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Turbines take down turtles in divisional court

Blandings-Turtle600Turbines have toppled turtles in Ontario Divisional Court and Gilead Power has regained its go-ahead to build nine industrial wind turbines on the south shore of Prince Edward County.

The court met for three days in Toronto at the end of January and delivered its 40-page report Thursday, Feb. 20.

“It’s not surprising we are disappointed and need to read the decision carefully before deciding what to do,” said Cheryl Anderson, Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. “We have 30 days to make the decision about whether or not to move forward.”

The PECFN will be consulting with lawyer Eric Gillespie over the weekend.

“The deck is stacked.” Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith said. “Across Ontario we’re talking about small, rural municipalities with small budgets being asked to defend their citizens from the money of major multinational wind developers and the province of Ontario. Even when they win, they’re going to lose because they’ll keep getting dragged into court until the side with the most money wins.”

The Blandings Turtle was hailed the hero last year when a 40-day Environmental Review Tribunal revoked Gilead Power’s renewable energy permit to put nine turbines on Ostrander Point, on the south shore of Prince Edward County. The tribunal ruled the turbines would cause “serious and irreversible harm” to an already threatened species.

Following the ruling, Gilead Power Corporation appealed the decision, then the Ministry of Environment also appealed the decision of its own Tribunal to challenge the small volunteer group Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, another small volunteer association, also appealed the tribunal’s decision dismissing the claim that turbines would cause serious harm to human health.

The Ministry of Environment argued the tribunal lacked supporting evidence to support the decision on harm to turtles. Gilead lawyers argued the Tribunal erred in its conclusions about turtle numbers, deaths and on proposed traffic levels. The field naturalists said the tribunal did not go far enough and that the wind project will also likely harm birds and the special alvar ecosystem in the area.

The court document states the parties may make written submissions on costs – Ostrander and the Director within 20 days and PECFN and the APPEC within 10 days thereafter.

“This is a project on Crown Land, ” said Smith. “The government can pull the plug on it whenever they want. I can’t believe that they would use taxpayer dollars to fight the people of Prince Edward County in court after their democratically elected municipal representatives have passed multiple resolutions saying they oppose the project.” Smith added. “When Kathleen Wynne came to Quinte a few months ago and said she was going to listen to local voices on these projects, what she forgot to tell the people of Prince Edward County was that she was only going to listen to their voices if they said what she wanted to hear.”

The case was unique in Ontario as it questioned Renewable Energy Act regulations, their interpretation by the ERT and the intent of legislation which removes the right of development determination from local municipalities.

Gilead had requested that court costs be assessed against PECFN. The website states the naturalists have raised $134,839 of $220,000 needed to pay for the appeal fund.

The 40-page court document here:


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  1. Olmanonthemtn says:

    Wolf how is this for “Shameful”?
    “In January 2013, Lisa Thompson (MPP Huron Bruce) released FOI documents that proved environmental officers in the Guelph office had determined that there are health effects caused by industrial wind turbines, but the Liberal government directed them to “stand down.” Also these documents showed that the Chief Medical Officer of Health was directed to use the term “direct” when referring to the health effects of wind turbines, because there are “indirect” links. “

  2. IM Messenger says:

    it’s more than shameful it’s CRIMINAL. I’d guess more than logging going on there . . .

  3. Wolf Braun says:

    Everyone here should read the article in today’s Toronto Star “Algonquin cottagers tough on park, says study” written by Sandro Contenta. It’s on page A8. You can probably find it online.

    Cottagers within Algonquin park have been denied renewal of their leases based on a new study by the Ministry of the Environment which indicates that the cottagers are putting fish habitats and water quality at risk. The article quotes that there are 326 cottages within the park on some 22 lakes. That seems odd that the MOE has a study on the impact of cottages in Algonquine but allows the wind corporations to supply them with studies. Imagine if their study is compared to IWT at Ostrander and the damage they can do.

    The article also mentions that the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society sees this latest government study as another reason to get rid of the cottages in Algonquin. The article also quotes that under the Provincial Park Management Plan and Forest Management Plan, 55% of the park is available or open to logging.

    So all of the above begs the question… what is the PURPOSE – reason for being of the Ministry of the Environment and what PRINCIPLES does it follow to carry out its purpose? Seems to me it’s reason for being is to bend to the wishes of logging companies and wind corporations and NOT to what the people want. Shameful !

  4. Gary Mooney says:

    To Chris Pengelly, load limits on roads, including municipal roads, are prescribed by provincial legislation / regulation and cannot be overridden by the municipality. Nice try though.

