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Legal opinons call for remediation of Ostrander Point

Prince Edward County’s South Shore Conservancy group is reviewing legal opinions that call for the province to remediate recent damage at Ostrander Point.
The Conservancy states the Ontario government has suspended application of its Endangered Species Act when it allowed contractors hired by Defence Construction Canada to clear large swaths of wildlife habitat earlier this month, searching for unexploded ordnance from the 1950s, at the proposed site of the Gilead Power wind turbine development.
“There is no legal basis for the province’s refusal to apply provincial environmental laws at Ostrander Point” – home to millions of migrating birds and a significant number of endangered species,” was the legal opinion of Charles Birchall, one of Canada’s top environmental lawyers.
“We have concluded that any destruction of endangered or threatened species habitat at Ostrander Point without a permit is illegal under the provincial Endangered Species Act.”

Garth Manning

The County’s Garth Manning, Q.C., a retired Toronto lawyer, analyzed Birchell’s opinions and shared his comments with conservancy members meeting Wednesday at the Milford Town Hall.
He said the site had been used by the Royal Canadian Air Force in the 1950s and had previously been cleared of unexploded ordnances in the 1960s.

“The DCC is clearly aware of the Important Bird Area migration patterns and species. Along with Point Pelee it is one of the two largest bird migration areas in Ontario. It is a bizarre situation we are left with,” he said.

Manning explained that ironically, a letter from Premier Dalton McGuinty was published in The Wellington Times in relation to the Ostrander Point project, in which he states: “We have a responsibility to protect our wildlife, and are doing so through the Endangered Species Act… Each renewable project must comply with key environmental rules under the Renewable Energy Approvial regulation process…”

“Despite this public assertion by Mr. McGuinty, the endangered species at Ostrander Point have not been protected under the Endgangered Species Act,” said Manning.

Birchell’s reports states that due to the province’s failure to apply its own laws, it has a clear obligation to the public to use all legal tools at its disposal to ensure that any habitat destruction caused to Ostrander Point is remedied.

“As it is too late to stop any damage that has occurred at Ostrander Point, one way to address the situation is for the province to assemble an independent multi-disciplinary task force to conduct a scientific assessment of the extent of the damage done to Ostrander point and the steps necessary to remedy the damage,” Birchell’s report said. “The task force should also undertake an assessment of how to ensure the ecological diversity and vitality of Ostrander Point can best be preserved for future generations. A moratorium on any new land uses, site alteration or other activities at Ostrander Point should be declared until such time as the findings of the task force are released an implemented.”

Leona Dombrowsky

Liberal incumbent Leona Dombrowsky remained calm as SSC members slammed her government and election opponents took opportunity to campaign until chastised by SSC chairman Sandy Goranson that “this is not a political rally.”

SSC criticism surrounded a letter from Dombrowsky stating “the Department of National Defence does not require approvals (or permits) from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) for the Proposed Exploded Ordnance Assessment and Clearance at Ostrander Point. The explanation for this is based on the Intergovernmental Immunity Doctrine, which states that provinces lack the authority to bind the federal Crown, or federal Crown agencies. As a result, provincial laws generally do not apply to the federal Crown or to federal Crown agencies.
“It is important to note that these remediation activities are not part of a proposal by Gilead Power to build and operate a wind power facility at Ostrander Point. At this time, no approvals or authorities have been granted to Gilead Power for the proposed wind power facility.”

Manning stated precedent had been set in other cases by both the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Superior Court of Canada and that neither had been overturned.

Dombrowsky said she was interested in reading the reports from the legal counsel and would support the formation of a task force to determine the extent of damage and remedy it.

Goranson said the conservancy would see if the province will provide mediation and assurance to protect, rather and destroy the Important Bird Area. “Legal action is a possibility if we have to protect the area,” she said.

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  1. Ernest Horvath says:

    The Green Party is not anti IWT in factquite the opposite., the NDP will go full steam ahead and well you may not know all the Liberal Plans looming as with the NDP.

