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Category Archives: South Shore Facts

South Shore Conservancy proud of role in wind turbine case

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Endangered Blanding's TurtleApril 21 2015 Picton ON/ The Board of the Prince Edward County South Shore Conservancy thanks their members for their support during the Ostrander Point Appeal. The Conservancy was granted intervener status last year during the stay motion which stopped the project from proceeding before all legal avenues were tested.

The Conservancy which was established in 2001 has always stood for protecting this rare, pristine undeveloped stretch of shoreline on Lake Ontario free from industrial development including wind turbine facilities. The biodiversity, endangered species populations and world recognized Important Bird Area make the south shore the wrong place for industrial scale wind turbine installations.

Our fight to protect the Blanding’s turtle has been at the forefront of the debate since 2010 when Gilead Power announced it planned to build 5.4 kilometres of new roads to accommodate the construction and operation of their proposed project.

The Conservancy wishes to thank our lawyer Mr. Chris Paliare who made outstanding arguments on our behalf. “Mr Paliare grasped the significance of our concerns and brought an outstanding energy and legal skill to the court,” said Sandra Goranson, Chair of the Conservancy.

The Conservancy continues to inform the Ministries of Environment and Natural Resources of the continued risk to the south shore from another wind project consisting of 29 more wind turbines which will most definitely create serious and irreversible harm to the Blanding’s turtle.

We also congratulate the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists for their unwavering dedication during the Environmental Review tribunal which has brought us all here to this point.

Blanding’s Turtles Win the Day and are in the Media

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The South Shore Conservancy congratulates the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) for their win on Blanding’s Turtles. The Appeal Court agrees with PECFN that a wind project at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County will harm the Blanding’s Turtles, an endangered species, at the site. The South Shore Conservancy, represented by Chris Paliare, intervened at the hearing on behalf of the field naturalists.

A Financial Post article on this important decision says: “The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that a proposed nine-turbine wind farm in Prince Edward County would cause “serious and irreversible harm” to the Blanding’s Turtle.

Click to read the whole Financial Post article “Ontario Court of appeal says endangered turtles trump wind farms

Click to read the Globe and Mail article that that says “Ontario wind farm halted by endangered turtles crossing the road” .

SSC & CCSAGE Comments on wpd’s Species at Risk Report

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Golden EagleIn May 2014 South Shore Conservancy and CCSAGE submitted comments on the wpd reports for the White Pines wind project.  We are posting these comments on our website to show the lack of concern to the most vulnerable of the species that use the Prince Edward County south shore unique habitat.

These species at risk include Golden Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, the Little Brown Bat, the Northern Long Eared Bats, Loggerhead Shrike, Cerulean warblers, Night hawks, Blanding’s Turtles and many others.  Four leafed milkweed which is particularly rare and is only found in Prince Edward County, Ogden’s pond weed, Pale bellied frost lichen, black tern, swamp rose mallow, eastern ribbon snake, milksnake, northern map turtle, snapping turtle are in the project study area.

The Prince Edward County south shore is a precious and vulnerable area that needs conservation and protection.

Please click here to view the comments sent to the Ministry of the Environment.

U.S. Audubon Society Alarmed Over Raptor Turbine Kills

The National Audubon Society in the United States has begun a fund-raising campaign to help save the raptors being killed by wind power generation projects in the U.S. Here is a message from Audubon VP Government Relations, Michael Daulton.

The Wind Challenge

Properly-sited wind power is a critical part of America’s clean energy future, and an important part of our strategy for solving the threat of global warming. But wind turbines can be a real threat to eagles and other birds. The same windswept ridges raptors favor for soaring are also ideal places for electricity-generating wind farms. The tip of a giant turbine blade moves faster than 100 mph—much too fast for even an eagle eye to perceive. Thousands of hawks, eagles, and other migrating birds collide with wind turbines every year. The results are almost always fatal.

Audubon was among the first organizations to raise the alarm, and to work to find the right balance between the need for renewable energy and the need to protect amazing birds like the Swainson’s Hawk and the Golden Eagle. Bird-lovers like you have been actively engaged both on the ground and at the federal policy level to protect birds and keep eagles soaring.

  • Audubon experts played a key role on a 22-person federal advisory committee that spent three years developing the first-ever nationwide guidelines aimed at minimizing the threat of wind power to eagles and all other birds.
  • As you read this, an Audubon team in Washington D.C. is in active negotiations with the wind energy industry, the White House and key federal agencies to forge a permitting process directed solely at the conservation of eagles.

Meanwhile, Audubon members are leading the fight to oppose poorly-sited wind farms and to guide wind power away from vulnerable bird habitats. Local chapters, like Golden Gate Audubon in California, have won landmark victories for birds at places like Altamont Pass in central California and other sites where turbines put eagles and other raptors at risk. These are the real heroes of Audubon, who inspire me every day by making a real difference for birds like the Golden Eagle.
We object to the idea that wind power generation is the answer to the need for power in anything but an industrial application, but we applaud the recognition of the serious and probably irreversible harm to the natural environment.
For more information, go to the website at: http://www.audubon.org


From a post by  Wind Concerns Ontario Blog

Ostrander Point Appeal Fund

On December 20, 2012, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources approved nine wind turbines for Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County. The area has been described as “one of the worst possible places to construct a wind farm” (Ontario Nature). Successfully appealing the approval will save critical natural habitat from destruction and protect the endangered species, species at risk and rare ecosystems at Ostrander Point.

To learn more about Ostrander Point, click here

A project of Prince Edward County Field Naturalists

Endorsed by Nature Canada, Ontario Nature, Kingston Field Naturalists, Quinte Field Naturalists, the Audubon Society (New YorkState and United States) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (United Kingdom)

blandings_turtle 

To donate to the Ostrander Point Appeal Fund click here

Biodiversity Not Important in Wind Debate

By Terry Sprague

The unbelievable foibles of both the Ministries of Natural Resources and the Environment have been all too evident this past month in the province. As if the Ostrander Point decision by the very ministries that are charged with protecting our natural environment wasn’t bad enough, they somehow managed to top that decision by authorizing the removal of a bald eagle’s nest down in the Fisherville area where an American company is planning a wind turbine project there. The eagles made the tragic mistake of building their nest in the path of a planned access road to one of the turbines. Clearly, the nest had to go, along with the tree, under the pretext of protecting the eagles from harm. Isn’t this so-called pro-action synonymous with saying that there is, in fact, a problem with birds and turbines, by the same agency that claims through its Ostrander Point decision that there are no issues with migratory birds?

Frankly I think most of us are sick to death of hearing the pro wind people drone on monotonously about cats, cars and hydro wires killing more birds than wind turbines. This is not a contest. There will not be a stuffed toy awarded to the structure that wipes out the least birds and bats, or the most. It’s not about the criteria that made the South Shore an Important Bird Area; whether it was waterfowl that was the clincher or whether it was songbirds. Whether it was wigeons or whether it was warblers that created the IBA, doesn’t make the South Shore any less important. We have radar images, hard data, banding records and surveys that support our assertion that these nine wind turbines that proponents are jumping up and down claiming will save the earth, can, and likely will, result in high mortality in a staging area that hosts millions of migrants every year as they migrate to and from northern nesting grounds. We don’t need yet another killing field on top of those that we have already created, and we don’t need to hear more drivel about how, despite any mortality, the population is sustainable. It is not sustainable, and it hasn’t been for many decades as species numbers continue to plummet, some beyond recovery. Wood thrushes for example have declined over 80% in population. Does that sound sustainable?

And we don’t need to hear nonsense like I did a few weeks ago about how the birds in Europe are so used to wind turbines that they actually perch on the rotating blades and ride them around as though on a Ferris wheel! These are claims from the desperate – desperate to not let money slip through their fingers, claims from landowners, and even government, who had never before given one iota of concern about our environment, until the folding green was introduced. Suddenly green and clean energy, which wind power is not, has become fashionable. It’s all about money, pure and simple, and it is a very dirty game when legislation, rules and regulations can be bent, adjusted and altered without apology to accommodate those with power and money, despite overwhelming evidence that Ostrander Point, and a whole lot of other locations in eastern Ontario, are not appropriate areas to establish wind power.

