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MPP Todd Smith Challenges Wind Development

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Todd Smith MPP for Prince Edward Hastings challenges Minister of Environment and Climate Change  to abandon further spending of tax dollars in support of wind development at Ostrander Point and the south shore of the county. See the video below.

http://countylive.ca/blog/?p=52403#.VT11CSbbwOg.mailto

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Slow & Steady wins in Turtle vs. Wind Turbines

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Blanding's Turtle winsPrecedent – Ontario Court of Appeal – Turtles vs. Wind Turbines

Toronto – April 20, 2015

The Ontario Court of Appeal has reversed a lower court ruling regarding a Renewal Energy Approval of the 9 turbine Ostrander Point industrial wind project. The decision reinstates the key initial finding of the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) that serious and irreversible harm to threatened Blanding’s Turtles will occur if the project operates as approved. “We’re very pleased. The court has ruled in favour of protecting the environment, which is what we’ve asked for throughout“ said Myrna Wood of the successful appellant Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. “The decision is undoubtedly important” said Eric Gillespie, its legal counsel. “This is the first renewable energy case to reach the Court of Appeal. The Court has supported our client’s fundamental concerns and affirmed a number of legal principles that clearly will be relevant to other appeals.” The question of remedy has been directed back to the ERT.

For further information contact Myrna Wood 613-476-1506 myrna@kos.com or Eric Gillespie 416-436-7473 (voice/text) egillespie@gillespielaw.ca

 

Ostrander Wind Developer Says Gates will Protect Turtles

From the Wellington Times

by Rick Conroy

The developer seeking to construct nine 50-storey industrial wind turbines at
Ostrander Point is now proposing to erect a series of gates on provincially
owned crown land—in a last ditch maneuver to persuade a provincial court to
overturn an Environmental Review Tribunal decision that took away the
developer’s permit to build the project in a landmark ruling issued earlier
this year.

LANDMARK DECISION

In July, after more than 40 days of hearings, the Tribunal revoked a Ministry
of Environment approval of the project in which Gilead Power Corporation
proposed to develop a nine-turbine wind project on Crown land on the shores of
South Marysburgh. The two member panel ruled that the project would cause
serious and irreversible harm to the Blanding’s turtles that reside in this
rare alvar habitat at Ostrander Point. The Tribunal concluded, too, that
measures proposed by the developer to lessen the impact of the development on the
turtles were untested and unlikely to be effective. Given that the Blanding’s
turtle is an endangered species, they decided the potential harm was too great,
and once inflicted could not be undone.

It was a precedent-setting decision— not since the provincial government had
enacted legislation to reduce the administrative and regulatory hurdles for
wind and solar energy developers had an environmental review tribunal revoked
an approval permit. Conservation groups and environmentalists rejoiced— as did
everyone else opposed to Ontario’s natural heritage being spoiled by 500-foot
towers of carbon and steel structures.

The developer appealed the Tribunal decision, along with the Ministry of
Environment, seeking to uphold the approval of the project.

THE APPEAL

Among other things, the developer and the MOE will argue that the Tribunal
exceeded its jurisdiction. They will argue that the Ministry of Natural
Resources had given the developer the ability to “kill, harm or harass” the
endangered species. And that the Tribunal lacked the authority to second guess
the provincial ministry.

Gilead Power has a lot riding on the appeal, scheduled to be heard in January
in Toronto. It is clearly not willing to risk the outcome of this project on
jurisdictional interpretation. Instead it is seeking to take away the issue
raised by the Tribunal— specifically the well-being of the creatures at the
centre of the Tribunal’s decision—the Blanding’s turtle. Once again, it has the
Ministry of Natural Resources on its side.

On January 20 the developer will seek to present new evidence to the appeal
hearing. Specifically it will ask the court to consider a plan to erect a
series of gates securing access to the road network it wants to build on Crown
land at Ostrander Point.

“Restricting public access to the access roads would also provide enhanced
protection for wildlife, including species at risk, from traffic mortality,”
wrote Mike Lord to the Ontario Ministry of Resources (MNR) in August.

In September a MNR official agreed it would issue a lease of the Crown land to
the developer to enable it to build the fence, pending the approval of the
project. The MNR also sought a “Project Access and Control Plan” for the access
roads. That plan calls for six double swing gates to be erected at key points,
one at the entrance and at five other locations where pre-existing trails
intersect with the proposed access road. The gates would be locked from May 1
to October 15. Gilead staff will monitor and enforce access restrictions.

Gilead staff will report monthly on issues of public motor vehicles bypassing
the gates.

Quoting from the Gilead access control plan: “Project staff will be trained on
how to answer questions from the public regarding the need for gated access on
the Project access roads.”

In its motion the developer will argue that it has taken these steps in order
to resolve the Tribunal’s “stated concern”. They will argue the Tribunal should
have given it the opportunity to address the issue, rather than revoke the
permit. And, that the provincial court should consider this new evidence to
satisfy “natural justice.”

