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Environmental Review decision due July 10

The Environmental Review Tribunal hearings on the Ostrander Point wind project concluded in Toronto Friday, June 21. The ERT is examining the decision to approve an industrial wind turbine project at Ostrander Point, Prince Edward County.

This month, the hearing focus was on how turbines risk human health in a case brought forward by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC). Their appeal must prove serious harm to human health. Summations by counsel for APPEC, Gilead Power, and the Ministry of Environment (MOE) focused on three issues:  the relevance of the Erickson appeal (2011), the medical evidence presented and the standard of proof required.

During March and April, ERT members Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright heard many hours of expert testimony from dozens of Prince Edward County Field Naturalists’ (PECFN) case witnesses on how nine 500-foot turbines planted in concrete bases and with wing spans of a football field will impact plants and animals and the Important Bird Area on the shoreline of South Marysburgh. The wind development company experts countered that there will be harm but not so great as to be irreversible.

“APPEC lawyer Eric Gillespie argued that reliance on the Erickson decision avoids an onerous and unmanageable process of re-litigation on matters already addressed by 25 expert witnesses,” said Henri Garand, Chair, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County. “The present ERT has to consider the principal findings in Erickson because they relate to a wind project, like Ostrander Point, approved to operate with 40 dBA noise limits and 550-m setbacks.

“Mr. Gillespie urged the ERT panel to accept the testimony of 11 witnesses who reported adverse health effects from living near currently-operating wind projects.  All of them have suffered a range of symptoms known to result from exposure to audible noise and low-frequency sound. Expert opinion has related these to the proximity of wind turbines as far as two km away.

“Gilead’s and the MOE’s own witnesses, said Mr. Gillespie, have testified that there are always ‘some people,’ or a ‘non-trivial percentage of the population,’ affected by wind turbines. APPEC’s case has shown the probability, not just biological plausibility, of serious harm to human health.  There is enough evidence on the ‘balance of probabilities’ for the ERT to make a decision.”

“People are obviously suffering despite the MOE’s regulations,” said APPEC President Gord Gibbins. “There will be more victims if Ostrander Point and other wind projects go ahead.”

Gibbins said the ERT panel also questioned the location of the wind project on Crown land.  The public will have access to the site via 5.4 km of maintenance road and would be exposed to the risks of ice throw, blade breakage, nacelle fire, and tower collapse.

“These concerns are another sign,” said Gibbins, “that public health and safety appear to be secondary to wind power development.”

The ERT’s decision is due by July 10.

Click here for APPEC reports written by Henri Garand and Paula Peel on the hearings.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. fed up says:

    Excellent point.

  2. Don Lesko says:

    It’s an odd world we live in. Wind turbines are placed under the magnifying glass for months on end, yet the proposed nuclear waste site hearing set for Kincardine is allowed one day.

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