Bloomfield Town Hall Celebration

September 26, 2013 Borys Holowacz Latest Posts

Prince Edward County Field Naturalists celebrated their Environmental Tribunal (ERT) win on Tuesday September 24 with a potluck supper at Bloomfield Town Hall.  Invited guests and members heard a passionate description of the importance of the Tribunal decision from lawyer, Eric Gillespie.   

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Eric emphasized that it is impossible to underestimate the significance of this precedent setting verdict.  Nowhere else in North America has a government approved project been revoked based on environmental concerns.  Our expert witnesses Kari Gunson and Fred Beaudry convinced the Tribunal that the Gilead project would cause serious and irreversible harm to the Blanding’s Turtles’ habitat on Ostrander Point Crown Land Block.  At the same time; however, Eric commented that we still believe our witnesses provided solid evidence that the globally imperilled alvar geography and the migratory birds will also suffer serious and irreversible harm if the project is allowed to proceed.   

The counter appeals brought forward by Gilead Power and the Ministry of the Environment are based on legal issues.  They claim that the Tribunal erred in not accepting the Endangered Species Permit to kill and harm the turtle. They also claim that they can redress the Tribunal’s concerns about mortality on the access road.  If their counter appeal is successful they will delegitimize the ERT process and the Green Energy Act (GEA).  In other words the GEA and Renewable Energy Act established the rules for appeals of wind energy approvals.  If the ERT decision is not allowed to stand then the government is negating the system they set up.  This is why we will be defending the Tribunal decision on the turtle by a cross appeal that broadens the issues to include the whole alvar habitat that migrating birds also depend on. 

The hearing will be held for 4 days beginning January 20, 2014 at the Divisional Court in Toronto.  Eric encouraged us to attend if possible. 

Sheena Kennedy read a financial report for the PECFN account and the OPAF account.  To date we have raised about $110,000 to defend Ostrander Point.  We presented Eric with a cheque for $35,000 as part of the payment for his work so far which leaves us with about $1600 going forward.   

The evening continued with a presentation from Dr. Walter Wehtje of Trent University.  Walter told us about his studies of endangered avian species in the PEC South Shore Important Bird Area (IBA).  The studies are part of the work the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory has undertaken as Caretaker of the IBA. 

At the end of the evening special recognition was given to Sheena Kennedy, Sheila Kuja, Sandra Dowds, Agneta Sand and Myrna Wood for their untiring dedication to Saving Ostrander Point.  They became the first recipients of the “Order of the Turtle” and were presented with decorative turtle necklaces to mark their investiture.  

Fund raising continues for the counter appeals.  On Saturday October 5, we present Rednersville Radio at Active Arts, 116 Barley Road.  This is a musical and comedy variety show with free wine tasting by Karlo Estates Winery.  It is a BYOB event with canapés, sweets and coffee served.  Several excellent items have been donated for silent auction.  We are asking for a $50 per person donation for this remarkable evening of entertainment. “Church keys” (Active Arts is a deconsecrated church) for the event may be paid for at the door, at www.saveostranderpoint.org by using the pay pal donate button and leaving a message that the donation is for Rednersville Radio or by contacting Cheryl Anderson at cherylanderon23@sympatico.ca or 613-471-1096.

Submitted by Cheryl Anderson

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