Opponents of a proposed wind energy development on Amherst Island have a new ally in their fight.
Canadian author and environmental activist Margaret Atwood voiced her opposition to the proposal in a letter to the Premier Kathleen Wynne, the leaders of both Opposition parties, senior MPPs and Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller.
“I was horrified to hear of the proposal to blanket Amherst Island with wind turbines,” Atwood wrote, who also tweeted her opposition to her 472,000 followers on Twitter. “Amherst is very well known as a hugely important natural site. If it is destroyed, Ontario will attract world-wide negative attention. Is this what Ontario wants to be known for?”
Windlectric Inc. is proposing to build a 36-turbine, 75-megawatt wind energy project on Amherst Island.
Last month, Windlectric’s Amherst Island Renewable Energy Approval application was deemed complete by the provincial environment ministry, despite opposition from community and environmental groups that say the project is not complete.
In October, Loyalist Township passed a resolution that would reject “incomplete” renewable energy project applications, of which there are six currently proposed for the township.
Atwood’s letter was submitted as part of the public comment period currently underway. The public has until March 8 to submit comment on the proposal.
In her letter, Atwood noted Amherst Island is internationally known for its owl and hawk habitat and is an Important Bird Area of Global Significance on the Atlantic migratory flyway. Atwood likened the island to Point Pelee for its importance to migratory birds.
Atwood stated the island has 34 species at risk, including the Blanding’s Turtle. That species of turtle was sited as the reason for the rejection of a nine-turbine wind project at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County by the province’s Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT).
The island has 400 hectares of provincially significant coastal wetland and last year was listed in as one of the top-10 endangered places in Canada, according to the Heritage Canada Foundation.
“The need to reduce our carbon footprint is widely known, but the destruction of rare natural habitat and species is not the way to do it,” Atwood wrote. “Amherst Island is the wrong place for a windfarm. It is a very wrong place.”
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