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Council OKs $20,000 support of Field Naturalists’ fight against turbines

Prince Edward County council approved a donation of $20,000 in support of the Field Naturalists’ Ostrander Point Appeal Fund to stop development of turbine projects.

Prince Edward County Field Naturalists president Myrna Wood, made a presentation to council committee of the whole, Thursday, Aug. 15.

“Our message to council has always been that not only is Ostrander Point important for its habitat and animals that use it, but also that there are potentially significant economic impacts to maintaining and preserving that habitat,” Wood said.

Council was given an overview of the Environmental Review Tribunal decision of July 3 which supported PECFN’s appeal.

“We believe this is the first time in Canada that an approved permit has been revoked on environmental grounds. The outcome of the hearing protects one of Ontario’s truly special places and opens the door for the importance of environmental protection to be recognized at sites across the country,” Wood explained.

She also reported that both the Ministry of the Environment and Gilead Power have counter-appealed the Tribunal’s decision.  The appeals must be based on errors in law and are to be heard by the Divisional Court, probably in Toronto.  Gilead Power is asking that costs be assessed against Prince Edward County Field Naturalists.

Councillor Bev Campbell presented a motion to have the County of Prince Edward donate $20,000 to the Ostrander Point Appeal Fund.  The motion passed, subject to receiving a positive legal opinion at council on Aug. 27. There were three dissenting votes.

Wood also quoted a recent article in Ontario Birds, the journal of the Ontario Field Ornithologists that noted while 57.5 per cent of birders in Ontario support wind energy development, 70.3 per cent say wind farms should not be located in or near Important  Bird Areas or Migration bottlenecks. She quoted that 87.3 per cent of the birders questioned stated wind farms are not a tourist attraction that they would travel to see.
“The article demonstrates that birders that visit Prince Edward County would probably, if the projects along the South Shore are allowed to proceed, prefer to visit other birding hot spots – and take their tourist dollars with them.”

“The Field Naturalists were represented in the gallery by several members who left with big smiles on their faces,” said Cheryl Anderson, of the naturalists. “While realizing that there is one more hurdle to jump before the funds truly are available for the Save Ostrander Point Campaign, the significance of council’s decision was not lost on anyone,” she added.

“Raising the funds for the appeal has been a challenge. We are however, humbled by the generosity of our almost 500 donors. The Ostrander Point Appeal Fund has reached nearly $84,000. We have held several fund raising events and will continue to  do so,” Wood said.

“Our data indicates that about 60 per cent of our donors are County residents and as many as 15 per cent are repeat donors. We have support provincially, federally and internationally. Donations may be made at website or by mailing in cheques.

“Gilead Power is asking that costs be assessed against Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. The David verses Goliath nature of this fight is not lost on anyone. We are grateful for the continued support of council and citizens of Prince Edward County.”

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  1. Mark says:

    Well our MPP elected representative is in opposition to the Industrial Wind Turbines in what I am sure he feels is speaking for the majority. He probably has a fairly good idea of the numbers opposing.

  2. Sam says:

    Andy R, a referrendum would certainly produce interesting results (and probably some interesting campaigning leading up to it) and may help our civic leaders in determining whether initiatives like this $20,000 donation are supported by the larger community, but I question the value of the outcome. As it stands, council has very little control and input regarding the two wind energy projects currently proposed for PEC (Osterander Point and White Pines). It would help clear up the issue of commentators on this site, and in other media outlets, who claim to speak for the majority of PEC residents (which to me seems slightly arrogant). I am not certain that the amusement factor of a referendum would justify the cost.

  3. Argyle says:

    Council wastes alot more money on consultants and their reports.

  4. Andy R. says:

    I think a referendum regarding wind turbines in the County should take place.
    Rudeness should not be tolerated on this forum.

  5. Doris Lane says:

    Jethro watch your language. The PECFN are not what you called them. They are a dedicated group of people who want what is best for PEC. Destroying a natural habitat is not good for us and there is an important alvar there as well.We are in this world to leave as small a footprint as possible. Giant turbines leave a very large footprint indeed.

