Report on Tribunal Appeal hearing for Mon. March 18 2013

March 19, 2013 admin Latest Posts

PECFN report on Tribunal Appeal hearing March 18, 2013
Submitted by Myrna Wood, Prince Edward County Field Naturalists

 

Sylvia Davis, the Ministry of the Environment’s lawyer, cross-examined our witness, Paul Catling, for the entire first half of the day, even though she claimed she would take only one hour.

 

By pursuing her theme that Ostrander Point is a disturbed area, she opened a path for Paul to further discuss alvar habitats and the effects of roads, pollutants and invasive species.  Davis questioned his assertion that construction would harm 50 ha, not six. He explained once more the fragility of alvar species and how water movement and drainage affect the site.

 

He again discussed alvar plants, especially those that are unique to these areas and thus indicators of the site’s importance.  Available studies have listed only 30% of the species that would be expected to be found. No hydrological study was done.

 

Davis raised the subject of the Alvar Management Plan imposed on Gilead’s project prior to construction.  She asked many questions, trying to show that human management is better than nature’s.  Paul explained why Gilead’s goal of returning the site to pre-construction condition is impossible.

 

Gilead’s lawyers say they intend to take 5 hours to cross examine Paul, so even after spending two days on our appeal, Paul will need to return. This raises serious questions about the Tribunal process.  The Green Energy Act says that if a decision is not reached in 6 months – July 3 – the proponent automatically wins approval.  Will the Tribunal limit the amount of time spent on cross examinations by the Proponent?  Can PECFN and its volunteer witnesses continue a legal court procedure against a multi-million-dollar-corporation and a government funded by tax payers?

 

Our lawyer, Eric Gillespie, asked about the status of PECFN’s Motion to prevent construction activity.  The Tribunal adjourned our motion; Gilead has agreed that no work will be done on the site. The proposed Alvar Management Plan must be discussed by the community and public authorities prior to construction.  It has not been determined how that discussion will take place..

 

The remaining time was devoted to two Presenters.  Parker Gallant, vice-president of Wind Concerns Ontario, discussed the status of bats on the site and the harm the project will do to the Species at Risk.  His presentation is available on the WCO site.

 

Alban Goddard-Hill cited his experience with the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area and the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory as reasons for believing that the Ostrander Point wind project will cause serious and irreversible harm.  With each death, genetic diversity is lost, he explained. This hastens the decline of species.  He included an appendix of MOE activities in the Bay of Quinte area which showed how difficult it is to make wise decisions.

 

There will be a teleconference call Wednesday afternoon to confirm dates for March and April.  As soon as we are updated, we will post the dates on our website.  The venue has not been mentioned; we assume it will continue at Sophiasburgh Hall in Demorestville, even though it is inconvenient, with no local cafes.

 

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