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‘Reprehensible’  

Credit:  Posted by Rick Conroy | December 21st, 2012 | The TImes | wellingtontimes.ca ~~

Reaction has been swift and furious to the announcement that Ontario’s Ministry of Environment approved the development of a nine-turbine industrial wind factory on Crown Land at Ostrander Point in South Marysburgh.

In approving this project the Ministry has decided to allow the developer Gilead Power to kill, harm, and harass two endangered species (Blanding’s Turtle and Whippoorwill) which inhabit the piece of property

Nature Canada issued a statement saying it is dismayed by Minister Bradley’s decision to approve a wind energy project on publicly owned Crown land within one of the most significant areas of bird and bat migration in Ontario.

“Ostrander Point is in the heart of the globally significant Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area, and is well-known for its significance to migrating and breeding birds,” said Ted Cheskey, bird conservation manager for Nature Canada. “A wind energy plant at this location poses a high and permanent risk to birds and other animals, plant life, animal life and the natural environment. It is particularly shocking that an announcement of this significance would be made as Ontarians turn their attention to family and friends for the holidays. The public now has 15 days during this holiday period to submit a formal request for appeal.

MPP Todd Smith calls the ministry of environment “a disgrace”.

“This is the second year in a row that the Ministry has tried to silence public comment on this project by making sure that it coincided with the holiday season. That kind of behaviour is unacceptable, it’s unprofessional and it makes a disgrace of the Ministry to engage in such underhanded tactics.”

Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson reacted with grief and disbelief.

“The hypocrisy of this provincial government is absolutely stunning,” wrote Wilson in a statement. “The timing of the approval announcement is another slap in the face for rural Ontario—the government is saying, we don’t care what people want, or what’s right, we’re helping big business push this through.”

The Association to Protect Prince Edward County condemned the Ministry’s decision to ignore the “well-founded concerns and opposition” to the project, so near a globally significant Important Bird Area.

“It is unconscionable that the MOE would ignore these specialists and rely on inadequately-researched reports by Gilead’s hired consultants,” wrote Henri Garand, chair of APPEC. “The approval decision clearly demonstrates that the MOE has abandoned its real mandate to protect the environment and has become merely a facilitation agency for renewable energy projects. Citizens are assigned the role of opponents or impediments to the interests of money and the Ministry.”

But not everyone is upset by the decision to approve the project. Gilead Power principal Mike Lord said in a statement is pleased with the MOE’s approval.

“We’re committed to making it a model of responsible wind energy development,” says Gilead Power Vice President of Project Development, Mike Lord. “There are many very specific conditions related to the approval and we are committed to meeting or exceeding the conditions”.

Any appeal to the MOE’s decision must be submitted within 15 days of approval—issued on Dec. 20.

“This is the second year in a row that the Ministry has tried to silence public comment on this project by making sure that it coincided with the holiday season. That kind of behaviour is unacceptable, it’s unprofessional and it makes a disgrace of the Ministry to engage in such underhanded tactics.”

Nature Canada’s Cheskey noted that many Christmas holiday plans would set aside by the Ministry’s timing.

“The timing of this announcement is particularly reprehensible,” said Cheskey. “Once announced, the public has 15 days to comment before the approval is final. In this case, starting with December 20 and adding 15 days takes us to Friday, January 4th. Many people go away over the Christmas holidays to visit with family and friends and to take a much needed break from the world of work to refresh and recharge their batteries.

“For many of us, that much needed break has been burdened with the need to respond to the government’s action. It will not exactly be a joyous holiday season with this hanging over our heads.”

Source:  Posted by Rick Conroy | December 21st, 2012 | The TImes | wellingtontimes.ca

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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