  6. jethro says:

    After watching the news tonight the $20,000 is just a drop in the bucket towards your debt.Where are you (edited) going to get the rest of the money

  7. jethro says:

    I don,t know where lincoln gets his figures but I believe it is the other way around. I have talked top a lot of people and ALL of them are very upset about this rediculous donation. Not one is for it

  8. lincoln says:

    @Jim & DRB

    So if 90+% is a special interest group. What do we call the other 9%. You must be extra special.

  9. Jim says:

    DRB is correct. No public funds should go to special interest groups. And by any definition, this is a special interest group. (and a very loud one at that)

  10. Mark says:

    Far from a special interest group. These people took on what Council didn”t. Well spent dollars and there is no doubt in my mind the very small monetary gesture represents the vast majority of County residents.

  11. DRB says:

    The $20,000 being donated to special interest groups is an absolute indiscretion by our Council. Why don’t we concentrate on getting our fiscal house in order and fix some of our pathetically ignored roads.

  12. Chris Keen says:

    @Jethro – a much bigger drain on your wallet is the drastic rise in the price of electricity as a result of the “Green” Energy Act. Rural Ontario is bearing the brunt of these costs.

    Here’s an interesting breakdown by Scot Luft and Parker Gallant:

    “The conclusion one can draw from the foregoing is that renewable energy (wind and solar) producing intermittent electricity (80% of the time when we don’t need it) costs ratepayers four times what it costs for conventional sources and when those remaining contracted 3,739 MW of wind and 1,232 of solar are in commercial operation, we should expect they will produce (on average but 80% of the time when it’s not needed) 10.5% of Ontario’s demand and represent about 40% of the GA costs. Those GA costs have climbed to the point where they now represent in excess of 65% of our electricity costs.”

  13. Marnie says:

    If that’s the case Jethro then taxpayers who do not have children in the school system should be exempt from paying education taxes and contributing to the cost of arenas, playgrounds, etc. Those with no interest in the local theatre should not be forced to see their tax dollars pay a grant to it every year. It’s money taken from a common pot and many special interest groups benefit. Some days your special interests are served and at other times groups like the Field Naturalists and the county residents who support their fight receive a boost. Council did the right thing and if a few of your tax dollars funded it stop complaining. A donation of $20,000 was made and when shared among county taxpapers no single individual contributed that much of it. So you lost $1.98. Take it like a man.

  14. Jethro says:

    Way to go Donna. They should fight there own battles with there own money, not mine,yours or 25000 others

  15. Chris Keen says:

    @ Donna – had you attended the Ostrander ERT, or read the Tribunal’s ruling, you would be aware that the increased risk issues to the Blanding’s Turtle revolved around several issues:

    – Increased risk of mortality on new access roads (5.6km), which are likely to experience an increase in traffic over current conditions, cause habitat loss, changes to vegetation and hydrology
    – Increased predation of nests due to predators (i.e., coyotes and foxes) using access roads to traverse through the habitat
    – Increased poaching for the pet trade due to increased access and awareness of the local Blanding’s Turtle population

    The mitigation measures proposed by Gilead included road signs, driver education, speed bumps and culvert construction, among others.

    In it’s ruling, the Tribunal found the following:
    “[358] An enormous amount of information on this species was brought forward in this appeal. There is certainly enough information for the Tribunal to make findings on the conservation status of the species, its life history traits that make it vulnerable to harm from the Project, the precise type of harm that the Project will cause, and the significance of this type of harm (road mortality and poaching) on Blanding‟s turtle.”

    “[359] The Tribunal finds that engaging in the Project in accordance with the REA will cause serious and irreversible harm to Blanding‟s turtle. The Tribunal makes this finding having regard to the biological population that will be impacted by the Project; that is, the population that uses the habitat on the Project Site and the surrounding area.”

