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Ostrander Point ERT resumes with Nature Canada and Old Bird Inc

By Cheryl Anderson
A capacity crowd filled Bloomfield Town Hall Tuesday evening to hear local naturalist Terry Sprague talk about Frontenac Provincial Park, north of Kingston as part of a fundraiser supporting the Prince Edward County Field Naturalist’s participation in the Ostrander Point Environmental Review Tribunal.

The evening raised more than $1,200 for the Ostrander Point Appeal Fund.  Sprague’s emotional plea for preservation of Ostrander Point generated vigorous applause from the audience.  The crowd broke into more applause hearing from Myrna Wood, president of Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, that no construction will take place at Ostrander Point until the appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) is complete.

The highlight of the ERT Tuesday, March 26 was testimony from expert witness David Okines, Bander-in-Charge at Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory.
Issues of bird numbers, accuracy of radar and areas of stop over used for birds on migration were described and defended by Okines during his presentation and cross examination.  Important to his testimony was the increase in numbers of passerine migrants in the fall due to breeding bird success in the Boreal forest.  It was clear from his testimony that irreversible harm to migrating birds will result from development of Ostrander Point.

On Wednesday, March 27 road ecologist Kari Gunson testified.   Gunson draws on extensive experience and education on the effect of roads on wildlife.  Female Blanding’s Turtles seek out road-like situations for nesting.  The proposed turbine access roads at Ostrander Point along with increased traffic on Babylon and Helmer Roads will result in the area becoming a killing field for endangered Blanding’s Turtles.  The alvar rock of the site does not allow for culverts which, in Gunson’s opinion, the turtles would not use anyway.  Similarly, fencing would be ineffective.  She maintained Blanding’s Turtle populations would suffer irreversible harm from development of Ostrander Point.

Video link technology was used on Thursday, March 28 to hear evidence from Martin Scott, from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Scott is an ecology consultant specializing in renewable energy and development.   He testified that the Ostrander Point proposal does not comply with good practice and that it will lead to irreversible harm to migrating birds and the environment of the South Shore Important Bird Area.

The hearing resumes on Wednesday, April 3 at 9:30 am in Sophiasburgh Town Hall.  Dr. Fred Beaudry begins the week with Ted Cheskey from Nature Canada and Bill Evans from Old Bird Inc. following on Thursday and Friday, respectively.  The public is invited to attend all sessions of the hearing.

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  1. Chris Keen says:

    “The Ostrander wind project could have, by far, the highest bird mortality per megawatt in North America,” he said. “I base this on the fact that if the nearby Wolfe Island project’s 2010 fatality data is corrected for estimated fatalities out of 80 metres, it would have 8.9 bird fatalities per megawatt, which … is the highest bird fatality in North America for any wind farm with more than three turbines. I pointed out to the tribunal that Wolfe Island, while it has notable concentration of birds, does not have the large concentrations of migratory land birds caused by the funnelling dynamics of the (Prince Edward County) peninsula.”

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