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County Field Naturalists to appeal Ostrander permit

Myrna Wood, vice-president of Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN), announced today that the club will appeal the Ministry of the Environment ruling to allow nine mammoth wind turbines to be built on Crown Land at Ostrander Point.

“We opposed this project from day one; it will be disastrous to wildlife – including endangered species – and the natural habitat. The industrial construction alone will destroy essential habitat for millions of birds and bats. Operating turbines will threaten their lives for over 25 years. While we hoped the Minister of the Environment would deny the project, we have been preparing an appeal for the last year and a half,” she said.

Ostrander Point Crown Land Block lies at the heart of the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area (IBA). The IBA, established in 2001, acknowledges the importance of the South Shore to waterfowl, migrating birds and raptors. The Crown Land Block is an area of rare alvar habitat, contains provincially significant wetlands, is a candidate Area of Natural and Scientific Interest and is the home of at least two endangered species.

PECFN has already been working with Guelph lawyer, Peter Pickfield, on preliminary appeal preparations. His recommendation to move the case into the hands of Eric Gillespie was enthusiastically approved by PECFN’s executive. “An environmental lawyer, Gillespie has been working in the wind energy field since the flawed Green Energy Act was imposed. His extensive experience will give us the best chance to fight this outrageous decision successfully. It will be the first test of the environmental grounds for appeal under the Act,” Wood explained. PECFN will begin an immediate fund-raising campaign to finance the appeal.

Wood said the timing of the government’s decision was especially heartless. “The Environmental Review Tribunal has given us no extra time despite the holiday season. We must have our initial arguments ready by January 4, 2013. Fortunately Mr. Gillespie is willing to work with us through the holidays.”

PECFN members and its executive know the majority of Prince Edward County residents are appalled by the callous timing of this decision and by the Minister of Environment’s disregard for the irreversible harm this project will cause to the animals, birds, bats, turtles and plants at Ostrander Point Crown Land Block. With the help of county citizens, PECFN will mount a vigorous case against this project.