PICTON – Prince Edward County council has endorsed a motion that urges the Ministry of Natural Resources to deny Gilead Power permission to erect nine wind turbines on Ostrander Point
The ministry has allotted 30 days for the public to comment on its decision to allow Gilead Power to begin construction.
Part of Gilead’s application includes permission to “harass and kill” birds and turtles in the construction and operation of the wind turbines
“We’ll be really, really happy when the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of the Environment deny permission for these turbines,” said Cheryl Anderson of the Prince Edward Field Naturalists, who made the presentation to council.
“It’s all a part of the process to raise awareness and to show everybody that this is the wrong place for wind turbines.”
Myrna Wood, another of the presenters, said she supports green energy, just not at Ostrander Point.
“Why destroy the environment we’re trying to save with renewable energy? Any industrial development will destroy the habitat,” Wood said in an interview.
Wood said there are thousands of other places the turbines can be built that won’t disrupt the Blanding turtles and whip-poor-wills – species that would be threatened by the Ostrander Point installations.
“That argument that it has to be there or nowhere doesn’t car-r y any weight with us,” Wood said.
Councillor Bev Campbell asked Anderson and Wood if they have met with landowners in the area to find out if there is an interest in wind energy development.
“We’re concerned about birds, not turbines,” said Anderson.
Mayor Peter Mertens said he agrees with the naturalist group.
“If they say there’s a concern, then I tend to believe them, especially when they’re not opposed to green energy,” Mertens said.
During their deputation, Anderson and Wood said Prince Edward County is the penultimate refuelling stop for birds migrating from South and Central America on their way from the boreal forest.
“In the spring, they can be seen on Doppler radar massing on the south shore of Lake Ontario waiting for an appropriate time to cross over to the closest land, which is Prince Edward County. When they arrive, they are tired and very hungry,” said Anderson.
If the Ostrander Point wind farm is permitted, the naturalists say, the migrating birds would arrive exhausted from their flight and fly right into the blades of the turbines.
Councillor Brian Marisett suggested developing a staff report before endorsing the naturalists’ comments to the ministry.
“We only have a 30-day window to do this. We don’t have time for staff to research this and get back to us,” Councillor Alec Lunn said.
“By then, we will have missed our shot. We need to proceed with this.”
Campbell reminded her colleagues that council has already given its input to the ministry on the Gilead proposal.
“I just want to be sure that we’re not doing something that is at odds with our own comments,” she said.
Councillor Terry Shortt said the naturalists’ report gives credence to council’s earlier request for a moratorium.
“There are still things that need to be researched, that need to be explained,” Shortt said.
Councillor Jamie Forrester of Athol district said that not every councillor is in favour of a moratorium and he’s spoken to residents who oppose it as well.
“With all the people I’ve talked to about wind energy, the majority aren’t opposed to wind turbine development,” he said.
Forrester said he fully understands the concerns brought forth by the naturalist group, but he thinks more proactive resolutions towards renewable energy need to be initiated.
“When are we going to start looking at solutions for our problems and for our children’s future?” he said.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding