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Concerns over wind turbine site clearing before Gilead has final approvals

Significant activity reported at Ostrander Point, the proposed site of Gilead Power’s wind project, during the week of Aug. 29 and continuing on the Labour Day weekend involves a company called X-Tech Explosive Decontamination Inc.
Orville Walsh, Chair of the County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy said the company has been contracted by Defence Construction Canada, a Crown corporation, to survey for and remove any unexploded ordnance remaining from the site’s use for training  during the Second World War.
“According to the contract, this activity is clearly in preparation for and support of construction activity for the wind energy facility,” said Walsh. “We had been assured previously by both the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) that no work would be permitted on the site unless and until both the access road application and the Renewable Energy Application (REA) had been approved.  To date, there have been no such approvals.”

Equipment set up at Ostrander Point. Orville Walsh photo

Walsh said the MNR has issued a permit resulting in significant disturbance of the site by X-Tech, including the clearing of vegetation and the creation of parking areas, an administrative area, new roads and storage areas which are in addition to the locations where the proposed access road, turbines, transformer station and other parking lots are planned.

“Neither Gilead’s draft construction plan nor MNR’s environmental assessment and categorization took into account these additional disturbances.  The cumulative impacts to the Ostrander Point property continue to mount. The MNR and MOE are not following their own processes. Both ministries are eroding further any remaining credibility they had regarding protection of the natural environment.”

Treat Hull, Green Party candidate for MPP in Prince Edward-Hastings, today called for a halt to construction at Ostrander Point.

“Over the Labour Day long weekend, sub-contractors connected to Gilead Power began clearing the site for the proposed Ostrander Point wind farm despite the fact that the project has not received its final approvals required to proceed,” said Hull.

“The Gilead project is not approved yet. The Ministry could refuse to issue the final permits as it did last week in the case of the Big Thunder wind project in Thunder Bay. If final permits are ultimately granted, local residents will most certainly launch an appeal to an Environmental Tribunal which could also stop the project,” said Hull.

“The decision to proceed with site clearance without final approvals and just weeks before a provincial election which could decide the fate of the project shows an utter contempt for both the environment and the democratic process.”

“All construction at Ostrander Point should be halted until all final approvals are received. As a candidate and as an MPP I will continue to speak out on this important issue. For people who support other candidates in the election, I encourage them to contact their favoured candidate and make sure that they also speak out now before more damage is done to the site.”

Walsh also urges the community to call or write:

Leona Dombrowsky, MPP at 613-962-1144, ldombrowsky.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org.
Linda Jeffery, Minister of Natural Resources at 905-495-8030, ljeffrey.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org.
John Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment at 800-461-9701, jwilkinson.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org.

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  1. Paul says:

    Clearrly DND is concerned about people going there to see whats going on thus causing possible dangers if any unexploded ordinance are still there.In one pic I see a white barracade with red letters that says NO ENTRY.Ever heard the phrase “Making a mountain out of a mole hill” ?
    Must be election time…

  2. at John, please pop around ours at sometime – DND – not illogical at all re Sophiasburgh. On another note, DND clearing the site should have been done years ago no one can argue against that. What people are miffed about is that they have a list of sites that are priority to clear and Ostrander is not on there, but according to CCSAGE they personally imply that DND / DCC have been hired to clear the site in response to the first stage of the wind turbines going up.

    Now I have not seen the contract and am not sure that CCSAGE have seen it but they imply on their blog that they have ” According to the contract, this activity is clearly in preparation for and support of construction activity for the wind energy facility.”

    That is what has got my back up – that proceedures may not have not been followed.

  3. BV says:

    So now everyone that doesn’t post with a last name is “Gilead backed”
    Karen, Get A Life!
    We are talking about land for wind turbines. Their will always be people for and against this matter. That is life.

  4. Ken Globe says:

    Karen, I’m reading posts both by pro and anti-turbine people that are only using one name. Try looking a little harder before spouting off next time.

  5. Karen Smith says:

    Note all comments with no last name and know that they’re Gilead backed. Shame, is right, only shame on Gilead and the ON Liberal party.

