.South Shore Appeal Fund
Preserving the County’s South Shore
“one of the worst possible places to construct a wind farm” (Ontario Nature)
June 6, 2016
For immediate release
The Tribunal in the Ostrander Point ERT hearing has found that “the remedies proposed by Ostrander [Gilead] and the Director are not appropriate in the unique circumstances of this case. The Tribunal finds that the appropriate remedy under s.145.2.1 (4) is to revoke the Director’s decision to issue the REA [Renewable energy Approval]”. (underlining mine)
The Tribunal decision says that no matter how important renewable energy is to our future it does not automatically override the public interest in protecting against other environmental harm such as the habitat of species at risk. This was the basis of PECFN’s appeal.
This decision not only protects the Blanding’s turtle but also the staging area for millions of migrating birds and bats and the Monarch butterflies.
The Tribunal decision reminds the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change of its Statement of Environmental Values that “As our understanding of the way the natural world works and how our actions affect it is often incomplete, [government] staff should exercise caution and special concern for natural values in the face of such uncertainty.”
The Ostrander Point hearings ended November 26, 2015. Oral presentations were held in Toronto on January 15. ERT panel members Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright will take time before issuing a final decision regarding a proposed remedy by the developers that placing gates on some of the access roads would protect Blanding’s turtles from irreversible harm.
The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists are confident the Tribunal will uphold their original decision to deny the construction of industrial wind turbines at Ostrander Point — that the project will cause serious and irreversible harm to the Blanding’s turtle and its habitat.
Click on the YouTube window above to view a series of short videos of local area citizens speaking out to explain why Prince Edward County’s South Shore is an inappropriate location for industrial wind turbines.
The Appeal has been unending, but so is the fund raising. We continue, especially since the fight to Save the South Shore has taken on a new dimension with the approval of the wpd project. You may have noticed that there is a new name to our fund raising activities. Our legal team, led by Eric Gillespie has advised that all funds deposited by the fund raising committees of PECFN and APPEC will be combined. As a result a new fund has been created: the South Shore Appeal Fund. Our fund raising events will deposit to this fund.
Ladies of Ostrander photo by Nick Tardif
Friday October 30 2015 was supposed to be the last day of the hearings in the Ostrander Point appeal, where a wind power project is planned (and approved by the province) for a location in habitat of the endangered Blandings turtle.
At issue up to this point has been the fact that the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’ (MNR) own at-risk species expert, Joe Crowley, determined that there was significant risk to the turtle and that proposed mitigation strategies would not be successful. The MNR, headed by District manager Karen Bellamy, ignored Crowley’s advice and issued a permit for the wind power developer Gilead to proceed. The Tribunal demanded documentation be produced on the research and decision-making at the MNR. http://tinyurl.com/mnr-witness
David Suzuki Foundation does not support wind turbines in IBA’s: Letter to the Minister of the Environment
Link to Countylive.ca article: Ministry expert admits he advised not to allow initial ‘kill, harm and harass’ permit
Link to article from The Canadian Legal Information Institute: Turtle v Wind: When Environmental Concerns Collide
Important Press Release – April 14, 2014
PECFN Files for Leave to Appeal Divisional Court Ruling
Picton: PECFN has filed their submission to the Court of Appeal asking for leave to appeal the Divisional Court reversal of the decision of the Environmental Review Tribunal. Last July the Tribunal revoked the approval of a Gilead Power wind turbine project at Ostrander Point Crown Land Block in the centre of the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area. There have been more than 20 appeals of Renewable Energy Approvals since the Green Energy Act came into effect in 2009. All but the PECFN appeal resulted in dismissals. In allowing PECFN’s appeal, the Tribunal rendered a landmark and precedent-setting decision. Soon after the Divisional Court decision Gilead Power announced its intention to start construction in April. PECFN brought an urgent motion for a Stay of construction and leave to appeal the Divisional Court decision to the Court of Appeal. In his decision submitted on March 25, Judge Blair of the Appeal Court held that he had “no hesitation in granting the Stay” because the issues raised on the proposed appeal are of “broad public implication in the field of environmental law”. Further he found that the irreparable harm criterion had been satisfied on the basis that “once a habitat is destroyed, it is destroyed – for at least short-term purposes, in any event – and the species sought to be protected here is a vulnerable and endangered species.” Complete press release click here
Update (from countylive.ca) – February 20, 2014
Turbines take down turtles in divisional court
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.Link to Article Divisional Court Decision PDF
Update (from countylive.ca) – July 4 2013
The endangered Blanding’s turtle has helped the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists take down turbines. The Environmental Review Tribunal has allowed the appeal of the Ostrander Point Project by PECFN on grounds of serious and irreversible harm to the natural environment, and has revoked the approval of the project by the Director, Ministry of the Environment.
The tribunal decision was announced Wednesday after 40 days, 185 exhibits and testimony of 31 expert witnesses appeared before the panel of lawyers Robert Wright and Heather Gibbs in Demorestville and Toronto.
The tribunal concluded “that engaging in the project in accordance with the REA will cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment. This is on the basis of findings that such harm will be caused to Blanding’s turtle.”
A Campaign led by Prince Edward County Field Naturalists
The County of Prince Edward – Municipal Council
Audubon Society (NY State and USA)
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (UK)
Ontario Road Ecology Group
The David Suzuki Foundation
Bird Studies Canada
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper
American Birding Association
Nature Conservancy Canada
US Fish and Wildlife Services
are all against industrial wind turbines at Ostrander Point
Radar Image of Migrating Birds Flying Over PEC South Shore
Birds pour into Prince Edward County from the east, while others are just beginning to cross Lake Ontario from New York state, in this radar image from May 2012. More migrating birds fly over Prince Edward County’s south shore than anywhere else on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario.
Bats: Farmers’ Best Friends
When the environmental assessment was done for Ostrander Point, North America’s bat populations were healthy. In the past two years, bat populations have collapsed as drastically and suddenly as honey bee colonies. For bats, the problem is a fungus, white-nose syndrome, which disrupts hibernation, exhausting the bats’ food reserves before they can feed in the spring. Five and a half million bats have already died in eastern North America. Even the Little Brown Bat, once our most common bat, is now listed as endangered.
What the Heck are Alvars?
Migrating Raptors at Blade Sweep Height — Ostrander Point Fall 2009
We call Ostrander Point a “migratory stopover”, but the birds don’t just stop. They feed, rest and move around, sometime for weeks, waiting for favourable winds. This diagram shows the movement of migrating fall raptors at Ostrander Point in 2009.
Lime green arrows are based on 350 observations; 21% – 50% of the hawks were at blade sweep height. Dark green: 131 – 350 observations, with 50% of birds at blade height. Gray: 50 – 150 observations with 20% at blade height. If the turbines had been built when this survey was done, there could be as many as 380 dead raptors.