However, bird and bat mortality is just scraping the surface in the fallout that this misdirected movement toward “doing the right thing” will create. The habitat in the entire project area at Ostrander Point will be unceremoniously destroyed, forever – habitat that took many decades to settle into a very delicate and specialized biodiversity. One cannot compensate as companies would have us believe, by constructing new habitat somewhere else. Wildlife is being portrayed as cartoon characters that will shed a tear, then be seen with suitcases in hand moving to their new synthetic homes. Biodiversity that takes centuries to evolve cannot be reinvented overnight, neither can the bald eagles that nested in a 100 year old cottonwood tree at Fisherville be expected to accept a Tupperware nest platform on a pole somewhere, when their instinct tells them they should be in a natural tree somewhere else. Legislation is purportedly in place to protect species at risk – that’s why it is there. Legislation that can be bought, and then twisted to serve the needs of development is not legislation. It smacks of a corrupt system of the worst possible kind perpetuated by money and greed, especially given the deliberate and offensively transparent timing of the announcement, only a few days before Christmas.

This column congratulates the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) in their efforts to appeal this decision of raping our SouthShore under the guise of clean energy. There are currently two separate appeals that have been registered: The PECFN appeal is environmentally based, while that of APPEC is based on human health effects. This column also recognizes the challenge that environmental agencies likely have in trying to balance the development of renewable energy while mitigating any adverse effects to wildlife populations. The Ostrander Point decision, however, clearly leans in the direction of development, and the hell with anything or anybody that stands in the way.

Cheques toward PECFN’s efforts should be made payable to the Ostrander Point Appeal Fund and mailed to Myrna Wood, 59 King St. unit 2, Picton K0K 2T0 or donate online at http://saveostranderpt.causevox.com/ . Cheques toward the efforts of APPEC can be sent to APPEC Legal Fund, P.O. Box 173, Milford, OntarioK0K 2P0

Vote on CountyLive’s Wind Turbine Poll

A poll has recently opened up on CountyLive’s website   There are three choices to vote on: 

·         NO, wind turbines should NOT be part of PEC

·         MAYBE, with research on health, location and long-term issues.

·         YES, wind turbines should BE part of PEC

The poll is located on the right-hand side of the webpage.

Given the timing of the poll we can be sure that Gilead Power Corporation’s Wind Energy Project at Ostrander Point is the motivating factor for it.  We can’t afford to ignore this opportunity to send out a definitive message that Prince Edward County’s south shore Important Bird Area is a no-go zone for industrial wind turbines.   Please vote and send emails to others asking them to vote.   We do not know how long this poll will be open so please vote now while you still can.

Legal opinion – Environmental Protection of Ostrander Point

Charles J. Birchall (FOGLER, RUBINOFF LLP) letter to South Shore Conservancy September 13, 2011

” Dear Members of the Conservancy:

 Re: Environmental Protection of Ostrander Point

 You have requested our opinion on whether there is a legal basis for the Province of Ontario’s refusal to apply provincial environmental laws to protect the endangered and threatened species of the Ostrander Point Crown Land Block (“Ostrander Point”) during the course of work conducted at Ostrander Point by a private contractor to Defence Construction Canada (“DCC”).

 We have reviewed this matter in detail and concluded that there is no legal basis for the Province’s refusal to apply provincial environmental laws. Further, we have concluded that any destruction of endangered or threatened species habitat at Ostrander point without a permit is illegal under the provincial Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). Due to the Province’s failure to apply its own laws, it has a clear obligation to the public to use all legal tools at its disposal to ensure that any habitat destruction caused by the DCC contractor to Ostrander Point is remedied.

 As it is too late to stop any damage that has occurred at Ostrander Point, one way to address the situation is for the Province to assemble an independent multi-disciplinary task force to conduct a scientific assessment of the extent of the damage done to Ostrander Point and the steps necessary to remedy the damage. The task force should also undertake an assessment of how to ensure the ecological diversity and vitality of Ostrander Point can best be preserved for future generations. A moratorium on any new land uses, site alteration or other activities at Ostrander Point should be declared until such time as the findings of the task force are released and implemented.

 1.0 Background

Ostrander Point is public land owned by the Provincial Crown and managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources (“MNR”). We understand that it is one of Ontario’s most ecologically rich and biologically diverse areas. It has been designated an Important Bird Area and is home to a significant number of endangered and threatened species.

 Ostrander Point was used as a munitions training site for the Royal Canadian Air Force in the1950’s. Ostrander Point was subsequently cleared of unexploded ordnance (“UXO’s”) in the 1960’s, according to the DCC document titled “Due Diligence Environmental Assessment Screening Report for the Proposed EO Assessment and Clearance in Ostrander Point (“EO Assessment Document”).