  6. John says:

    Tom, you’ve hit the nail straight on the head with respect to why SOME people don’t want turbines at Ostrander Point:

    You WON’T SEE them, you WON’T HEAR them, and any reasonable person that goes down there will say: “What’s the big deal?” And THAT just scares the anti-winds because it negates all the misinformation that they have been spreading!!

    It’s amusing how the anti-winds are dismayed at the rapid action of DND when it suits their purposes. Not long ago on Big Island, they were cheering the Department of National Defence for its rapid, if illogical, action stopping wind turbines there.

  7. Paul says:

    Judging from the last “3 ground shots” at http://ccsage.wordpress.com. Its likely a good thing DND has initiated efforts to clear any dangers with folks snooping around out there.Wouldn’t trespassing be an issue on Department of National Defense property be an issue as well ?

  8. John says:

    Thanks very much for posting those photos, Gary. It certainly does reaffirm one thing: Ostrander Point is nothing but succession scrub with nothing for kilometres around!

    I didn’t notice any birds in those photos. Is that because they all got chewed up in the helicopter’s rotor blades?! 😉

  9. Donna says:

    Doesn’t the land at Ostrander Point belong to the province? Are they not entitled to clean up unexploded devices on their own land? Is this not a good service to the public?

    As well, the land cannot be legally transferred without such a clean-up. This is the province’s responsibility. There is no wrong being done at Ostrander Point. This is just the anti-winds spreading more misinformation.

  10. Gary Mooney says:

    Check out photos (3 aerial, 3 ground) of the UXO work at http://ccsage.wordpress.com.

  11. Lori Cairns says:

    “Tom” wants turbines. I vote we give him all the turbines planned for the county. Putting them in the city of Pickering makes more sense.

    How long will it be before the people in Pickering complain of health problems?

    Right now there is nothing “wrong” with us, Tom, and we want it to stay that way.

  12. Lori Cairns says:

    My point went right over your head, Donna.

    Thanks, Treat and Steven, for keeping on top of this.

  13. Doris Lane says:

    But John this clearing was suppose to be the first step after apprroval is granted. It has not been granted so why do the clearing now? You think it is a coincidence?
    The head of Gilead is suppose to be connected with the Oil Sands in Alberta. What is he looking for Green credits to offset the mess they have out there.
    None of what is happening has anything to do with energy which we do not need at the present time. We pay the US to take our excess.
    It is all about McGinty and this vision he has of making Ontario the leader in Wind Energy and using our money to give large companies payouts.
    We can buy all the hydro power we need from Quebec and Manitoba at a lot less than the wind energy is costing us without the disruption to our community.
    As individuals we are allowing a very large footprint to be put on this land. Do we really have the right to do this?

  14. Tom says:

    What is wrong with everyone? I was driving down in the area and it would be difficult to even see the turbines from the road. What is all the flap about? Is it simply r a paranoia to change? Wind generation is the only safe, reliable alternative for electric generation. I live in Pickering where this a turbine. Doesn’t bother me. I would rather see more of them and shut down the nuclear reactors there. We continue to consume energy. We need it so why not use wind. It is resource that is free.

  15. Jeremy says:

    Treat/Steven, I don’t get it

    Your website helicopter photos show the opposite of your words

    Photo 1 – Site overview shows no noticeable disturbance

    Zoomed in photo 2 and 3 – DND searching for bombs – Thank You DND

  16. Mark says:

    Everyone knows that the turbine companies have the $$$$ to buy the landowners lease agreement. Dollars often talk louder than what is right or proper! Once they arrive and tower above us there is really no going back. As a valid conservationalist, anglers & hunter member and county born lover at heart,I think this is just wrong. This is a money deal thru and thru and nothing to do with perserving County life or saving the planet. Local decisions on these projects should rule.

  17. John Thompson says:

    The public announcement that I am seeing says that DND is doing partial brush clearing to determine the risk to the public from Unexploded Explosive Ordinance. My view is that DND waits for nobody and we are seeing a lot of theatrics over nothing. We may see a lot more of this before the silly season of political opportunism is over.