  2. Tom says:

    I don’t disagree with you at all on your point about parties. All of them are guilty. However, in my riding in Pickering the Green Party candidate is flaunting his picture with a wind mill in the back ground which suggests that the Green Party is very pro wind generation. It really is about getting the vote at all costs for every party in the contest.

    I welcome your comments.

  3. Ernest Horvath says:

    Political parties are what they are. And do waht they do.
    I wouldn’t have to point out the questionable practices if they weren’t happening.

    Enron Lobbied for the plan the Liberals and NDP want to implement.

    The National Post has been exposing the questionable practices for years.
    Just follow the money.

  4. Tom says:

    Gee…..Seems to me the anti-wind mill people are the ones who are “fixated” on not having wind mills on Ostrander Point. It is scrub land for God’s sake. Energy is not just about the present but our needs for the future. Seems like there is a lot of political bashing going on.

  5. Chris Keen says:

    “Ultimately, the green energy subsidies and new economy hype are a cruel joke to California citizens. The unemployed, the disabled, students and the poor are now paying the price for governments who simply could not say no.

    This is Ontario’s future under Dalton McGuinty.”

  6. Ernest Horvath says:

    Trillium Foundation , grant arm of the Liberals.

    Look at Environment , each year is fascinating.

    Organization after organization has received money to do nothing but groom Ontario areas to “embrace” the Liberal direction.
    They have even gone as far as grooming young kids , and high school kids at times using the Sierra Club.

    While we log our forests and send them overseas Trillium funds groups to encourage planting trees to protect the environment.
    Is this where the jobs are that are being created they keep talkig about ?

    You couldn’t make this stuff up.

  7. Chris Keen says:

    Kudos to the CBC for staying on the IWT issue. This article is full of interesting information and well worth reading.

  8. Ernest Horvath says:

    Scarborough offshore wind project is in Duguids riding.
    And it was election year.
    The workers at the Mississauga Gas Planr were working along the day after McGuinty had stopped it
    So far 2 gas power plants have been halted..Oakville and Mississauga but NOT in Holland Marsh ,oddly enough.
    You must have partnered power with wind and solar , they are essential to continue a reliable stream of power as required.
    So , they may very well start up again.
    I would take a Gas power plant than IWT developments anyday.

  9. Chris Keen says:–wind-power-firm-files-2-25-billion-lawsuit

    “Energy minister Brad Duguid quickly hit back against the lawsuit.

    “In my 17 years of elected office, this is one of the most offensive lawsuits I’ve ever seen,” he (Brad Duguid, Energy Minister) said in an interview.

    “We have a legal responsibility as a government to make sure we protect the environment,” he said.”
    I’m glad to read that at least one Minister in the McGuinty government is concerned about the environment. I hope that concern applies to the Ostrander project as well.

  10. Gary Mooney says:

    Ownership of Ostrander Point was transferred from federal to provincial some time ago. Recently the province allowed DND to do a distruptive site assessment on the assumption that the feds, being the senior level of government, have overriding power, but SSC’s legal opinion indicates otherwise. Bottom line is that the province should not have allowed DND onto the site in advance of project approval.

  11. Maria says:

    …What Mark said!

  12. Beth says:

    If the area in question is still under military ownership, if is a federal issue then the Province of Ontario has absolutely no jurisdiction. That DCC was the Federal Branch that contracted the work to be done, it indicates that it is owned by DND. So it doesn’t matter whether you support the Turbines or not or agree with how confirmation of the absence of unexploded ordinance was carried out. If Land Lease agreements are being negotiated, DND has a responsibility to ensure the land is clear and that is federal.

  13. virginia Hair says:

    It has occurred to me that people of the past must have raised similar concerns about telephone poles, hydro towers, and microwave towers.
    Perhaps we should give those up, too?
    IMO, ten years from now, none of this wind turbine controversy will exist. They will have become part of the landscape.