 Despite having already been cleared of UXO’s, we have been informed by the Conservancy that over the past week a contractor for DCC cleared parts of Ostrander point for the purposes of reassessment and re-clearing of UXO’s. We have been informed by the Conservancy that this has resulted in damage to the habitat of the endangered and threatened species of Ostrander Point. We have been provided with a series of pictures to support this information. The re-assessment and re-clearing took place under a 2005 Federal government program that provides funds to private contractors to reduce safety risks posed by UXO’s at properties formerly owner or leased by the Department of National Defence (“DND”).

 The EO Assessment Document states that the reason for the re-assessment and re-clearing is “recent changes to the intended land use have prompted the need for further investigation and EO risk assessment of the area prior to undertaking any subsurface excavations.” The change in intended land use referred to appears to be a proposal by Gilead Power Corporation (“Gilead”) to build a 24 MW wind turbine development at Ostrander Point. The EO Assessment Document states that a part of the mandate of the DCC contractor will be to provide “construction support” for Gilead.

However, Gilead has not received the required provincial approvals necessary to proceed with a renewable energy project under the Environmental Protection Act and therefore any reassessment and re-clearing operations for the purpose of ensuring safe construction of the wind turbine development was premature. We also understand that as of the date of this letter, no confirmed UXO’s were found as a result of the DCC contractor’s activities.

 According to the EO Assessment Document, MNR and the Ministry of the Environment    (“MOE”) were consulted prior to DCC contracting for any work to be done at Ostrander Point and DCC was informed that provincial laws did not apply and that no permits were required for DCC to enter onto provincially owned land inhabited by endangered and threatened species to conduct the planned work.

 We have been advised by the Conservancy that the Province’s position has since been confirmed by the MOE, as well as by the MPP for the area, the Honourable Leona Dombrowsky, the former Minister of the Environment and current Minister of Education. Ms. Dombrowsky stated in the email you have provided to us dated September 8, 2011:

 The Department of National Defence (DND) does not require approval (or permits) from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) for the Proposed Exploded Ordnance (EO) Assessment and Clearance at Ostrander Point. The explanation for this is based on the Intergovernmental Immunity Doctrine, which states that provinces lack the authority to bind the federal Crown, or federal Crown agencies. As a result, provincial laws generally do not apply to the federal Crown or to federal Crown agencies. Read the rest of this entry

Meet the Blanding’s Turtle

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The Blanding’s turtle is one of the endangered species that Gilead Power proposes to “kill, harm and harass”  with it’s industrial wind turbine development at Ostrander Point.

According to the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, this turtle is named after Dr. William Blanding, the Philadelphia naturalist who first observed this mid-sized species. Easily recognized by its bright yellow throat and jaw, the Blanding’s turtle appears to have a permanent “smile,” due to a notch in its upper jaw.

As one of the longest-lived turtles in the world, it is also one of the slowest to mature. It does not reach reproductive maturity until about 16 to 17 years of age.  The average lifespan is over 70 years.

Read more about the Blanding’s Turtle.

Gilead Power’s plans for South Shore’s endangered species

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Gilead Power, the Peterborough, Ontario wind power company that recently applied for a government permit to “kill, harm and harass” two endangered species, has plans to reduce the impact of construction on the Whip-poor-will and Blanding’s Turtles.

According to CBC reporter Mike Crawley, “In an email statement, the company (Gilead Power) says it will do its best to mitigate the harm to the birds and turtles.  It says it will create new nesting habitat and build the project in winter, when wildlife aren’t around.”

One immediately apparent problem for Gilead is that turtles don’t fly south for the winter. 

According to TurtleSHELLtortue,   “Canadian turtles hibernate for over five months every winter. Some, like the Painted and Snapping Turtles, hibernate on the bottom of quiet backwaters, nestled up to sunken logs or under stream or lakeside banks. Others, such as the Spotted Turtle, hibernate in the fens or flooded fields in which they live during the summertime. They must choose sites where the water does not freeze right to the bottom or become too low in dissolved oxygen.”

Gilead has is seeking permission from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to install 9 133-metre tall industrial turbines on Crown land at Ostrander Point on the South Shore of Lake Ontario.  The area is also home to an Important Bird Area, a National Wildlife Reserve and an International Monarch Butterfly reserve.

 If Gilead Power seems to be so mistaken about the endangered Blanding’s Turtle, how many other errors might it make?