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White Pines lawsuit withdrawn  

Credit:  Administrator | Oct 07, 2013 | countylive.ca ~~

A $14 million lawsuit launched last August by 20-plus County families against wpd Canada and 46 participating landowners in Prince Edward County (Ivak vs wpd) has been withdrawn.

The claim included $14 million for “negligence, nuisance, trespass and strict liability” and another $3 million for “punitive, exemplary and aggravated and mental distress damages.”

In July, a claim involving wpd’s Fairview Wind Project (Wiggins vs wpd) was dismissed by the court and the plaintiffs were ordered to pay costs to wpd and the participating landowners.

“The claims made in the White Pines lawsuit are essentially the same as those made in the Fairview case,” said Ian MacRae, President of wpd Canada. “As we did in the Fairview case, we were prepared to ask the court for summary judgment, and a hearing was scheduled for September.”

As with the Fairview case, wpd and participating landowners were requesting the court dismiss the plaintiffs’ case, on the basis that they could not establish a legal basis for their claims.

“Our argument at the pre-trial hearing would have been that there is no reason to take up the court’s time and incur additional costs with a trial, as there was no merit in the plaintiffs’ claims,” added MacRae. “The plaintiffs’ decision to withdraw their claims achieves the same result.”

In the Fairviewcase, landowners who tried to sue upd and a farm corporation that signed lease agreements for turbines were ordered to pay $107,370 in costs. Their $16 million lawsuit was dismissed in Ontario Superior Court in late April.

Madam Justice S.E. Healey dismissed their claim of devaluing their land and cuasing a loss of use and enjoyment on land just west of Stayner, near Collingwood. She noted the eight-turbine project had not yet received environmental approval and that the plaintiffs were unable to prove that the project will built.

“The most significant finding made this court was that the plaintiffs’ claims should not have been made prior to the known outcome of the regulatory process,” Justice Healey wrote. She also stated the claims were dismissed without prejudice to future claims once the regulatory process has run its course.

The Renewable Energy Approval (REA) application for the White Pines project was submitted to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) in September, 2012. Once the application is deemed complete, it will be posted to the EBR Registry.

“wpd will provide notice to residents that comments can be made to the MOE via the EBR posting,” said Kevin Surette, of wpd. “wpd will continue to respond to questions and concerns brought forward by the public, and provide notice to residents of project milestones.”

Source:  Administrator | Oct 07, 2013 | countylive.ca

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