  14. Mark says:

    The government has a responsibility to the citizens of Ontario to use “our” crown lands wisely with informed decisions taking into full consideration environmental impacts to wildlife and humans and their health & safety. The government does not have authority to use our lands anyway they see fit. That is why a full consultation process with local citizens, environmental and health professinals is prudent. There is more at stake than $$$$.

  15. Donna says:

    Ostrander Point is Crown Land, ie land owned by the Queen and administered by the Ontario government.

    “Crown Land provides the country and the provinces with the majority of their profits from natural resources, largely but not exclusively provincial, rented for logging and mineral exploration rights; revenues flow to the relevant government and may constitute a major income stream, such as in Alberta.” (wiki)

    So it follows that Ontario can use its Crown Land, Ostrander Point, to use its natural resources, in this case, wind energy.

    The Ontario government has every right to use the resources on its Crown Land.

  16. Ernest Horvath says:

    The problem today for the spin industry is that the internet makes it hard to misinform. The information is out there and someone will find it and get it out there.

    Dalton McGuinty March 15 , 2002 in the Financial Post said:

    “I support a genuinely competitive marketplace for the generation of electricity, By this, I mean a marketplace in which there will be several kinds of generators of electricity — public and private, large and small, and those providing green power. Unfortunately, the Tory government has … ignored the advice to break up the former Ontario Hydro’s monopoly in generation.”

    Then in June 2 , 2002 , in the Canada Press admitted Monday that he flip-flopped on the issue. Saying he’d rushed to a judgment he now regretted when he initially supported privatization, McGuinty said he’d given more thought to the idea of selling Hydro One and had come to a wholly different conclusion.

    “From time to time, when a politician changes his mind, that may not be the worst thing in the world, especially if you’re moving in a better direction,”
    McGuinty said. “I changed my mind.”
    When Mike Harris unexpectedly announced in December the planned privatization of the power grid, Dalton McGuinty said he fully supported it, along with deregulation and competition on the generation side. His only concern, he said at the time, was his lack of confidence in the government’s track record on privatizing effectively. However, he was soon crusading against the sale of Hydro One, all the while denying that he’d ever held a different position — until he was confronted with tape of his initial comments late last week.

    “I honestly believed I’d never said that (I was in favour),” McGuinty said. “I didn’t recall at the outset that I’d said what I’d said.” However, the opposition leader said he’d learned a valuable lesson. “You’ve got to be careful about coming to a quick conclusion about a very complicated matter,” he said. “When this story broke, and it broke very quickly, the subject to that point in time had been the privatization of generation. I was called upon to make a very quick decision and I did, and upon reflection it was the wrong decision.

    At least that was during his bid for election.

    Since then there have been many changes to our system. .All costing Ontarians more and more and more money.

    Here is what Dwight Duncan had to say in May 30 , 2005 in the Financial Post
    “ Now is the time to privatize Ontario’s power infrastructure in order to attract the more than $35-billion of investment required to satisfy demand and upgrade 80% of the province’s grid over the next two decades, said Ontario Energy Minister Dwight Duncan.
    “ Hopefully these processes will be streamlined in the future as we need to bring on more power,” Mr. Duncan said. “One of our great advantages in the 20th century was our cheap energy, but over the last 30-40 years we have lost that edge and we’re moving to correct it.” Investors currently think regulations are too cumbersome to apply for a power purchase agreement with the province — which is scaring away investment. Ontario currently needs about 25,000 megawatts of power and can produce up to 30,000 at peak times. In addition, the Ontario government predicts the population will skyrocket by 4-million people by the end of 2031, which will cause an increase in electrical consumption. To meet that demand, along with the billions of dollars needed to maintain the current output, investors from both sides of the Atlantic are knocking on Ontario’s door.”

    But according to the Ontario Power Authority those production numbers are quite different than Dwight Duncans.

    The Ontario Power Authority’s Integrated Power System Plan 2011 a blueprint for Ontario’s electricity system outlines needed investments in conservation, generation and transmission. This report states that we have 36,000 Mega-Watts (MW) of installed capacity now and we have 4,000MW of Inter State and Provincial transfers for a tidy 40,000.
    In our our highest demand summer Ontario required 28-32,000MW. This recent hot spell we tipped the MW scales at less than 22,000. With OPA’s IPSP 101 , they expect we could save about 7,000MW due to conservation and Ontario mayalready be slightly ahead of their prediction.