  18. Doris Lane says:

    Thanks to Steven Draper for flying over the area at Ostrander Point and getting the evidence on what is happening there. Do you think that someone standing on the ground could get those kind of pictures? Check Treats website to see the pictures.
    I am amazed that someone can fly over a spot and have beautiful large accurate pictures ready to display the next day. Steven does amazing work and we are lucky to have him in the county.

  19. Donna says:

    LOL, everyone knows that the wind companies have money to pay me to be on this site just to bother you, Lori.
    Sheesh.
    Face palm.

  20. Lori Cairns says:

    LOL, everyone knows that the “antiwinds” have money to pay me to be on this site just to bother you, Donna.
    Sheesh.
    Face palm.

  21. Donna says:

    Helicopter surveillance was still unnecessary when obviously someone had already been down there taking photos. Is he going to do it every time there is a change at the Point?

    As far as Treat walking the talk in his work, he COULD take the train to Queen’s Park. Hopefully he has an electric car and a bicycle for local travel. You’re either GREEN or you make excuses and rationalize every decision in your life.

    Let’s drop the name issue, shall we? As far as the wind industry plant paranoia goes…why shouldn’t I think that some of you are in the very deep pockets of the anti-winds? They write letters for you on their websites, and falsify their so called ‘polls’ so why not pay someone to monitor sites like this?

  22. Steven Draper says:

    One helicopter flight – I guess about 100L of well combusted, efficiently used gas to show the public / media in a clear and graphic way that something is happening at Ostrander Point that on all moral accounts probably should not be.

    I think the reportive and documentary benefits of the images out-way the small carbon out-lay which in reality is less half a dozen people driving to the location from within Picton to try and work things out for themselves, or a few hours of drive through emissions that few people seem to care about.

    I advised Treat that a helicopter would be the most suitable way of documenting the activities on the site, and we combined the trip to carry both myself on still photographs and a videographer.

    The nearest ‘Camera Blimp Operator’ would use over 100L to drive to Picton. Radio Controlled Helicopters require extensive permits to legally comply with transport Canada regulations for non pleasure flying. The site is to large and requires a higher perspective than my Polepics mast can achieve and I’d have used 20 – 30 L of gas driving there and moving around the site, risking further damage to the delicate ecology of the location too.

    Personally I’m pleased that Treat isn’t a head in the sand guy, and is not afraid to risk such ‘cheap’ comments about the use of a helicopter because he knows documenting and drawing attention to the activities that are going on is the right thing to do.

    If all elected politicians were even half as honourable as Treat we’d be living in a very different World.

  23. I think Treat has done the right thing. What Gilead have tried to do is sneak things through under the radar which is wrong, they do not even have permission to build the turbines yet. Someone needs to keep them in check. This is not just Treat’s fight but should be every politician’s fight – the right to Democratic process, upholding the law and being truthful.

    I would love to vote for someone who believes in the power of doing things right. It makes a nice change.

    And as for the carbon issue of hiring a helicopter – come on. For your arguement to hold any weight what you are saying is if Treat gets voted in he should not travel to Queen’s Park for debates or even tour the whole of the Hasting’s District because clearly he would be burning carbon!! Get real, every thing we do in life has some carbon foot print the aim is to know when to use it for the right of the justice. He is right to hire the helicopter, hopefully what he has done means no one else – reporters, public etc will need to go down there now to take pictures, thus in the long term he has saved potentially much more carbon

  24. Mark says:

    Treat’s flight in a helicopter to aid in unveiling what is happening is far from shameful. He is to be commended for keeping his finger on the pulse and fighting for the citizens of Prince Edward. He is gathering a lot of support as witnessed by the number of lawn signs in Picton. I would think this is reflective of his leadership on the turbine issue.

  25. Doris Lane says:

    One helicopter is nothing to the amount of fuel and pollution that is caused and will be caused if this project goes ahead by the numerous trucks and heavy equipment that will be used to erect a mere 9 turbines.
    How can one get an overhead view of what is happening if one does not go up in a plane of some sort. As one contributor said why are full names not being used

  26. Lori Cairns says:

    Why won’t the pro-wind people write their full names?

