Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) Feb 21 2013 Report

February 22, 2013 admin Latest Posts

February 22, 2013
Cheryl Anderson

The preliminary Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) hearing into the appeal of the Ostrander Point turbine project continues. The hearing started on Feb 8 in Picton and has been continued in Toronto with an open telephone line to the County on Feb 14 and 21. Lawyers for the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and Gilead Power are defending the project approval against the appeal by Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and the Alliance for the Protection of Prince Edward County (APPEC). PECFN is appealing on the grounds that the project will cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment. APPEC’s grounds for appeal are based on harm to human health.

After much discussion and debate over the three days some decisions have been proposed. There seems to be agreement that the two branches of the Appeal will be heard separately. It has been agreed that the PECFN appeal will be heard first by the Tribunal. Issues of requiring disclosure of witnesses’ medical records for harm to human health are delaying progress on the APPEC appeal.

As part of its notice of appeal PECFN requested a stay – that is that no construction activity take place until a decision has been made by the Tribunal. The regulations require the Tribunal to come to a decision by early July. Gilead is protesting the stay request and the Tribunal will rule on the request after hearing arguments on both sides. Gilead wants to begin construction immediately because part of the project approval was the Minister’s ruling that no construction can take place during the avian breeding season from May 1 until July 23 and that road construction would be done between the months of October and February. These conditions leave a short spring window for construction in April. PECFN is determined to present firm defence of the habitat before the ERT decision has been made.

Several dates have been established for the Main hearing: Mar 4-8, Mar 25-28, and April 3-5. Other dates will be set as required. The venue was announced as Sophiasburgh Town Hall in Demorestville; however, attempts are being made to find a larger, more convenient location.

In addition to the hearing itself, approval documents show that there are some other items that must be completed before construction can begin. The Minister has required Gilead to complete an Alvar Management Plan for Ostrander Point with input from the public. In addition, Traffic Management Plans must be completed and filed with the municipality and a Community Liaison Committee established within three months of the approval.

PECFN continues to be confident of success and continues to actively fund raise to save Ostrander Point.

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