    What is really going on is the privatization of Ontario’s power generation system.

    The entire plan has been perfectly planned , excellent public relations.
    A very well done…. media manipulation.

    If you buy what McGuinty is selling , and the GEA remains , your rights and your childrens rights will have been taken away for good.
    You will no longer have a say in your own communities. Corporations needs wil trump you everytime.
    This alone should be enough to storm the castle of any elected government and wipe the slate clean.
    In my opinion.

    You will have lost a fundamental freedom…to profit.

    And you will be paying more for power , not because of environmental benefits , because are none ..but for money.
    I don’t think being forced to pay 3 to 15 times more for power is “sustainable”.
    It is for the business.
    But not for me.
    I don’t care who one votes for.
    Just vote knowing the facts , vote not being manipulated with halftruths , misrepresented assertions.
    There is so much money being made selling us power at enormous rates , anyone who can wants in on the action.
    Land lease are paid handsomely , municpalities have financial carrots dangled at them.
    This money is not money that has fallen from the sky.
    Every cent is coming out of your pocket.
    You are the end consumer and you are overpaying.
    And you are forced to do so with the deals the Liberals signed.
    Spin it any direction you want…but that is the bottom line.

    Go on the internet and look for Energy Poverty.

  17. Doris Lane says:

    It is too bad that our story does not get more provincial coverage and show up Dalton for what he is. Power hungry –not electricial power but political power
    When someone takes away the rights of local communities then all the local communities in Ontario should rise up against him. Spending all that money on energy programs that we do not need and are costing the tax payers of Ontario a fortune

  18. Mark R says:

    As are your conspiracy theories. A car just drove down Babylon Road! Must have been up to something sinister!

  19. Chris says:

    “It is just utterly mystifying to me why anyone would choose an area such as this to construct wind turbines. You couldn’t have handpicked an area any better if your objective was to harm, displace or kill migratory birds.”

    Where else, then?

  20. Chris Keen says:

    Mark R. – your sarcasm is truly inane.

  21. Mark says:

    The sky may not be falling however the very serious erosion of local control in regards to land uses in regards to wind turbines is a serious threat to our democratic rights as Ernest has stated.

  22. Mark R says:

    the sky is falling, the sky is falling!

  23. Ernest Horvath says:

    I don’t think entrenching for profit energy that we are forced to pay 3 to 15 times conventional rates is funny at all. Nor is the destruction of rural Ontario.
    You are right , birds aren’t the main issue.

    No politician or political party has a place in Ontario that would take way the voice of the people that live in their communities. Or in a free and democratic society.
    People gave their lives so we could have a democracy. And It’s not a game.

  24. Paul says:

    Seems to me its not the Wind Turbine supporters fixated on Ostrander Point..Laugh OUT Loud.And just to pacify the conspiracy theorists my last name is Cole.

  25. Save your breath, Mark. The turbine supporters are fixated with Ostrander Point as the one and only location that will save the world. So intent are they to get their point across that some writers are even submitting comments under two different names to create the illusion of additional support.

  26. Mark says:

    It is just utterly mystifying to me why anyone would choose an area such as this to construct wind turbines. You couldn’t have handpicked an area any better if your objective was to harm, displace or kill migratory birds. Why is the County’s rich environmental uniqueness being threatened for a few turbines that will never deliver sufficient power for our needs. All that without even touching on the potential human health concerns.

  27. Doris Lane says:

    Lets hope they will place a moritorium on Ostrander Point until a task force can make an assessment.

  28. Chris Keen says:

    On a related note, I find it very interesting that Babylon Road appears to have been resurfaced very recently from County Road 13 ONLY to Ostrander Point Road. Three quarters of the road, where people actually live, was untouched. Our tax dollars hard at work??

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