Vehicles lined Demorestville’s main street as about 150 people travelled to the Sophiasburgh Town Hall for the first day of the Ostrander Point Environmental Review Tribunal, appealing the Ministry of the Environment approval of Gilead Power’s Ostrander Point industrial wind turbine project on the south shore of Prince Edward County.
Tribunal members Robert Wright and Heather Gibbs, lawyers for the Ministry of the Environment and Gilead Power were present along with parties to the appeal, the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and the Alliance for the Protection of Prince Edward County (APPEC) and their legal representatives Eric Gillespie and Natalie Smith. Appeals are to be heard by PECFN, on grounds of harm to plants, animals or the natural environment; and the APPEC, on grounds of harm to human health.
“Gillespie’s opening statement outlined the reasons for the PECFN appeal of the project approval. He noted Ostrander Point was recognized by local, provincial and national and international organizations as the worst site for wind turbines and that Ostrander Point is in the middle of the PEC South Shore Important Bird Area.
“Because of that and also since this is the first multiple witness appeal on environmental grounds, the case is precedent setting,” said Cheryl Anderson, of the PECFN.
Gillespie reminded that Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner has recommended against using IBAs for wind turbines development. He noted the point is a breeding area for 14 priority species as recognized by Partners in Flight and 19 Species at Risk.
Gillespie went over the list of expert witnesses he will call and gave a brief description of their area of expertise.
“The site visit requested by Gilead was set up for Tuesday, March 5,” said Anderson. “Individuals are to arrive in their own vehicles at the corner of Babylon and Helmer Roads for a 2 p.m. start. Only the tribunal, the parties, presenters, participants and their lawyers are invited to the site visit. ”
On Wednesday, March 6 the hearing is to begin at 9:30 a.m. at Sophiasburgh Town Hall. Expert witness for PECFN, Dr. Paul Catling will be heard. Paul Catling holds a Ph.D. and is a Research Scientist for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. He specializes in a number of areas including plant taxonomy, native germplasm, berry crops, medicinal plants, and invading alien plants. Catling has numerous affiliations, including being on the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, the Board of Directors of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Chair of Biodiversity Publications Committee and Chair of the Ecology Canadian Botanical Association. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa and has numerous scientific research publications.
On Thursday, March 7 the hearing will move back to Toronto to hear evidence from witnesses by video conference. Ian Dubbin and Dr. Robert Barclay are to be heard. Dr. Barclay is a Professor and the Head of the Biological Sciences Department at the University of Calgary. He teaches in the areas of biology, ecology, conservation biology, field biology and mammalogy. In his career he has supervised more than 35 graduate students and has been the recipient of numerous prestigious research grants including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (“NSERC”) Operating and Equipment Grants. He also has a substantial publication
record which includes a long list of peer reviewed articles. Dubbin has presenter status in the hearing. He is a retired engineer from Kingston.
Friday, March 8 has been left unscheduled. Still to be determined is the schedule for presentations from Wind Concerns Ontario vice-president Parker Gallant, County Sustainability Group representatives, Don Chisholm and Deborah Hudson. Kari Gunson may be scheduled for Friday as well. Gunson is a Principal Road Ecologist for Eco-Kare International. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Ecology from the University of Calgary, a Master of Science in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town, and a Master of Science in Geospatial Technologies from New York State University. For the past 13 years she has worked as a contract road ecologist on Road Mitigation Projects throughout North America, including Banff National Park, Montana, New York, Vermont, and Ontario.
The public is invited to rejoin the hearing on Wednesday, March 6 at 9:30 a.m. in Sophiasburgh Town Hall, in Demorestville.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding