Construction of Wainfleet Wind Energy turbines has been halted by a court order as Skydive Burnaby appeals the May ruling of Ontario’s environmental review tribunal, which dismissed its concerns about safety to its nearby parachutists.
Tara Pitt, who co-owns the skydiving club with husband Mike, said Ontario Divisional Court has granted an injunction prohibiting Wainfleet Wind Energy from any further work on the remainder of its five-turbine project in the Concession 1 area pending the appeal.
The injunction that went into effect last Monday applies only to the two unfinished turbines some 1.5 kilometres west of Skydive Burnaby on land owned by the Loeffen family, a partner in the wind energy company with Rankin Construction.
Tom Rankin said Tuesday there remains little left to do to complete those two turbines on Station Rd., and tie them in to three other finished Vestas V100-1.8MW turbines that have yet to be put into energy production.
“I should be operating now,” Rankin said.
The Pitts filed to have their case heard by the environmental review tribunal in October 2013 over concerns their business established in 1948 and its skydiving clients would be at risk by the 95-metre-tall turbines. Three weeks of hearings took place over January and February and subsequent conference calls with involved parties in March and April.
In his 87-page decision handed down in May, tribunal vice-chair Dirk VanderBent said the Pitts did not provide sufficient evidence to suggest its skydivers will be seriously harmed by collision with the wind turbines or interaction with their turbulence wakes.
Skydive Burnaby’s next recourse was to file an appeal with Ontario’s Divisional Court, which is responsible for hearing appeals from administrative tribunals. Appeals are normally heard by three Superior Court justices.
The Pitts’ lawyer, Eric Gillespie, said the injunction imposed by the court came with two conditions: that a hearing date be set in August – since set for the 18th and 19th; and that the Pitts give an undertaking to pay Wainfleet Wind Energy damages if their appeal is unsuccessful.
Gillespie said the undertaking will be challenged at a court review next Friday.
Wainfleet Wind Energy’s five turbines working in tandem, its website says, are estimated to generate 26 million kWh of power annually, enough electricity to power 2,500 homes.