Myrna Wood says the developer and the MOE have come far too late in the process
to present new evidence. Worse, she says, the developer and the MNR struck this
deal with MNR behind closed doors—without any public consultation about this
use of Crown Land.

She argues, too, that a few gates will not eliminate the threat the project
poses to the Blanding’s turtle’s habitat.

“Gilead’s emphasis on road mortality is an attempt to avoid the Tribunal’s main
concern, said Wood. “that is, the destruction of the whole habitat.”

Upping the ante, the developer has also asked the court to make the Prince
Edward County Field Naturalists pay the costs of making its motion should the
Field Naturalist oppose it.

Undeterred, Wood says Gilead’s and MOE’s intimidation tactics have not stopped
her organization so far, nor are they likely to now.

Victory for Preservation of Ostrander Point

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Blanding's Turtle winsSouth Marysburgh ON/July 9, 2013  The South Shore Conservancy congratulates the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists on the outstanding results of their appeal of an approval of the Ostrander Point wind project to the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal. 

The Tribunal agreed with the Field Naturalists that this project would cause harm to the Blanding’s turtle, a turtle which is globally-endangered and threatened in Ontario. The Tribunal acknowledged that 5.4 kilometres of new roads constructed to accommodate the massive machinery needed to build and operate the nine 2.5 megawatt wind turbines would meet the test of serious and irreversible harm to Blanding’s turtles. The panel also considered that these roads would be permanently open to the public and thereby create on-going risks to the Blanding’s turtle in this fragile ecosystem.

The Conservancy is impressed by the Tribunals’ concern to prevent possible future harm to the Ostrander Point site.  As the Tribunal notes, the Ostrander Point Crown Land Block is identified by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) as a candidate Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) [15]. “If this area were a confirmed, rather than a candidate ANSI, it would be afforded further protections under the EPA. [610] The site “has simply not yet been designated as (a protected landform) by the MNR.” [612] “The evidence before the Tribunal raises the question of whether a wind project development will prevent a candidate ANSI from being considered as an ANSI in the future. The Tribunal has considered this possible future harm to the Site, due to removal of this opportunity for long-term protection.” [613]

The process to confirm the Prince Edward Point to Ostrander Point ANSI has been stalled since 2007, when the wind project at Ostrander Point was announced.   The process has been stalled long enough.  An opportunity now exists for long-term protection for Prince Edward County’s south shore – for the globally-significant Important Bird Area, the globally-rare alvar and the rare and at-risk species like Blanding’s turtle that are imperilled by wpd Canada Corporation’s 29-turbine wind project.

The Conservancy calls upon the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources to follow through on the recommendation to the MNR made over a decade ago to consider the Prince Edward Point to Ostrander Point a provincially significant ANSI.

The Conservancy urges the MNR to pursue the ANSI confirmation process and declare Prince Edward Point to Ostrander Point an ANSI.

PECFN Launch Appeal of Wind Turbine Approval

 
Fight the Approval of Ostrander Point wind project! 

  • Ostrander Point wind project: Approved
  • Permit to kill, harm and harass endangered species: Approved
  • Permit to destroy habitat: Approved

 
2 legal challenges underway. 
 

If you can help to support this very important cause, make your cheque payable to the Ostrander Point Appeal Fund and mail to Myrna Wood, 59 King St. unit 2, Picton K0K 2T0

 

Wind Project Approval a Disgrace

WIND PROJECT APPROVAL A DISGRACE: RUNCIMAN

 

OTTAWA, Dec. 21, 2012 – Senator Bob Runciman has blasted the Ontario Ministry of Environment for its approval of a wind energy project at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County.

 “This decision goes against local wishes, it threatens migratory birds and bats and it makes no sense from an energy standpoint,” Runciman said. “And to grant approval just before Christmas is clearly an attempt to avoid scrutiny. It’s not only wrong-headed, it’s under-handed.”

 On late Thursday afternoon, the Ministry of Environment announced it had approved Gilead Power’s proposal to erect nine giant wind turbines in an internationally recognized Important Bird Area at Ostrander Point. The approval gives Gilead permission to kill endangered species and destroy their habitat.

 Runciman was the author of a 2011 motion unanimously endorsed by the Senate of Canada calling on the province of Ontario to institute a moratorium on wind-farm development along eastern Lake Ontario until the impact on birds and bats can be studied.

 The Ontario senator’s concern stems from the experience with the wind farm on Wolfe Island, also in a designated Important Bird Area. That development has a kill rate for birds and bats that is seven times the industry average in Canada, primarily because it is located in the wrong spot. It is one of the deadliest wind farms in North America.

 The same concerns apply to Ostrander Point, which has been described by Environment Canada as one of the best areas for birds in southern Ontario, Runciman said.

 “The governing Liberals are in the late stages of a leadership campaign. The incoming premier may very well reconsider this failed policy – a policy that has alienated rural Ontario, bypasses environmental and land use policies, will cost electricity customers billions and is causing grave damage to the Ontario economy,” Runciman said.