  5. IM Messenger says:

    With reference to some comments:

    As far as County Council dithering on this issue. They will be sued. They really can’t do much in the face of the REA. However, within their boundaries, as some other municipalities (Wainfleet,etc.) who recently put forward to council, they see it as things can be done but at a cost of going to court.

    The REA removes all obstacles for reaping renewable energy. The Hydo Authority would just go in an expropriate lands, acres, roads, etc. wherever they wanted and the Gov’t would allow, similar to constructing a dam in an area.

    Don’t you all get it?
    The Gov’t is owned and controlled by corporations and the corporations are owned by the wealthy 5,000 ppl worldwide which filters to the top with about 500 and then to the richest, wealthiest magnates, 5 Dynasties from generations ago (ei: Rockerfellows, Rothchilds) Follow the money up the pyramid; this is where it takes you. That is the plan – to bankrupt countries into paying, and paying, losing control of their self-governing by borrowing from the world bank. And who owns that? where they print up money whenever they want. Take a guess.

    The courts are the place to fight, but with the laws being changed and manipulated by the party in power it begs the question.

    The legal battle cost money for us all. The tangle of tentacles by corporations are many and multifaceted. That’s the wide-eyed shocker for the vulnerable. And it’s not going to stop.

  6. Doris Lane says:

    I saw one of the turbine trucks on Wolfe Island. it is a big 16 wheeler with two traveller type things behind it.
    Yes thy will destroy the roads and have to widen them in some places. The gravel trucks are heavy, dirty and noisy
    and then there are the cement mixer trucks, not just one they take to a new construction sight but maybe a hundred.
    Didn’t we always want all that cement placed on an important alvar and yes they will disturb the
    water table and send pollution into the lake from the digging operation and all the things that are brought by trucks. It will be a total mess–remember the land slants toward the lake. WHAT A MESS THEY WILL MAKE!!!!

  7. Olmanonthemtn says:

    Unfortunately they have another alternative they used Air cranes to assemble turbines on Grouse Mountain B.C.

    from the newsletter wind power engineering sept. 2010

    ‘New roads leading to wind-turbines sites are one of the biggest cost items for wind-farm owners. Tower sections and long turbine blades, more than 120 ft in some cases, require large-radii turns in roads so trucks carrying the huge parts can make the journey. But the real estate is not always available. Pilots on the construction staff at Erickson Air-Crane Inc., say a less expensive alternative is to air lift turbine components to the site, 20,000 lb at a time. “Then the only roads needed are for much smaller and lighter crew trucks,” says Martin Cude, construction sales manager with Erickson. “The savings can easily amount to millions.”

  8. Mark says:

    Dayton, you make a very good point on our ability to have control on roads. Also our roads as everyone is aware are in bad shape. This scheme will be very hard on them and I suspect at our cost.

  9. Chris Pengelly says:

    Why doesn’t council simply inact new road weight limits on all County roads. That would stop the wind developers from ever bringing turbines to the County. They must be municipal roads!

  10. Dayton Johnson says:

    Hey Doris, I guess anything is possible if you want to spend the money. Presently landing at Pt. Traverse would be impossible unless a major dredging was undertaken. That combined with the fact they would be walking on holy ground of the Wildlife sanctuary. This whole undertaking would be just to get the towers, blades etc ashore.Think about all the ready mix cement trucks,steel re-rod, gravel loads that will pass over our County roads. Oh yes there will be blasting and water diversion as the excavated bases will be below Lake Ont. level.

  11. Dayton Johnson says:

    Further to my “To Steve” rant…If County council was to grow a pair and step up and say to the turbine company No,we do not want our roads, corners and bridges altered”,,what would be the outcome? Who does own the County roads involved? We know what percentage of Council members don’t want the turbines placed here,,Why won’t they now put some kind of vote forward with some legal teeth in it and enforce it? We are being steamrolled.Council,,,stop picking your nose and show us what you can do.

  12. Mark says:

    Well the province is practically bankrupt as interest costs on the mammoth debt is approximately $400 a second. I suspect the costs to break contracts to foreign companies is enormous. Why you would put taxpayers who are suffering with the loss of manufacturing jobs in this ridiculous situation is beyond me. Why you would cripple your constituents further especially when we do not need the unreliable wind power makes one wonder. There has to be a reason why one would do this and the first thing that comes to mind is $$$$! Someday we will know.

  13. Doris Lane says:

    Dayton maybe they will bring them in to the government dock at Prince Edward Point unless we can get the federal government to say they can’t

  14. Susan says:

    County Steve said, “We’re mad as hell, and we’re not gonna take it anymore.”

    Well, many County residents are pleased as punch and look forward to wind turbines joining the solar installations so PEC can produce more sustainable energy.