    “[360] It appears that the mitigation measures to be employed during the construction phase of the Project, i.e., no construction or maintenance from May 1 to October 15, would be effective to prevent serious and irreversible harm to Blanding‟s turtle from construction activities of the Project itself. However, such measures do not prevent use of the roads in the post-construction phase. In addition, the Tribunal finds on a balance of probabilities that the fact that this Project is on Crown land and open to public access will reduce the effectiveness of road mortality mitigation measures, including educational signage and reduced speed limits, to the point they will no longer be effective in reducing mortality to a level that would prevent serious and irreversible harm to Blanding‟s turtle. The one mitigation measure that the evidence indicates would be effective to some degree, i.e., speed bumps, does not nearly outweigh the increased use of the Site that will take place due to maintenance traffic and easier public access, and the measure will have no impact on poaching. “

    “[363] The Tribunal finds that mortality due to roads, brought by increased vehicle traffic, poachers and predators, directly in the habitat of Blanding‟s turtle, a species that is globally endangered and threatened in Ontario, is serious and irreversible harm to Blanding‟s turtle at Ostrander Point Crown Land Block that will not be effectively mitigated by the conditions in the REA.”

    If you read the ERT Decision, you will find that there is agreement that the project will cause harm to the alvar, to birds and to bats however, based upon the evidence the Tribunal heard, the harm would not be irreversible.

    The harm to the Blanding’s Turtle would be irreversible and that is why the approval to construct the project was cancelled. Sadly for Gilead, none of their experts had the knowledge that you apparently have so that “the turtle issue could be easily ameliorated.”

  16. Donna says:

    Come on, Doris. That area has never been special or protected. It was a bomb testing site for goodness sakes! Now the ATVers and campers leave their ruts and garbage. Prince Edward County has never shown an interest in it before now.

    The birding and health issues were dismissed for Ostrander Point, and the turtle issue could be easily ameliorated.

  17. Loretta Salet says:

    Donna, remember the council composition changes with time. Many of those councillors who refused to aid the Waring Creek improvement Association are no longer in council. Different councillors, different support, reflects our democratic process and I believe current council has done the right thing. Only way to make sure council represents us is to participate in elections and be aware of the issues.
    Everyone, whether they believe that Wind Turbines are necessary or a necessary evil should be against any installation in Ontario now and until such time as the technology exists for low cost storage, and health studies are completed. If we take the word “green” out of the arguments and look at the dollars and cents, we are getting ripped off so a few corporations can make millions on our backs.
    Your children and possibly grandchildren will still be paying for this fiasco unless we put an end to it. The GEA (Green Energy Act) stripped municipalities of the right to decide what happens in their own communities and removed environmental protections. The entire process of providing information to the public, dealing with complaints or monitoring has been designed by the industry to their benefit, not the publics. Even though Wolfe Island turbines have possibly the highest kill rate of birds in North America, there have been no repercussions, no fines, no shutting down during migratory seasons.
    Because of solar and wind turbine installations, or electrical bills are going through the roof and there is no end in sight. I believe it cost Ontario $1.4 Billion last year alone to sell off affordable excess power because we are contracted to purchase any solar or wind generated power at well above market costs. These contracts are for at least 20 years.
    I believe in solar and wind power. I was involved in selling solar panels and wind generators. I do not believe in what the Ontario government has forced upon us.

    I see the Blanding Turtle as that lone student in Tiananmen Square. Keep the momentum going by supporting the PECN with few dollars now. It will save us $billions in the long run, and that money saved could be used to produce viable, affordable truly GREEN energy in the near future.

  18. Doris Lane says:

    Come on Donna , the PECFN are fighting to preserve an area of the County that should never have been considered for IWT’s. You of all people know this. Even Kathleen WYnne says that there are areas where IWT’s should not be put. Whether she can stop it or not remains to be seen.

    This is Crown land with a very important Alvar. Let us keep special places like that for the generations to come.

  19. Donna says:

    First of all, Mertens was quoted as saying that taxpayer money should not be used by the MOE for their appeal but now he’s spending PEC taxpayer money for the PECFN appeal.

    Secondly, until there is an official count in the County of anti-wind residents and pro-wind residents (or even the don’t care residents), all we know is that fewer than 500 S Marysburgh people voted that they object to wind. That leaves almost 25,000 residents!

    I, for one, do not approve of my tax dollars being spent on any group’s legal expenses. When the Waring Creek Improvement Association fought the quarry issue affecting Waring Creek, a battle that our Council should have been fighting, WCIA had to raise money for years to pay off their legal costs.