    If you are too afraid? ashamed? to put your name on what you say, then don’t say it.

    How many identities can Gilead execs make up?

  27. BV says:

    Hahaha, here we have a member of the Green Party riding around in a helicopter that burns 18-28 GPH of fuel.
    Give you head a shake!!

  28. Donna says:

    Treat, if you purport to represent the GREEN Party, it’s unconscionable that you chartered a helicopter to fly over Ostrander Point! Burning greenhouse gases and adding to air pollution just to make a point is shameful. If you were truly GREEN, you would have ridden your bicycle down to the point to have a look. That action would have proven your position in the ‘Green’ Party.

    You don’t walk the talk so you WILL NOT be getting my vote!

  29. Treat Hull says:

    Earlier today, the Give ‘em Hull campaign chartered a helicopter to fly a photographer and videographer to document the unwarranted destruction that is currently underway at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County.

    The Gilead project is not approved yet. The Ministry could refuse to issue the final permits as it did last week in the case of the Big Thunder wind project in Thunder Bay. If final permits are ultimately granted, local residents will most certainly launch an appeal to an Environmental Tribunal which could also stop the project.

    The decision to proceed with site clearance without final approvals –and just weeks before a provincial election which could decide the fate of the project– shows an utter contempt for both the environment and the democratic process.

    The opening days of my election campaign will focus on raising the visibility of this issue and appealing to citizens of all political persuasions to stop the destruction at Ostrander Point.
    What can you do to help?

    First, spread the word. We will be releasing the initial aerial photos of the site at our campaign kick off meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) at noon at Miss Lilys/Books & Co. on Main Street in Picton which everyone is welcome to attend. After the meeting, photos will be made available online including to countyliveca. Shortly afterward, we will be release video footage of site which will also be offered to countylive.ca. Please share this information with everyone you know in the riding.

    Second, please consider getting involved and supporting my election campaign. All construction at Ostrander Point should be halted until all final approvals are received. As a candidate and as an MPP I will continue to speak out on this important issue.

    At the same time, this issue is too important to be “owned” by one candidate. If you support another candidate in the election, please encourage them to speak out now before more damage is done to the site.

    Treat Hull
    Green Party of Ontario
    Candidate for Prince Edward-Hastings
    http://www.give-em-hull.ca
    613-503-8700
    treat@give-em-hull.ca

  30. Doris Lane says:

    Obviously the MOE and the government have no respect for the laws governing our province, The election is coming make sure we get them out of power.
    Treat Hull has hired a helicopter to survey the area–way to go Treat.

  31. Donna says:

    Unexploded ordnance?!! None of the anti-wind groups ever said anything about there being dangers to the public at Ostrander Point!! It’s a good thing no tourists ventured down there this summer looking for turtles or birds.

    And so…those poor turtles and Whippoorwills have been in peril from man all this time! It seems that it’s not such a pristine, natural area after all.

    Thank goodness this potentially lethal danger is being dealt with before anyone has an accident.

  32. Suzanne Lucas says:

    Did they think we would just not notice? Given Ms. Dombrowski’s silence on the Ostrander Point project, and in light of this most recent outrageously underhanded action, we can only conclude that she, and the Liberal government have no respect for the citizens of this county. What a way to start an election campaign.

  33. Cheryl Anderson says:

    Surely now people will realize that the Liberal party does not believe in the democratic process. Allowing the desecration of Ostrander Point before approval of the Gilead project is a shocking move.
    We need an MPP in Toronto that will speak out strongly and intelligently for Prince Edward County. Give’Em Hull!

  34. Renee says:

    I’d say this is unbelievable but it seems that this is the way that wind companies and our government operate, it’s happening all over the province. Truly shameful.

    The only way to stop this is to get rid of McGuinty and his puppet Leona.

  35. Chris Keen says:

    Clearly, as this outrageous activity shows, the current government and its Ministries simply ignore their own processes, rules and regulations when it suits them. By doing so, they are knowingly causing additional environmental damage in this area, and making it pretty clear that they could care less about the County and its residents.

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