    We can only hope that this fighting stops and the County folks can all be friends again.

  15. Jim McMillan says:

    A naive question.
    Is it possible to revoke an ill conceived Govt. Action e.g. The Green Energy act.
    If it is possible what would be the financial and political cost of such an action, in paricular revoking the GEA.
    I suspect it might bankrupt the province and the party that pulled the plug would suffer severely at the polls for a long time.

    Another naive question

    How do we overcome the I’m alright Jack attitude of people who don’t live near industrial wind terminals.
    I met such a person at a Jimmy Bowskill show the other night.
    He was from London Ontario and suggested we County folk were whiners.
    I said that maybe he should contact the Liberals and say they could put a bunch of 400 foot industrial wind terminals where he lives.
    Light seemed to go on.

    I would still like to know the names of the elected people who decided to inflict Industrial Wind Terminals on rural Ontario. No sinister intentions. I suspect they were ill informed ( under researched ) and under the thrall of a masquerading dictator and his minions . We should know who they are and how they arrived at their decision.

  16. Dayton Johnson says:

    To Steve….regarding bringing the turbines in by water…I doubt it unless some kind of amphibious carrier would be used BUT who would have thought they could bring 80+ turbines by ferry to Wolfe Island!
    There is a limestone ledge shelf that runs from Ostrander Pt. road west to Petticoat Pt.This shelf extends out in the Lake approx. 1/8 mile in places. Great for swimming! In the fall season of low Lake levels you would be lucky to launch a 16ft. fishing boat without lifting the motor and rowing to deeper water. A marine map should indicate the depths along this shoreline.That leaves our horse and buggy roads to suffer the damage. Both access roads to Gileod (Duetta and Babylon) have narrow bridges that should be assessed for weight limits before this tonnage crosses over them. I guess that would fall to our competent roads dept.
    I am frustrated with our County Councils dithering and diddling throughout this entire mess but that’s politics I guess….don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
    Gileod will promise new bridges and road improvements and County will roll over and beg to be scratched.

  17. Mark says:

    Interesting reference to naive and ill-informed. The CSG called County folk that early into this scheme.

  18. Olmanonthemtn says:

    “I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe . . . Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing. Make them intelligent, and they will be vigilant; give them the means of detecting the wrong, and they will apply the remedy.”
    ― Daniel Webster
    It seems history repeats itself it is time for “We the People” to collaborate and focus our intelligence, experience, skills and energy to challenge opaque irresponsible governance.
    The following are a few basic strategies that could be employed and I am sure amongst us there will be many more to deal with this democratic deficit. Encumber the government using its own laws, policies and regulatory bodies,ombudsman and courts. Publicly demand answers to questions which show to the government we are not ill-informed and naive. Challenge political parties as to how they intend to address our concerns in their platforms and hold them to account when they stray. Use the media, artistry and public demonstration and petitions to expose, challenge, deride and satirize government incompetence and unethical behaviour as well as offer support and recognition for sound,principled and RESPONSIBLE governance.

  19. IM Messenger says:

    This Turbine fiasco is just the tip of the iceberg regarding what control the Gov’t and their riot squads have over it’s people. Want to know who is really running the governments and the money in the world? This is an eye opener.

    Watch for free the movie/documentary “Thrive” created & researched Foster Gamble

    You might want to skip the first 15-20 mins. and then it gets into the real domination of the world > a new world order. Follow the money. How > by controlling 1. the money 2. food (agriculture, seeds, GMO) 3. health 4. education 5. environment 6. and soon the internet and social media. They are almost there in creating their new world order.

    Or youtube Foster Gamble

    Talk about the tail wagging the turtle.

  20. County Steve says:

    For me, this felt like “the day the music died”. I honestly thought we would lose the Tribunal, and we won. I thought we would win the appeal, and we lost.
    On the legal discussion: Someone once remarked that there is no such thing as a Justice System in Canada. There is a legal system and, if it works properly, justice is served. We have seen in many court cases that this does not necessarily hold true, or at least that the legal system sometimes forgets it is in place to serve justice, not find loopholes for criminals to escape into. By the same token, a series of governments have lost track of their own job descriptions, until we hit the dictatorial McGuinty regime, which is breaking the balls of all rural Ontarians, and turning the word ‘democracy’ into a quaint phrase, soon to be forgotten.
    As someone said: We need to gear up for a new fight, with feet on the ground. Doris has a good idea with imposed weight limits in the fragile south end, and the noise bylaw proposal may grow some legs. I suspect that the turbines will arrive by water … after checking the number of wild turns en route to Ostrander. I saw one blade on a transport truck on 401 headed somewhere, with safety vehicles and flashing lights all around it. A chilling sight.
    Winning in court is one thing but, before the hearty back-slapping starts, the government, Gilead and wpd had better consider the consequences of screwing with County people. We’re mad as hell, and we’re not gonna take it anymore.

