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PEC Naturalists’ court date set for final appeal to prevent turbines

The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists will be back in court in December in a final appeal to prevent Gilead Power and the Ministry of Environment from putting wind turbines on important natural habitat at Ostrander Point.

The appeal of a Divisional Court Decision is to be heard Dec. 8-9 at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.

PECFN started opposing this plan when it was first announced in 2007,” notes Cheryl Anderson, of the PECFN. “The opposition is based on a strong belief that the South Shore of Prince Edward County is the wrong place for wind turbines.  The area is important to migrating birds, bats and butterflies, it contains Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest, provincially significant wetlands, globally imperilled Alvar habitat and is the home and breeding ground of several avian, reptilian and amphibian species at risk. ”

In spring 2013, PECFN participated in an Environmental Review Tribunal appealing the government’s decision to allow Gilead’s development.  The ERT panellists agreed that the development should not proceed.  The Government and Gilead appealed that decision to the Divisional Court of Ontario.

“That court, unfortunately, agreed with the developer and the Ministry of the Environment,” said Anderson.

PECFN asked for and was granted permission to appeal the Divisional Court ruling to the Appeal Court, the highest Court in Ontario.  In addition, a motion to stay any construction until the matter was resolved was granted by the Court.

“This case effects provincial environmental law.  As Justice Blair, who granted the stay said, ‘the issues raised on the proposed appeal are issues of broad public implication in the field of environmental law’.  In a recent Tribunal decision, Fata vs MOE, the Tribunal declared that it was precluded from finding irreversible harm possible to numerous species of plants and animals if the current state of science cannot determine their population size. “Given that the finding of serious and irreversible harm is a threshold finding under the EPA [Environmental Protection Act], in that the Tribunal may not make any remedial order unless it is met, these species appear to be left without protection…  As the Divisional Court ruling in Ostrander is currently the law in Ontario and is binding on the Tribunal.”

Currently PECFN and supporting organizations are in negotiations about allowing intervenors in the Court of Appeal case.  The South Shore Conservancy intervened in support of PECFN at the Divisional Court and will ask permission to do so again at the Court of Appeal.

“Mainstream environmental organizations such as the David Suzuki Foundation and the American Audubon Society agree that wind turbines are not a “green” option if they destroy significant wildlife habitat,” said Anderson. “We continue to make that argument with others who are considering intervenor status at the Court of Appeal.    The Canadian Wind Energy Association, lobbyist for wind corporations and investors, intervened on behalf of Gilead at the Divisional Court and will do so again at the Court of Appeal.”

Funds are still being raised by PECFN to pay legal bills. Visit www.saveostranderpoint.org for more.

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  1. Paul says:

    I think Mr Richman has some valid points whether it be crown land or a willing wind mill hosts land. Gull Pond used to be a beautiful area now its all mud holes and ruts. Why not fight to protect all plant life and wild life along the entire south shore. Its sounding more and more like a select bunch trying to protect their property values not all by the way..

  2. Richard Mann says:

    What nobody wants to hear. Bad news about Wind Turbines.

    Wind Turbines in Ontario, Canada.

    1. Health impacts of Wind Turbines. Invited talk at University of Waterloo,
    new DOT livestream DOT com/itmsstudio/events/2968290.

    2. Ineffectiveness of Wind turbines at reducing C02:
    ospe DOT on DOT ca/?page=adv_pub
    Go to report 2012, “Wind and the Electrical Grid”. Lots of other stuff there.
    OSPE is “Ontario Society of Professional Engineers”, those responsible for Generation, Distribution and Billing of Energy in Ontario. They are also the ones building Wind turbines…

    3. Economic failure of Wind Turbines:
    atguelph DOT uoguelph DOT ca/2013/06/prof-questions-benefits-of-wind-turbines/

  3. Myrna Wood says:

    Thanks for the helpful responses to R.Richman who thinks we have the power to control activities on Crown land! PECFN has been working since 1999 to conserve the South Shore Important Bird Area. We are against all development that would destroy wildlife habitat there. Perhaps everyone who feels so strongly will write the MOE on behalf of the South Shore.

  4. Gary says:

    Good points Jack. And where is the MOE and their sworn promise to protect the creatures, land and vegetation? I am not a fan of ATV’s in any area where wildlife flourishes. They have allowed lazy people or people who do not respect our environment to go places they would never venture on foot.

  5. Jack Dall says:

    The Enviromental Review Tribunal found defending the turtle,s habitat was valid and correct. This position is not an excuse in any shape or form.
    The area around Gull pond unfortunately is under MOE jurisdiction . MOE have demonstrated that pressures from outside political pressures weigh heavy on their decisions.
    They have designated this area acceptable for ATV traffic and despite objections from many groups is allowed to this day.
    Perhaps with a favorable from the Divsional Court of appeal will give them cause and reconsider the designation.
    All property,s east of that along the south shore are privately owned other then the new Miller Nature Reserve and I assure you are not used as a playground for the type of activities that you say are taking place.

  6. R.Richman says:

    Can any one tell me why this group of people are spending all kinds of money to stop wind mills using the excuse turtles my die when down the road at Gull Pond and other spots along this marshy shoreline hundreds of ATV and 4×4 trucks from all over eastern Ont. run amud destroying marsh land, killing turles and other creatures and this group say nothing. They do not care about the turtles, they just do not like winds and it is about time they walk the walk.

  7. Mark says:

    The fact that our own tax dollars are being used to oppose the PECFN is offensive. The fact that the MOE can fight to harm and destroy creatures they are sworn to protect is just plain wrong. It’s a very strange world we now live in!

  8. Jim Wiegand says:

    Get me the names of the people and firms presenting testimony on behalf of Gilead Power for this case. Odds are I can severely discredit or expose fraudulent studies submitted by the industry experts in the past. The Ministry of Environment can be easily discredited which I can explain later.

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