  20. Dayton Johnson says:

    Let those few landowners in South Marysburgh that want a turbine get a contract and then buy and pay for it on their own.It won’t be one of those gigantic monstrosities but if they’re in it for the money let them pay for it!

    Gilead will increase our hydro rates more as all these wind turbines come on line(we have seen it already from other builds like Wolfe island etc.)Property values in SM are already threatened with just talk about Gilead…what will be the results if these and White Pines are built? The numbers are straight forward…Ontario has too much Hydro power and is often forced to PAY other sources to take it. Ok Happy with your Hydro rates now?? Wait until your on the “old” fixed income and then try to keep the lights and heat on!
    Anyone have info. on the progress of the legal cases between landowners in SM.?

  21. Sam says:

    Marnie wrote: “The turbines, had they been installed, would have been a big financial boost for a number of landowners in South Marysburgh.”

    The turbines that have been stopped, or delayed, by the PECFN appeal were to be installed on the Osterander Point crown land block. There are no lease payments for private landowners associated with this project.

  22. Marnie says:

    The Field Naturalists may be few in number but they speak for many of us. They should be greatly admired for taking a stand and fighting against almost impossible odds. Personal gain was never any part of it. The victory they won put no money in their pockets. The turbines, had they been installed, would have been a big financial boost for a number of landowners in South Marysburgh.

  23. Doris Lane says:

    The PECFN are a group of people who are very concerned about the environment and the furure of this County
    Ostrander point is Crown Land which has a rare alvar on. Alvars are not very plentiful and need protection. Once e destroy some of our natural heritage we can never get it back. The Council has declared that they are an unwilling host for IWT’s, so they are just standing behind a stand they have taken, which is the correct one.
    We should all have the dedication and the work ethic that the field naturalists have. Let’ wish they good luck with the appeal.

  24. Jethro says:

    Why would council give them anything?There are just a handfull of activists that are asking for the money. They started it so let them finish it out of there own pockets. I have to pay for anything I want so why shouldn’t they. If council gives it to them then every Tom,Dick and Harry will be wanting money

  25. Marnie says:

    Given the stink thst some are raising about the provision of $20,000. it’s easy to imagine the reaction if the amount had been any larger. I don’t think councillors were trying to buy votes. They just did the right thing. First people complained that they refused to give anything. Now there are complaints that they did step up to the plate and negative comments because they did not give more. Who would want to run for council? You just can’t win with the voting public.

  26. Sam says:

    I have to wonder if this gesture is as much about supporting the Field Naturalists and protecting the environment as it is about preparing for the next municipal election.

    The combined legal costs for the PECFN and APPEC is reported to be in excess of $200,000. This number is going to increase further with the ongoing appeals by APPEC, Gilead and the MOE.

    The $20,000 that PEC tax payers are contributing amounts to less than 10% of current costs. It is a token amount. The mayor and councillors who oppose wind energy development can now tell the wind energy opponents that they have done something to oppose the Gilead project and they can tell everyone else that the $20,000 only amounts to $0.80 per PEC resident.

    This seems like a lukewarm measure that is lacking in conviction. They have claimed to be opposed to wind energy, now we see that they are slightly opposed.

  27. larry says:

    its looks that the council donated $20,000.00 on behalf of 300 people. Good thing there was not more county people backing this or the county would have to take out a loan from the people that has the solar farms

  28. m york says:

    So if this doesn’t curl your hair nothing will…. Yesterday, a piano was delivered to the CAO’s office and who delivered it the county staff on county time. And yes his office was re-done AGAIN!!!! So if your upset about your high taxes, windmills, garbage, price of water I would highly suggest you go see our CAO and he will surely play a song for you to calm your nerves, oh wait apparently it doesn’t work???? What to H*** is going on????? Please feel free to go check it out yourself as everyone else is scratching their heads and laughing their asses off. Once again us taxpayers are made to look like the idiots for allowing this to go on.

  29. Marnie says:

    Council got it right this time when they gave $20,000 to offset the Field Naturalist’s legal fees. The day will never come when the county as a whole turns a blind eye to wind turbines. That is wishful thinking. They are a blight on the landscape.

