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Court of Appeal to hear turtles’ vs turbines case

The Ontario Court of Appeal has granted leave and will hear the case involving the threatened Blanding’s turtles of Ostrander Point.

In July of 2013, the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal revoked the approval issued by the Ministry of the Environment of the nine turbine project planned by Gilead Power, for Ostrander Point, on the south shore of Prince Edward County, citing “serious and irreversible harm” to the turtle population.

In February 2014, the Divisional Court reversed that ruling. If not appealed, the decision would result in the industrial develoment of the Crown land block.

In the spring, the Field naturalists, with legal counsel Eric Gillespie, prepared legal arguments in consultation with other environmental groups. By mid-May, all the parties were to submit their motions to the Appeal Court for consideration.

“The Court of Appeal indicated it will hear the appeal of this decision,” said Myrna Wood, of the PECFN in a news release.  “This is an important step forward in the public’s efforts to protect one of the province’s most ecologically sensitive habitats.”

In March, the Court of Appeal also halted further construction at the site. The granting of leave to appeal will continue that stay.

“It normally takes at least a few months for an appeal to be heard. Everyone is looking forward to moving ahead,” said Gillespie.

* * *

Timeline for Ostrander Point Court of Appeal Case

July 3 marks one year since PECFN received notice of the club’s successful appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal.  Almost a year later now, PECFN is going into the appeal (Court of Appeal), of the appeal (Divisional Court), of the appeal (Environmental Review Tribunal).  In April, a stay on any construction at Ostrander Point was granted until the matter is resolved.  “Having been successful with the stay and with the ERT and also now the permission to proceed to the Appeal Court, PECFN has a 3/1 success rate” said PECFN president, Myrna Wood. “That makes us optimistic for a good outcome at the Appeal Court.”

Legal Council, Natalie Smith has provided the following timeline information:

1. File a notice of appeal by Friday June 27th;

2. We have to “perfect” the appeal by filing another factum, along with a book of authorities, appeal book, exhibit book, and a book of transcripts by July 28th;

3. We should then receive MOE and Gilead’s responding materials by September 26th.

The hearing won’t take place until all materials have been exchanged so we’re looking at a few months at least.

“Everything is limited to questions of law so there are no further opportunities for witnesses to give evidence.  The Court of Appeal will be focusing on the Divisional Court decision and whether the Court’s conclusions regarding the Tribunal’s decision were correct.  Our arguments won’t change materially from those made at the leave stage so most of the work has already been done.”

The costs, Wood said, “That is a difficult question to answer as we prepare for the Ontario Court of Appeal.  Proceedings are on-going and our lawyers are working hard on our behalf. We need to press on with our fund raising so that we can be assured that everything possible has been done to keep Ostrander Point safe.”

Coming up is the Turtle Concert on Sunday July 13, 2:30 pm at the Picton United Church.  This will be an afternoon of music from many County artists in all genres.  Tickets ($20) will be available at the door or in advance at www.saveostranderpoint.org .

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Doris Lane says:

    This is just great and it holds Gilead up. Maybe they will just throw up their hands and quit
    As Mark says the PECFN just soldier on–Congrats

  2. Mark says:

    This is great news. I admire the resolve of the PECFN. They never get too high or too low and just soldier on. Wishing them all the best in the next battle!

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