Blanding’s turtle has won a temporary reprieve, as a court blocked construction of a wind farm that could damage its habitat at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County.
That means construction of the wind farm can’t start before next fall at the earliest.
Mr. Justice R.A. Blair of Ontario Court of Appeal issued an order Tuesday placing a stay on construction until the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists can seek leave to appeal an earlier court ruling.
Gilead Power wants to erect a nine-turbine wind farm at Ostrander Point. It was at first blocked by an Environmental Review Tribunal, which said the development might harm the habitat of Blanding’s turtle.
The naturalists had also argued that the development threatens migratory birds, bats, and the unusual local ecosystem.
A divisional court ruling earlier this year threw out the tribunal’s decision, and said the wind farm could proceed.
Gilead said following the divisional court ruling that it would start construction this spring.
The naturalists then sought leave to appeal the divisional court ruling – and asked Blair to block activity on the site until that application is decided.
Eric Gillespie, lawyer for the naturalists, said in an interview Tuesday that it will take several months for the two sides to file their arguments on the leave application, and for the court to consider them.
The terms of Gilead’s permit prohibit construction on the site between May 1 and Nov. 15 even if the company wins, so Blair’s decision is likely to prevent construction at least until very late this year.
In his written decision, Blair said he had “no hesitation in granting the stay.”
He said the appeal raises “issues of broad public implication.”
He also noted that Gilead said it would not be able to do much work prior to the closure of the construction window on May 1. In that case, little is lost by granting the stay in construction, Blair said.
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