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MOE, Premier won’t meet mayor; Turbine appeals launched

UPDATE AUG 4: Four appeals have been filed over the Ministry of Environment’s approval of 27 of 29 turbines with the wpd Canada project.

The Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) July 29 received an appeal of a its Renewable Energy Approval from John Hirsch, a businessman and Quinte Conservation board member.  On July 31, the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) filed, as did wpd Canada, the company looking to build the industrial wind turbines.

The only basis for an appeal is that the project “will cause serious harm to human health, or serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment”.

Gord Gibbins, chair, said APPEC is well prepared to launch the two appeals – human health and environmental grounds.

“We have been actively critiquing the project since 2010 when it was issued a FIT contract. We are motivated and we are ready with a legal team and expert witnesses.”

He noted in a letter to members that the board will be seeking financial support and time commitments in the weeks to come.

wpd is appealing the decision to remove two turbines from the project, said Kevin Surette, communications manager. “The rationale for removing the turbines is not clear through the REA approval, so we’re using the ERT process to seek clarification,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists continue their bid keep turbines out of Ostrander Point.

Their ERT hearing is set to resume in Demorestville Sept. 2-4. That hearing is a result of the Appeal Court of Ontario directing the ERT to deal with the issue of remedy to destruction of habitat from the access roads and turbines involved with Gilead Power company’s nine turbine project.

PECFN will support the new appeals with sharing of information but is still in arrears to its own legal team. Its next fundraiser is a Riverwalk at Mill Falls B&B Sept. 5. Visit www.saveostranderpoint.org for details.

 

UPDATE JULY 31 – Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment, thanked Mayor Robert Quaiff for his letter and noted he hoped the mayor “took the opportunity to file an appeal, as is your right.” His letter was written July 31 – the final day to request an appeal.

Quaiff wrote the minister and Premier Wynne on July 23, pleading action for a moratorium and calling on them “to truly hear our concerns – and discuss them with us. We are incredibly distraught over this decision and its devastating impact on our community.”

“No meeting, no phone call,” said Quaiff. “Interesting to note that he says ‘I hope you take the opportunity to file an appeal’.”

Murray’s letter stated “I cannot take meetings with concerned parties during the appeal process.”

Murray reminded Quaiff the government “made important changes… to ensure municipalities are engaged early in the project planning stage to identify appropriate locations and siting requirements for future large renewable energy projects” – admitting they do not apply to existing projects like White Pines.

He also stated he was aware the ministry received comments under the Environmental Bill of Rights (ERB) from Prince Edward County and local citizens relating to impacts on cultural heritage, tourism, visual landscape, property value, human health and the natural environment.

“As a result of the comments raised,” Murray wrote, “the CMOECC required the applicant to remove two of the turbines to reduce the impacts on cultural heritage. The MOECC also included conditions relating to Blanding’s Turtles, birds and bats, that were developed based on the information provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and their review of the Species at Risk report, Environmental Effects Monitoring Plan and Natural Heritage Assessment Report for the Project.”

He stated “Climate change is the most critical issue of our time. The move to renewable greenhouse-gas (GHG)-free energy sources is critical and the time we have to achieve our GHG pollution targets is short.

Murray ended his letter noting he appreciated the mayor’s concerns and invited him to “discuss the policy choices we have, given the great challenges we face” at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario Annual General Meeting in August.

* * *

JULY 30 – Mayor Robert Quaiff has been notified there is little chance of having a meeting with Premier Wynne regarding industrial turbines in Prince Edward County.

Quaiff wrote the Premier and Minister of the Environment Glen Murray a week ago, pleading action for a moratorium and calling on them “to truly hear our concerns – and discuss them with us. We are incredibly distraught over this decision and its devastating impact on our community.”

“I have just received a phone call from Premier Wynne’s assistant Andrew who says the chance of a meeting in all likelihood will not happen,” said Quaiff.

Quaiff said he was told the process is in the stages where the government will not interfere or become involved in discussing or placing a moratorium on wpd Canada’s project for 27 turbines in South Marysburgh and Athol.

The environment ministry approved the $200 million 20-year project July 16.

“He has said, however, that the premier’s office will expedite a response to my letter quickly. Further he will be in touch directly with Minister Murray’s office to express my concerns regarding the residents’ safety in Prince Edward County if the wind turbines arrive. I will share the response as soon as I receive it.”

Monday, Council voted against taking immediate legal action following a report from the County’s solicitor. The only basis for an appeal is that the project “will cause serious harm to human health, or serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment”. These were the only appeal options open to the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists in their on-going appeal against the nine turbine Gilead Power project on land at Ostrander Point.

wpd hopes to begin construction this fall, or next spring.

Any resident of Ontario may require a hearing by the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) within 15 days after July 16, 2015 by written notice.

Quaiff’s July 23 letter to Premier Wynne

Quaiff was interviewed on CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning program, Wednesday, July 29, about wind turbines in Prince Edward County and the need to meet with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Environment Minister Glen Murray.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Mark says:

    The Wind Companies are in bed with the government. The ERT ruling on Gilead was a one off. I expect they will find a way to correct it and allow mitigation. When governments pass legislation to allow the harm and destruction of the environment and wildlife it is pretty obvious what is going on. The MOE is a joke pretending they truly represent what is best for the environment.

  2. Chris Keen says:

    According to “Qunite News”, wpd has also filed an appeal of the MOE’s White Pines decision. They want to be able to build all 29 of the IWTs ; they are appealing the MOE’s exclusion of two turbines.

    No surprise, of course, had they not appealed, wpd would be tacitly acknowledging there are actually issues with these things. It will be interesting to see if the MOE’s lawyers will be in lockstep with wpd’s as they were with Gilead’s – wisely spending our tax dollars!

  3. Ken Globe says:

    For those that are interested. There is a representative from WPD on the Lorne Brooker Show today at 9AM on 800 CJBQ. Not sure if he will take any calls though.

  4. Marie says:

    I have long felt that whatever penalty, legal fees etc… the gov’t would have to pay for cancelling contracts could be equal to or less the amount of money that Ontario as a whole is losing through the green energy act…

  5. Todd says:

    Good on “Hirsch”!
    I’d love to know how people can help support to this appeal.

  6. Countygirl says:

    Well I will be out there protesting if (hopefully not when) they start construction!!!

  7. Susan says:

    Thanks Wynne for recognizing rural Ontario concerns! Keep running like your taxpayer advertisement shows you on the the tube! Do you ever run in the County?

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