  21. Doris Lane says:

    Yes Gary I did leave out the word NOT
    ” I was NOT allowed to have any political affiliation as long as Bill was an active Justice and of course he was not allowed anywhere near a political party.

    Your last sentence is true “After appointment judges have tenure(cannot be terminated by the government prior to any specified retirement date. This is the major reason why judges can be and are independent”

    The reason I made this post was because there was some comment about the judges being governed by the party in power–not so

  22. Gary Mooney says:

    Doris, thanks for providing some insight into the independence of judges in Ontario. (By the way did you leave out the work “not” in front of “allowed” in the 10th line of your 05:09 post?)

    As I understand it, after appointment, judges have tenure (cannot be terminated by the government) prior to any specified retirement date. This is the major reason why judges can be, and are, independent.

  23. Olmanonthemtn says:

    Back to the Future – Its irresponsible Government Again

    Gosh its Muddy York (aka downtown T.O.) and the 1830’s again, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada Sir Francis Bondhead or was that his excellency Mr. McG. is ruling by edict the presumed dullards hiding in the Upper Canada wildwoods (aka the rest of Ontario) since they don’t know what’s good for them. Their supposed dullness allowed him to break his own proclamations for their benefit and his convenience. His excellency ruled with the support of the pandering sychophants of the patrician Family Compact (no resemblance to the liberal cabinet home to his successor). “Let them eat cake!!!” he proclaims which in modern parlance translates to: “Let them break wind!!!” (pardon the mixed analogy). Monsieur Papineau, Mr. MacKenzie and Lord Elgin where are you?

  24. David Norman says:

    Jim McMillan, you ask “Does anyone have an accurate list of all these politicians that’s made this decision?”. I do indeed have a list of most, with a great deal of supporting public commentary. You might be surprised to learn that two very “financially” powerful and politically connected (pro Industrial Wind Turbine development) individuals own property and claim to live (at least occasionally) in PEC. I have in the past mentioned one, by given name, in my commentary, although they have not inserted themselves personally in this debate. They seem content to allow the likes of “Ron Hart” of “Ecocide” infamy and his County Sustainability group ilk to provide the “front lines”, with their consultation. It’s kinda like how the medieval English aristocracy used to send their Irish conscripts into battle first to assess the possible casualties, except in this case it is interestingly, a descendant Irish retribution.

  25. David Norman says:

    Ron Hart, your comment “Citing “a complete absence of evidence” to support the claim that Blandings turtles were at risk, the court gave the go-ahead to this renewable energy project.” is correct, however, only in the heuristic narrative context in which it was presented. You are indeed a “humanist” and represent a very typical Sierra Club narrative meme. It is after all, all about your ideology, your imperative superseding all others, including all of the many other sentient beings with who we share life. It’s not at all surprising that human cultural based law would discount and permit this on the basis of “absence of evidence” rather than requiring, perhaps demanding, a demonstration of scientific fact.

  26. Doris Lane says:

    Yes Mark they are appointed by a government but they are not allowed to have any affiliation with politics. I was associated with a political party and I was called the day after Bill was appointed and was TOLD to cease my political association. Bill was not allowed to vote when he first was appointed . In later years they changed that rule. He was not only not allowed to vote but told to resign from Kiwanis and Masonic lodge and not to have any association with members of the bar.
    In essence it was dictated to him to cease most social association. We were allowed to go to parties with other judges . So Mark you see there are very strict rules governing the lives of judicial appointments. judges in the States are elected and they are dependant on their political parties for re-election. \our judges are appointed for life and never need to have political affiliation again.
    Please excuse this rather personal post but I was a part of this system for many years and I was allowed to be politically active until Bill retired and we came back to the County. In retrospect maybe that was a good thing as I have always been a Liberal and although I am a federal member, I have ceased my membership in the provincial Liberals and will vote for Todd Smith in the next election. I have been associated with many members of governments during my lifetime and I find Todd one of the better people that I have encountered.
    Let us not blame this decision about Gilead on the justice system they called it as they saw it. For whatever reasons a more thorough read of the judgement is necessary.
    The blame for the whole mess stands firmly on the shoulders of the McGinty government and his desire to make Ontario GREEN but this was done with great GREED on the part of those who were to gain by this.
    It is truly a sad day for PEC, a place which prides itself on being a nature area. This Gilead decision gives the Green Light to WPD which is a total disaster.

