Prince Edward County Field Naturalists will go another round in court seeking leave to appeal the Divisional Court ruling to the Court of Appeal of Ontario.
“We have to ask the court if it will allow us to appeal,” said Cheryl Anderson, past president of the PECFN group. “In order to do this we will have to present our reasons for believing that Justice Nordheimer was in error in his judgement.”
Lawyers assembled in Osgoode Hall Jan. 21-23 to hear the arguments of the Ministry of the Environment and Gilead Power against the Environmental Review Tribunal ruling that revoked the minister’s approval of the nine turbine project planned for Ostrander Point, on the south shore of Prince Edward County.
The decision of the Divisional Court received Thursday Feb. 20 was that the tribunal erred in its ruling.
“Unless appealed, this decision will result in the industrial development of Ostrander Point Crown Land Block on the South Shore of Prince Edward County,” said Anderson. “Prince Edward County Field Naturalists are disappointed with the ruling of the Divisional Court and do not agree that the Environmental Review Tribunal was wrong. The group will be seeking leave to appeal the Divisional Court ruling to the Court of Appeal of Ontario.”
The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists have opposed the development plans at Ostrander Point from the beginning. Nature Canada, Ontario Nature, Environment Canada, the Suzuki Foundation, the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, Bird Life International and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds have all since agreed that Ostrander Point is the worst place for wind turbines.
The groups continue to stress that:
-Ostrander Point is in the middle of the PEC South Shore Important Bird Area – the home of the endangered Blanding’s Turtle and many other species at risk. Millions of birds fly through and stage for migration from the south shore of PEC in the spring and fall.
-The Crown land block is adjacent to the Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area designated as an international Monarch butterfly reserve.
-Ostrander Point includes significant areas of globally imperilled alvar habitat.
“Gilead’s wind turbines project will expose migrating birds to lethal turbine blades at a time when they are most vulnerable,” said the Field Naturalists in a press statement. “At nearby Wolfe Island, the turbines kill more birds than any other installation in Ontario because the eastern end of Lake Ontario is such an important migratory pathway. The turbine pads and access roads will damage vast swaths of the Crown land block – and expose Blanding’s turtles to high road mortality and nest predation while destroying their habitat.”
The south Shore of Prince Edward County is the last undeveloped natural habitat along the north shore of Lake Ontario.
The cost of the ERT appeal and subsequent defence of the ERT decision has been expensive, said Anderson.
“The Field Naturalists is a small club of mostly retired people. People all through Ontario and in several other provinces have donated about $130,000 to the cost of this legal battle. This amount is at least $100,000 short of the estimated final legal bill. Fund raising continues through events and activities in the County and beyond. The small group is girding their loins and arming their slingshots to continue this David and Goliath struggle.”
Visit www.saveostranderpoint.org for more information and donation details.
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