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Preliminary hearing into turbines at Ostrander Point to continue

Despite Friday’s inclement weather, 75 people attended an Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) at Picton Town Hall regarding industrial wind turbine development at Ostrander Point.

Robert Wright presided and lawyers for the parties to the ERT appeal, Ministry of Environment and Gilead Power were also present for this preliminary hearing. It purpose is to determine scheduling for the main hearing, identify parties, participants and presenters, and the scope of their participation; to hear preliminary motions and deal with other administrative issues.

“There was not enough time on Friday for all the issues, due to the complicated nature of the hearing,” said Myna Wood, president of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists.

“Legal wrangling regarding the requirement for Alliance for the Protection of Prince Edward County (APPEC) to produce medical records for their witnesses took most of the afternoon. Because of time constraints, legal counsel for APPEC, Eric Gillespie (also representing Prince Edward County Field Naturalists) was not able to make all his arguments. The legal representatives agreed to meet in the next couple of weeks to hammer out this and other remaining issues. In order to expedite matters, the remainder of the preliminary hearing will be held in Toronto with an open phone link to the County.”

Two County organizations have indicated their intention to be parties to the appeal. Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) are appealing approval of the Ostrander Point project on the basis of serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment. The Alliance for the Protection of Prince Edward County is appealing on the assertion that the project will cause serious harm to human health.

Five individuals had notified the tribunal of their desire to be presenters of evidence. They may be questioned by the tribunal, but may not call, or cross-examine witnesses, or raise issues that have already been tabled by another party. Three of the five intended presenters were absent due to weather. These individuals will have an opportunity to speak to the tribunal before the main hearing – March 4 in Sophiasburgh – to verify their participation.

Two members of the County Sustainability Group, Don Chisholm and Deborah Hudson, were granted permission to present. Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) represented by County resident, Parker Gallant, requested permission to be a participant in the hearing.

Gallant declared that Wind Concerns Ontario was seeking status to support the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists’ appeal.  Wright reserved the decision on his participation in the appeal.

PECFN president, Myrna Wood indicated general satisfaction on the results of the preliminary hearing so far.
“We are delighted with Wind Concerns Ontario’s decision to support us in the appeal,” she said. “We welcome all WCO groups to join us. We expect Ontario Nature and all naturalist and ornithologist organizations to show their outrage at the government’s decision to allow destruction of this critically important habitat and we expect the tribunal to agree that this development must be stopped”.

Filed Under: Local News

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