 “In light of this, it is an absolute disgrace that the Ministry has approved this project right now. I call on the government to step in and put a stop to this,” Runciman said.

 For more information, please contact:

Barry Raison, Office of Senator Bob Runciman

(613) 943-4020 (office) or (613) 297-2069 (cell)

raisob@sen.parl.gc.ca

Ontario Environmental Watchdog Boosts Conservancy Campaign

 

This week a major boost was given to the South Shore Conservancy campaign to protect the south shore IBA in Prince Edward County.

Gord Miller, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, hit the headlines when he unequivocally stated that wind turbines do not belong in Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Mr. Miller went on to suggest that wind turbines do not belong in any ecologically sensitive locations. 

According to Mr. Miller “…the current guidelines do not go far enough to ensure that wind power development is compatible with Ontarians’ objective of protecting wildlife.  Given the importance of selecting sites that minimize the harm to birds and bats, it just makes sense to avoid building wind energy projects in these species’ most ecologically sensitive locations.”

Ontario Nature has added to these comments by saying that on Wolfe Island (also an IBA) with an 86 turbine project, a 2010 study found that on average 16 birds and 43 bats were killed per turbine, one of the highest recorded rates in North America.  The kill on that site is one of the worst in North America.   The Ontario governments’ reaction to the high bird and bat kill was to increase the number of acceptable kills per turbine and decrease the area around each turbine that must be searched for bird and bat kills.  Furthermore they have made no response to the mandatory reports required of raptor kills. 

In addition to eradicating the possibility of wind turbines in IBAs, Mr. Miller considers that the Ontario government needs to take into account the cumulative effect that wind turbines have on both birds and bats.  Ontario Nature agrees stating that “we. . .need to be aware of the cumulative impacts of all wind turbines on bird life, bats, other rare plants and animals, as well as sensitive ecosystems.”   With the millions of migrating birds and bats as well as other winged species like the Monarch Butterflies that pass through the south shore, the cumulative impact here will be many times worse than at Wolfe Island. 

The Canadian Senate, Nature Canada, the Audubon Society as well as the Royal Society for Birds and many other environmental groups both here and abroad have alerted the MOE to the fact that wind energy projects do not belong in our IBA. Now the provincial governments’ own Environmental Commissioner, is reinforcing this. 

As we have seen with Gilead Power and with wpd Canada, the Ontario government has given no consideration to the issue of the IBA factor. There is no better time for everyone to tell our Liberal government that they must protect major migratory pathways, sensitive ecosystems and all threatened species and habitats.  This is the only acceptable solution for the residents of this province.

We encourage you to protest the construction of wind turbine projects in Prince Edward County’s globally-significant South Shore IBA by responding yourselves and encouraging as many others, particularly other residents of Ontario, to respond as well.  Whether they focus on our IBA or on the one closest to them does not matter.  The important thing is that they inform their MPP and others on the list below that they agree with Gord Miller and expect them to do the same.   

Please tell the following politicians that you agree with Gord Miller and expect them to do the same:    

Premier Dalton McGuinty
dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Dwight Duncan, MPP
Deputy Premier
dduncan.mpp@liberal.ola.org

David Orazietti, MPP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier
dorazietti.mpp@liberal.ola.org

Michael Gravelle, MPP
Minister of Natural Resources
mgravelle.mpp@liberal.ola.org

Mike Colle, MPP
Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources
mcolle.mpp@liberal.ola.org

 Jim Bradley, MPP

Minister of the Environment
jbradley.mpp@liberal.ola.org

Helena Jaczek, MPP
Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of the Environment
hjaczek.mpp@liberal.ola.org

Chris Bentley, MPP
Minister of Energy
cbentley.mpp@liberal.ola.org

Reza Moridi, MPP
Parliamentary Assistant to the Ministry of Energy
rmoridi.mpp@liberal.ola.org

Tim Hudak
Leader, PC Party
tim.hudakco@pc.ola.org

Laurie Scott, MPP
PC Critic Natural Resources
laurie.scott@pc.ola.org

Victor Fedeli, MPP
PC Energy Critic
vic.fedeli.pc.ola.org

Michael Harris, MPP
PC Critic, Environment
michael.harris.ola.org

Lisa Thompson, MPP
PC Deputy Critic, Energy (Green Energy Act)
lisa.thompson@pc.ola.org

Todd Smith, MPP
Prince Edward-Hastings
todd.smith@pc.ola.org

Andrea Horwath
Leader, NDP
ahorwath-co@ndp.on.ca

Peter Tabuns, MPP
NDP Energy and Environment Critic
tabunsp-qp@ndp.on.ca

Jonah Schein, MPP
NDP Environment Critic
jschein-qp@ndp.on.ca

Sarah Campbell, MPP

NDP Critic, Natural Resources

scampbell-qp@ndp.on.ca