    Arenas do fill a legitmate need but the skateboard park was an unnecessary extravagance that benefits only a small percentage of the local population.

  30. Mark says:

    I think those that have their lives, health, environment and property values adversely affected will think more than twice about Industrial Wind Turbines. I am not sure why I even responded to such a naive comment because it may have been posted purely to just fuel the fire.

  31. judy kennedy says:

    It is very likely that a few years from now, no one will think twice about wind turbines. They will just be a part of the landscape in this country.

  32. judy kennedy says:

    I think it’s inappropriate for council to give any money toward any interest group’s legal expenses. There are many needs in the community. And yes, skateboard parks and arenas for our youth are legitimate needs. I use neither, nor do I need senior citizens services yet, but I don’t begrudge those who do.

  33. Jack D says:

    Jethro , I would love to move out(only lived in the County 44 years) but nobody wants my house or land. First question asked is where are the turbines supposed to go. Oh! love your property but no thanks.

  34. Mark says:

    I would think Jethro would be more concerned with the vast amount of his tax dollars the Ministry of Environment is spending to appeal the tribunals decision. Nothing like using the residents own tax dollars to fight those very residents.

  35. Marnie says:

    Listen up Jethro. Council regularly spends our money for a lot of things that may not reflect our personal interests. Take Wellington arena or the skateboard park for example. I don’t use either one of them but my tax dollars helped to put them there. Now they have given a relatively small amount of money to the Field Naturalists who did an heroic job in saving our environment.I think they call it democracy but maybe you haven’t heard about that. Cheers to council for making the right decision.

  36. judy kennedy says:

    I would like to point out that costs for municipal services are lower in areas of higher density population. The tax base is wider and deeper. It’s as simple as that.

  37. Jethro says:

    I am appalled that council spent my tax money so foolishly. If you tree huggers don’t want turbines spend your own money. No one helps me if I need some money . Maybe we could have spent this money on helping the poorer people of the county buy clothes for there children for winter . If you don’t like it move to hell out

  38. Doris Lane says:

    Mark 1–to help save our environment I do not have a problem spending money and the amount given to PECFN is small compared to the amounts spent on Consultants to do things we do not have to have consultants for eg making Main street a heritage district–50 years ago we could have done that but not now–not enough left of old Picton to justify it,
    Could council not come to a decision on the number of councillors instead of a consultant and a bunch of other people.
    To whoever questioned me on the cost of green bins, I read it somewhere but I can not find it–certainly Council would not put it on their website.
    It was thousands of dollars and there was a start up cost as well.
    The cost of living in the Town of Picton is very high. Talked to a lady from Scarborough and their costs are half ours. Oh well I am too old to move again.

  39. Mark #1 says:

    Doris, I take it you don’t have a problem with council spending money this time? Just a hunch!

  40. Argyle says:

    Finally council shows some spine. I am surprised that they did not have to hire a consultant for a report before proceeding.

  41. Wolf Braun says:

    One of council’s better decisions! Bravo for supporting the PEC Field Naturalists ! Now if only we could get his worship to show more moral support for our hospital. 🙁

  42. Doris Lane says:

    My information is that the 3 disenting vores were Marisett, Turpin and Nowitski.

  43. Mark says:

    Wouldn’t be difficult to guess the 3 dissenting votes. Let’s start.

  44. Was there a recorded vote?

  45. Doris Lane says:

    The PECFN have spent a great of time and have put a lot of effort trying to protect our natural environment, they deserve some help from the Council. Our Environment is the most important thing in our lives.
    For MOE to take the side of Gilead who wants to destroy, the Crown Land wich is Ostrander Point, does not bode well for those who should be our environmental watch dogs.

  46. Marc says:

    I agree Marnie. Those who claim to speak for “the majority” usually speak nonsense.

  47. Marnie says:

    What makes you privy to that information Wevil? It gets my vote. I only wish all of our tax dollars were spent this wisely.

  48. wevil says:

    council is pretty free with taxpayer money. this is not the wish of the majority in the county

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