  27. Mark says:

    Yes Doris that is the way law and justice is supposed to work. But to believe they are totally uninfluenced or independent from Government is naive. How do you think they got to hold those positions? They are not elected like in the States, they are appointed. And by whom?

  28. Doris Lane says:

    The Judicial system is independent of the government. They may be appointed when a certain government is in power but they have absolutely no ties to any government.
    They are an independent body and make their decisions based on the law and the precedents that have come before the courts in the past
    The legal system is not to blame here, the government is at fault for ever allowing Crown property to fall into the hands of a developer
    Don’t you like the way Mcginty has escaped to the US
    Todd smith challenged McGinty one day and he resigned the next.
    I guess the only thing we can do now is block the trucks from entering the county. We certainly do not want those huge things on our roads, Ithink our roads should have a year around limit on the weight of any trucks using them

  29. Mark says:

    I am not with confidence that the government has not interfered or influenced the judicial system.

    I do most certainly agree with Wolf’s proposal of a Rural Coalition.

  30. Jim McMillan says:

    Somewhere in the past a number of politicians must have listened to proposals from a variety of people who wanted to turn Wolfe Island, Amherst Island and Prince Edward County into massive electricity production areas using the largest industrial wind terminals they could find.
    They decided without consulting the affected citizens to bulldoze any opposition and procede.
    Does anyone have an accurate list of all these politicians that’s made this decision?
    Who are these people that live among us here in Ontario.
    We deserve to know.

  31. Ron Hart says:

    Citing “a complete absence of evidence” to support the claim that Blandings turtles were at risk, the court gave the go-ahead to this renewable energy project.

  32. Doris Lane says:

    Quickly looked at the judgement
    It seems that the harm done by the DND is similar to the harm that will be done by the IWT’s
    There is no comparison between what the DND did years ago and what Gilead will do when they destroy Ostrander Point with the IWT’s
    MOE should be ashamed of themselves, They used our money to fight against us
    As Jim said do we like living in a dictatorship . We have since the GEA came into being.

  33. Wolf Braun says:

    LOL…. the problem is that the next act is just a different circus ! 🙂

  34. Argyle says:

    Kathleen Wynne government , one word, dysfunctional. Time to vote the circus out of power. The taxpayer deserves an election before the government bankrupts this province.

  35. Wolf Braun says:

    So the Liberal government is spending scarce tax dollars to help the Ministry of the Environment support Corporations. Supporting corporations versus what people want is not in keeping with the MOE’s PURPOSE, nor that of the government. This government and others DO NOT work for all peoples.

    Premier Wynn is as tone deaf as she is dumb, if she thinks forcing people outside of Toronto to be trampled on. Wind farms will pretty much drive the final stake in any economic activity for PEC. If she thinks that rural Ontarions should pay higher taxes to pay for metro Toronto is good politics she’s crazy too.

    What we need is to organize a Rural Ontario Coalition whose PURPOSE is to protect and work for the people living outside of hog town. Let’s demand that our Council and Mayor sign on to the Warren Howard coalition.

    Wynn believes she can write off one seat in the next election. We need to show her she’s wrong.

  36. Jim Wiegand says:

    The court may have met for three days but they were probably playing Texas holdem. Sad but this is all rigged from the top and the top is also in control of the snake pit. You could raise millions and they would still find ways to burn it all up with no resolutions. The good folks of Ontario should be thinking of other ways to deal with the turbine invasion.

  37. BH says:

    In response to John.

    Not sure how mother nature fills the void for species that are endangered. If entropy was on nature’s side, then we would have no animal extinctions.

    As for proving an argument, the argument that should have been proved was by the developers, that industrial construction will not cause harm.

    Elsewhere in the world this is the case:

    Prudence would allow wind turbines to be built, but not on environmentally sensitive areas and at least 1.5km away from people’s homes.

    That would be justice. It would defend against the possibility of global warming.

    Instead we have a divided society where the law prevails, but cannot provide justice.

  38. Jim McMillan says:

    How do you like living in a dictatorship?

  39. KJB says:


  40. John says:

    The science was, ironically, never on the side of PeCFN. A basic rule of rule of physics it will move to a higher degree of entropy. The equivalent in nature is mother nature will move to fill a void. The Tribunal understood this with respect to the alvar, birds etc. but failed to apply the same logic to the turtles.

    The other important things that came out of this is in our law you still have to prove your point and the upholding of presumed innocence. PECFN didn’t prove their point. Further it is impossible to prove innocence – which is why people are found to be not proved guilty. PECFN’s argument was an attempt to force Gilliad to prove innocence and it failed as it should have.

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