registry posting and review period to be determined by the MOE.
Project construction (if approved) October 2011.
Commercial operation – December 2011.

Comments must be received by April 15.
email ostranderpoint@stantec.com
phone: 519-836-6050 (collect)
fax: 519-836-2493
website: www.gileadpower.com

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  1. Ernest Horvath says:

    You have to have an in depth understanding of cap and trade to get a true picture of the alternate energy interest by large scale developers.
    To simplify this , we have an industry that is a polluter due to it’s area of concern. They can gain credits towards their pollution levels by investing in acceptable areas like alternate energy or even planting trees in another country to offset their emissions impact.
    But under the Liberal plan , which pays 3 x for wind and 12 to 15 x for solar , they benefit 2 ways. Massive profits here , while not having to lower emissions because an alternate energy venture offsets their emissions so there is no reason to lower emissions in their industry.
    They just keep polluting ,and make money in wind and solar.
    Cap and Trade takes effect early next year.
    Richard Sandor , who started the Chicago Carbon exchange , along with several Goldman Sachs and Fannie Mae execs , now since defunct , has come to Montreal.

    http://www.mcex.ca/aboutUs_boardOfDirectors_en

    http://www.marketswiki.com/mwiki/Richard_Sandor

    So what we have is global corporations investing in accepted areas to get credits for their industrial pollution. The problem is , they keep polluting and large scale alternate energy must have additional power to provide reliable energy… seems to be going towards GAS.
    In Germany it is coal. GAS is not emissions free , you have little accounting for polluting in your industry because you invest in alternate energy , but to provide energy reliably with alternate energy you require emissions producing GAS. On top of that you add in the massive overpayments , these companies are being hugely rewarded with no incentive to cut emissions.

    You have Industry , Government and many Media aligned together campaigning relentlessly for reducing the use of fossil fuels and a shift from coal to alternate energy.
    A Global Social Cause ..but all for profit of course.
    Have you ever seen Industry , Government and Media align for other social causes such as a better pension plan for you ?

    This is again a simplified version to give you and idea of what I am talking about.

    http://citizensclimatelobby.org/files/Conning-the-Climate.pdf

    This is not meant to knock any industry here by the way. Because you need Oil , natural resources etc.

    But what we don’t need to do is use the 28 Billion the Liberals forecast they will spend on for profit alternate energy.
    This money should be used to provide grants and affordable subsidies for us all to adopt some form of alternate energy.
    Even Suzuki has suggested this.
    But the Liberals are NOT interested.
    Failing that:
    I don’t care what party is elected.
    I want a say in the planning process where I live. Not through councils because they can easily be bought off frankly , but by referendom.
    If an area by consensus chooses to host developments,
    I want set backs increased and the homes of those being affected purchased quickly with a no nonsense approach.
    For the money this government and industry spend on spin alone , it would seem to me it would be a cheaper direction anyway.
    And of course , this area is out of the question.

  2. gary s says:

    Why not make this an election issue? To have a government that favours one group over another in the face of solid arguments is wrong. Government does not have the right to divide society. Lets vote on wind turbine placement.

  3. Renee says:

    Could it be, perhaps, that these industrial turbines aren’t quite as green as they appear?

  4. Chris Keen says:

    Attention Mr. Mayor and Council – you have asked for a moratorium on turbine developments until health studies have been undertaken. You are aware, I take it, that PEC is an important International Birding Area, that, properly promoted, could be a huge tourist attraction? Turbine development in the County is the most important issue we’ll face in the next twenty-five years. You cannot rest on this issue.

    The McGuinty government doesn’t care what its citizens think – our local MPP apparently has no opinion one way or the other that I’ve read – but maybe they will listen to you and your Council?

    Perhaps your next approach to the Province should be to urge the government to prevent the destruction of one of North America’s most sensitive environments? Time is running out! Don’t go down in history as the Council that facilitated the destruction of this IBA.

    http://www.thespec.com/opinion/article/518187–blood-on-the-blades

  5. Rob says:

    …oh….and why not wave electricity generators on the south shore (in water)?

