August 23 OPAF Update – Court of Appeal for Ontario date is set

August 23, 2014 Borys Holowacz Latest Posts

The big news is that we have a date for the PECFN appeal of the Divisional Court Decision.  The appeal will be heard on December 8-9 at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.  This is the final appeal open to us to prevent Gilead Power and the Ministry of the Environment’s plan to put wind turbines on the important natural habitat at Ostrander Point.

PECFN started opposing this plan when it was first announced in 2007.  We believe, along with many other organizations and citizens, that the South Shore of Prince Edward County is the wrong place for wind turbines.  Our belief is based on many indisputable facts.  The area is important to migrating birds, bats and butterflies, it contains Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest, provincially significant wetlands, globally imperilled Alvar habitat and is the home and breeding ground of several avian, reptilian and amphibian species at risk.  The details associated with these facts have been explained to the Ministry of the Environment, have been publicized in local and provincial media and taken to municipal, provincial and federal officials.   In spite of these efforts we find ourselves fighting Government and Big Business to protect imperilled habitat and species at risk.

In spring 2013, PECFN participated in an Environmental Review Tribunal appealing the Government’s decision to allow Gilead’s development.  The ERT panellists agreed that the development should not proceed.  The Government and Gilead appealed that decision to the Divisional Court of Ontario – that court, unfortunately, agreed with the developer and the Ministry of the Environment. PECFN asked for and was granted permission to appeal the Divisional Court ruling to the Appeal Court, the highest Court in Ontario. In addition, a motion to stay any construction until the matter was resolved was granted by the Court.

Currently PECFN and supporting organizations are in negotiations about allowing intervenors in the Court of Appeal case.  The South Shore Conservancy intervened on our behalf at the Divisional Court and will ask permission to do so again at the Court of Appeal.  Our struggle is to help mainstream environmental organizations see that wind turbines are not a “green” option if they destroy significant wildlife habitat.  We have been able to achieve that understanding with organizations such as the David Suzuki Foundation and the American Audubon Society and we continue to make that argument with others who are considering intervenor status at the Court of Appeal.    The Canadian Wind Energy Association, lobbyist for wind corporations and investors, intervened on behalf of Gilead at the Divisional Court and will do so again at the Court of Appeal.

So how much is this all costing and how are we doing with fund raising?  We have raised $186,000.  We are about a year behind on legal costs.  We are, however, confident that the Appeal Court will rule in our favour – and of course we will be asking for costs from Gilead and the Ministry of the Environment.  Fund raising will continue until all legal bills are paid.

Myrna Wood

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