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Heed senate call for no turbines in IBAs: MPs

Senator Bob Runciman and Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith urged the McGuinty government Tuesday to put the brakes on plans for industrial wind turbine developments in Important Bird Areas.

The event follows the unanimous approval by the Senate of Canada of a motion put forward by Runciman late last year calling for a halt to developments within three kilometres of the shoreline of eastern Lake Ontario until the “significant threat” to birds and bats is investigated and restrictions are imposed to protect internationally recognized Important Bird Areas.

Industrial wind-power developments at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County and on Amherst Island west of Kingston are both in the late stages of the approval process. Both are designated as Important Bird Areas.

MPP Smith noted that field naturalists and other experts believe the bird kill rate will be unacceptably high for the project proposed at Ostrander Point. Smith said studies by the Sierra Club, National Audubon Society, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds all point to how destructive turbines are when located in Important Bird Areas. Studies by the latter two groups spoke specifically about the recklessness of the project at Ostrander Point.

Environment Canada describes Ostrander Point as one of the best areas for birds in southern Ontario, Runciman said. The developer of that project has also applied to “kill, harm and harass” two endangered species – the Blanding’s Turtle and the Whip-poor-will.

“Clean, renewable energy should help, not harm wildlife and I urge the government of Ontario to heed the Senate of Canada’s call for a moratorium on wind farm development in these sensitive areas,” Runciman said.