  6. Rob says:

    Maybe PEC should dream about it’s own power generation from wind solar and water coming out of elevated limestone caches falling to the lake (like Lake on the mountain). Move the wind turbines to higher ground on the north side of the island, face banks of solar collectors on the south shore and benefit island electricity users with their own co-op selling unused electricity for the county bank account
    …too simplistic?

  7. Terry says:

    Thank God! The debate has ended. All together, now. Let’s drop to our knees, and worship his greatness. The man is a TV star and makes megabucks. He’s gotta be right!

  8. Jim Hair says:

    David Suziki, the original Canadian “Green” supports Wind Power. From the David Suzuki Foundation:
    http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/docs-talk/2010/09/wind-power-and-human-health-no-evidence-of-direct-harm/

  9. Brian Marisett says:

    Sorry to hear that the anti green, Green candidate is only concerned with short-term emergency energy needs. One would expect a longer term vision from one that considers oneself worthy of being elected to office on a “green”platform..
    Perhaps if we were to immediately shut down all of our toxic coal fired and nuclear plants in Ontario the short term energy emergency that he requires to justify the development of sustainable energy generation facilities would exist.
    In case he hasn’t noticed as of yet, we live on an environmentally sensitive planet and simply cannot continue to rely on energy produced via coal incineration or nuclear powered facilities. Consider not only the pollution derived from the burning of coal or the nuclear reaction of uranium but also the environmental devastation resulting from the mining of the resources required to support what one may now consider as conventional energy generation. The risk reward simply is not there.
    The right wing Green Party of Ontario should stop pandering to self interest individuals for votes and campaign financing and get on board with the development of sustainable energy production.
    We live in a area known for poor air quality, so take a few deep breaths followed by a puff from your preferred inhaler as more and more of our residents have to and think about it!

  10. Treat Hull says:

    According to Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Energy, the province currently has a surplus of generation capacity. If there is no short-term energy emergency, I fail to see how we can justify proceeding with this project in such an environmentally sensitive area.

  11. Hazel says:

    Canada’s sustainable energy future is deplorable and not only because of a lack of political will. It’s also in jeopardy because of narrow-minded, selfish locals such as the anti-greens in Prince Edward County. Look at the BIG picture, and consider the planet and future generations. Time has run out.

  12. John Thompson says:

    I suggest that those with bird/bat concerns should keep and open mind until reading the Environmnetal Review reports on the project. It would also help to consider the presentation of the Federal biologist who presented at the Environmental Advisory Committee’s info meeting held at the Community Centre 2 or 3 years ago. The short summary as I recall is that studies at a shoreland location of major bird/bat/raptor migration found that mortality was not biologically significant. If there is an environmental problem at Ostrander Point, the project will be stopped by the Environmental Review tribunal.

    Power does not get exported every hour but only during surplus periods which happen from time to time on nights and weekends when demand is low and because Nuclear power production can’t be scaled back. A new wave of generation infastructure is to facilite the close down of unhealthy coal burners and the closing of never totally safe nuclear reactors for refurbishing while building new facilities which are cleaner, safer, more sustianable and contribute to improved human and environmental health.

    I find it curious that those who consider the south shore to be the worst possible place were not being supportibe of a development where at least part of it could have been in the best possible place.

  13. Carlyn Moulton says:

    Ostrander Point has global significance for migratory birds which is why it was given IBA status. The unique, fragile nature of its ecosystem and the alvar on which so many species at risk rely is well-documented.

    Environment Canada says that industrial wind turbines do not belong in Important Bird Areas. The Nature Conservancy of Canada, Nature Ontario and Nature Canada and Bird Studies Canada and the Green Party all agree that Ostrander Point is one of the worst possible places to put turbines because they will be right in path of thousands of birds ascending and decending during migration. Terry Sprague has declared that the turbines will “take a massive toll on migratory raptors in one of the most significant hawk routes in Ontario”. He also says it will threaten the monarch butterfly migration, decimate bats, and threaten the Northern Saw-whet Owl, which lands on this point by the thousands.

    It is inconceivable that the government, Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of the Environment will allow private corporations to bulldoze it, all to generate less power than Ontario exports every hour. This is madness.

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