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White Pines lawsuit withdrawn

A $14 million lawsuit launched last August by 20-plus County families against wpd Canada and 46 participating landowners in Prince Edward County  (Ivak vs wpd) has been withdrawn.

The claim included $14 million for “negligence, nuisance, trespass and strict liability” and another $3 million for “punitive, exemplary and aggravated and mental distress damages.”

In July, a claim involving wpd’s Fairview Wind Project (Wiggins vs wpd) was dismissed by the court and the plaintiffs were ordered to pay costs to wpd and the participating landowners.

“The claims made in the White Pines lawsuit are essentially the same as those made in the Fairview case,” said Ian MacRae, President of wpd Canada. “As we did in the Fairview case, we were prepared to ask the court for summary judgment, and a hearing was scheduled for September.”

As with the Fairview case, wpd and participating landowners were requesting the court dismiss the plaintiffs’ case, on the basis that they could not establish a legal basis for their claims.

“Our argument at the pre-trial hearing would have been that there is no reason to take up the court’s time and incur additional costs with a trial, as there was no merit in the plaintiffs’ claims,” added MacRae. “The plaintiffs’ decision to withdraw their claims achieves the same result.”

In the Fairviewcase, landowners who tried to sue upd and a farm corporation that signed lease agreements for turbines were ordered to pay $107,370 in costs. Their $16 million lawsuit was dismissed in Ontario Superior Court in late April.

Madam Justice S.E. Healey dismissed their claim of devaluing their land and cuasing a loss of use and enjoyment on land just west of Stayner, near Collingwood. She noted the eight-turbine project had not yet received environmental approval and that the plaintiffs were unable to prove that the project will built.

“The most significant finding made this court was that the plaintiffs’ claims should not have been made prior to the known outcome of the regulatory process,” Justice Healey wrote. She also stated the claims were dismissed without prejudice to future claims once the regulatory process has run its course.

The Renewable Energy Approval (REA) application for the White Pines project was submitted to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) in September, 2012. Once the application is deemed complete, it will be posted to the EBR Registry.

“wpd will provide notice to residents that comments can be made to the MOE via the EBR posting,” said Kevin Surette, of wpd. “wpd will continue to respond to questions and concerns brought forward by the public, and provide notice to residents of project milestones.”

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  1. Andy R. says:

    Doris,
    Thanks for clarifying.

    The whole wind turbine thing is so complicated.
    So many groups across Ontario trying to stop what they feel is bad government policy.

    It is a very difficult battle. Financial support is spread thin as is the human energy to fight the government’s with its all its wealth. This wealth comes from the Ontario taxpayer.

    Companies are paying for their fight from the future profits that are and will be paid for by the electricity user of Ontario.

    It is difficult for me to see that our elected officials are working for the common good.Instead the government is encouraging the destruction of nature, does not care about the health of those within 1.5 km of any wind turbine and spends billions of dollars to produce expensive energy that will lower our standard of living.

    Electricity bills will continue to increase causing hardship for all households and make industry less competitive.

    This is all happening in a province where we have enough energy and the energy we are producing is mostly green.

  2. Doris Lane says:

    I meant to say ‘death warrant”The $20,000 went to the Field Naturalists to help defray their cost of the ERT
    when they were fighting against the MOE, who are in favour of destroying our natural environent.
    The MOE is paid for by us to protect us but instead they have sided with BIG OIL and BIG business to help destroy the habitat of our County and it is costing the Field Naturalists a lot of money to fght agsinst someone who should be protecting us.
    The WPD case is where citizens of SM are trying to protect their property against IWT’s but since the decision in the Fairview case the SM residents feel that they too would get judgement against them and the court costs are too high for a group of citizens to shoulder that cost
    The province should be protecting the people of Ontario and not putting them in a poition to fight for something that should never be.
    The council was just showing support for PECFN who have wored so hard and council had signed a petion making PEC “an unwilling host”
    E & OE.

  3. Paul says:

    Ironically some of that $20k was likely some of those landowners tax dollars paid to the County…

  4. Paul says:

    Is this the group that got a $20k handout from the Town Council not long ago ?????

  5. Marnie says:

    They call it a typo Judy.

  6. judy kennedy says:

    “the deaf warrant”??

  7. Doris Lane says:

    Donna the harassed landowners–who are they? a few landowners does not a community make–they are the ones who are going to benefit from the turbines , the rest of the township has to suffer , Maybe the people who signed the contract with wpd may be sorry before this whole thing is over with. They are the people who will sign the deaf warrant for so many in SM

  8. Chris Keen says:

    Here’s more “good news”.

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/10/08/auditor-general-report-puts-cost-of-liberal-gas-plant-cancellations-as-high-as-1-1-billion/

    “Ontario’s auditor general says the cost of the Liberals’ decision to cancel a planned gas plant in Oakville will be at least $675 million, far above the $40 million the government originally claimed.

    Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk also warns the cost could rise another $140 million for gas deliveries to the new site of the generating station near Kingston.

    Lysyk also says the cost of killing the Oakville project is “significantly more than may have been necessary” because of a number of what she calls “questionable decisions” by the premier’s office.

    The auditor’s report puts the total cost of scrapping the Oakville gas plant and another in neighbouring Mississauga at a minimum of $950 million, and it could reach almost $1.1 billion.”

    Source: National Post

  9. Chris Keen says:

    @Donna – this is hardly “wonderful news” for any party. The Courts have ruled that harm, and thus damages, cannot be assessed until a turbine(s) is constructed. If wpd ever gets its project off the ground they and the landowners can be sued.

    There is also a Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge against the whole Renewable Energy Approval process being unconstitutional which, if successful, will have far-ranging implications.

    Nothing has been settled.

  10. Donna says:

    What wonderful news for the harassed landowners!

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