from the Wellington Times
Now, more than
The folks who are the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists have faced an array of well-financed and motivated
opponents so far in their struggle to protect the habitat and endangered species threatened by the development of nine industrial
wind turbines on Ostrander Point, a rugged and largely unspoiled bit of shoreline in South Marysburgh.
Gilead Power Corporation, is growing more desperate to see its project overcome the roadblock thrown in its path by an Environmental
Review Tribunal that revoked the project’s approval last July.
The Tribunal reasoned that its role was that of
a detached and objective guardian of the living things that stood to be damaged by this large scale industrial installation.
The panel concluded, based upon the evidence it heard over several months, that the threat to the Blanding’s turtle
was too simply too great. The turtle’s plight was too perilous. The risk posed by the Ostrander Point project exceeded
even the recklessly absurd standard of “serious and irreversible harm” set by provincial mandarins rabid to see
Ontario’s countryside transformed by industrial wind turbines and thousands of acres solar panels.
is represented by McCarthy Tetrault, one of the largest legal firms in the country. About 650 lawyers toil for this behemoth.
Ministry of Environment (MOE)—despite the common perception the government agency’s purpose is to protect and
preserve the environment—has already expended a vast amount of energy, resources and taxpayer funds on clearing the
path for this developer. The MOE’s in-house counsel battled side by side with Gilead Power through more than 40 days
of hearings this past spring, arguing that the birds and beasts at Ostrander Point are expendable, even those whose very existence
on this planet is considered endangered and threatened.
Both Gilead Power and the MOE have the means and the determination
to carry this fight as far as the courts will allow them.
For PECFN the struggle is more precarious. They comprise a
small group, many of whom are grandmothers, who share a passion for wildlife and the special habitat that Prince Edward County
affords a diverse array of species. They are not legal experts. Nor are they particularly experienced at raising the funds
necessary to hire the legal talent needed to wage a fight of this complexity and duration. But they share a commitment to
do whatever is needed to protect Ostrander Point and the south shore of Prince Edward County.
They are ably represented
by Eric Gillespie and Nathalie Smith. Eric’s firm is small and young, compared with the forces arrayed against PECFN
in this fight. Yet, in this epic David and Goliath battle, it is the diminutive PECFN and Gillespie who have collectively
struck the first blow—staggering the developer, the MOE and perhaps even the provincial government, in its victory before
In January, the fight moves to an Ontario Superior Courtroom. There, a small army of very expensive legal
talent will argue with great vigour that the Tribunal was mistaken in its ruling, that the court should overturn its decision
and reinstate the approval of the Ostrander Point industrial wind turbine installation.
But when the Prince Edward County
Field Naturalists travel to Toronto next month to resume its defence of this precious habitat—it will be taking on more
than a well-financed and motivated developer and an obtuse and misguided provincial government. It will be going head to head
with the entire wind energy industry.
CanWEA, the association of wind energy developers in this country, has applied
for and been granted intervenor status in the appeal hearing. That means yet another set of lawyers, these funded by the wind
industry, arrayed against Myrna Wood and her fellow Field Naturalists. It is an obscenely grotesque exhibition of legal might
being brought to bear upon a handful of grandmothers and a turtle.
It is, however, a measure of the threat that big
wind views the Tribunal’s decision made in July, that it must unleash its forces upon the Feild Naturalists. It is a
measure of the significance of PECFN’s victory.
PECFN needs your help to preserve this victory. This community
has given generously so far. An improbable victory has been achieved. Now the Field Naturalists need your help more than ever
to ensure the victory remains intact.
Please, in this holiday season, consider giving generously to help save Ostrander
Point—and the creatures that live there and those that simply pause on their way through.
It is an unfair fight—but
such improbable victories frequently define history.
269 Main St. Wellington, ON K0K 3L0.
Gilead, MOE and CanWEA are desperate to kill/harm/harass PECFN’s Ostrander Point win
Please don’t kill/harm/harass me
Rick Conroy, editor of The Times, had lots to
say this past week about the bizarre situation of Prince Edward Field Naturalists’ having to fight the
combined forces of Gilead Power Corporation, the Ministry of the Environment and now the Canadian Wind Energy Association, in
order to protect its win on the Ostrander Point project. To describe PECFN as the underdog would be one of the
great understatements of the year.
Gilead and its buddies MOE and CanWEA are making a desperate attempt
to salvage the Ostrander Point project via an appeal to the Divisional Court which:
- Argues that the ERT exceeded
its jurisdiction in second-guessing MNR’s approval to kill/harm/harass Blanding’s turtle;
- Attempts to
introduce new evidence (normally not allowed in an appeal) — namely, to install a series of lockable gates to reduce
- Introduces Big Brother CanWEA as an intervenor to help run up PECFN’s legal bills even further.
contemptible of all, Gilead is asking the court to make PECFN pay its (Gilead’s) legal costs for the appeal.
Q: Have they no shame? A: Of course they don’t.
You can read the full story here: http://wellingtontimes.ca/?p=10302 and Rick’s editorial at http://wellingtontimes.ca/?p=10321 .
County residents and nature lovers from near and far have generously supported PECFN, and so far $117,463 has
been raised to cover legal costs for the ERT appeal. The largest donation to date was from County government, which
provided a grant of $20,000 following PECFN’s ERT win. Way to go, Shire Hall!
But most amounts
received — donations and purchases — are modest. Many donations at $100, quite a few at $200 or $250, some
larger, some smaller. PECFN’s latest fundraiser was the sale of custom-made winter floral arrangements
at $15 to $50 each, which added about $2,000 to the legal fund.
This small group of intrepid fighters now needs tens
of thousands dollars more to defend its win at the upcoming Divisional Court appeal, scheduled to be heard in Toronto
on Jan 21-24, 2014.
We are nearing Christmas. Will you consider adding PECFN to your gift list? Are
you able to donate a single amount of $52, equivalent to $1 per week for a year? Or maybe even $104? But
any amount will be greatly appreciated.
You can send your Christmas gift to PECFN by clicking on the Donate
to PECFN button on the right hand side of this page, or by mailing a cheque to Ostrander Point Appeal Fund, 59 King Street,
Unit 2, Picton, ON K0K 2T0.
Lets all do our bit to ensure that PECFN has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!