Turbines have toppled turtles in Ontario Divisional Court and Gilead Power has regained its go-ahead to build nine industrial
wind turbines on the south shore of Prince Edward County.
The court met for three days in Toronto at the end of January
and delivered its 40-page report Thursday, Feb. 20.
“It’s not surprising we are disappointed and need to
read the decision carefully before deciding what to do,” said Cheryl Anderson, Prince Edward County Field Naturalists.
“We have 30 days to make the decision about whether or not to move forward.”
The PECFN will be consulting
with lawyer Eric Gillespie over the weekend.
“The deck is stacked.” Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith
said. “Across Ontario we’re talking about small, rural municipalities with small budgets being asked to defend
their citizens from the money of major multinational wind developers and the province of Ontario. Even when they win, they’re
going to lose because they’ll keep getting dragged into court until the side with the most money wins.”
Blandings Turtle was hailed the hero last year when a 40-day Environmental Review Tribunal revoked Gilead Power’s renewable
energy permit to put nine turbines on Ostrander Point, on the south shore of Prince Edward County. The tribunal ruled the
turbines would cause “serious and irreversible harm” to an already threatened species.
Following the ruling,
Gilead Power Corporation appealed the decision, then the Ministry of Environment also appealed the decision of its own Tribunal
to challenge the small volunteer group Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County,
another small volunteer association, also appealed the tribunal’s decision dismissing the claim that turbines would
cause serious harm to human health.
The Ministry of Environment argued the tribunal lacked supporting evidence to support
the decision on harm to turtles. Gilead lawyers argued the Tribunal erred in its conclusions about turtle numbers, deaths
and on proposed traffic levels. The field naturalists said the tribunal did not go far enough and that the wind project will
also likely harm birds and the special alvar ecosystem in the area.
The court document states the parties may make written
submissions on costs – Ostrander and the Director within 20 days and PECFN and the APPEC within 10 days thereafter.
is a project on Crown Land, ” said Smith. “The government can pull the plug on it whenever they want. I can’t
believe that they would use taxpayer dollars to fight the people of Prince Edward County in court after their democratically
elected municipal representatives have passed multiple resolutions saying they oppose the project.” Smith added. “When
Kathleen Wynne came to Quinte a few months ago and said she was going to listen to local voices on these projects, what she
forgot to tell the people of Prince Edward County was that she was only going to listen to their voices if they said what
she wanted to hear.”
The case was unique in Ontario as it questioned Renewable Energy Act regulations, their interpretation
by the ERT and the intent of legislation which removes the right of development determination from local municipalities.
had requested that court costs be assessed against PECFN. The www.saveostranderpoint.org website states the naturalists have
raised $134,839 of $220,000 needed to pay for the appeal fund.
The 40-page court document here:
OSTRANDER POINT GP INC et al v. PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY