A legal challenge of Suncor Energy and NextEra’s 46-turbine Cedar Point Wind Power project in Lambton County is moving on to the Divisional Court for Ontario.
Lawyers for Aberarder residents Kimberley and Richard Bryce filed an appeal of a recent Environmental Review Tribunal decision to uphold Ontario’s environmental approval of the project being built in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
In a decision released in early March, the provincial tribunal rejected the Bryce’s appeal following a hearing where the family raised concerns about health impacts from wind turbines, and also argued the province’s approval process violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The appeal dated April 1 asks that the Divisional Court revoke Suncor’s provincial renewable energy approval for the Cedar Point project.
It also asks that the appeal be heard in London.
“The appellants felt strongly enough that they wanted to carry it forward,” said Santo Giorno, a member of We’re Against Industrial Turbines, Plympton-Wyoming (WAIT-PW), a group that has been fundraising in the community to help the Bryce family with legal costs.
As well as collecting donations, the group recently held a fundraising dance and auction at the Camlachie Community Centre.
“As long as the appellants are interested in proceeding, we will try to support them as much as can,” Giorno said.
According to an update Suncor provided at a community liaison committee meeting recently, construction of turbine foundations was planned to begin this month, with turbine components beginning to arrive in mid-May.
Along with 46 turbines, the project will include the building of electrical lines, access roads and other facilities, with the work expected to be completed by October.
The start of construction hasn’t discouraged members of WAIT-PW, Giorno said.
“I think in some cases it just makes people more irate that they’re proceeding without having a full hearing.”
Environmental review tribunals that have been hearing appeals across Ontario have “rubber stamped” the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change approvals for wind projects, according to Giorno.
“If you look at the rules of engagement in the review tribunals, they’re really skewed in favour of the developer,” he said.
“We were hoping that maybe sanity would prevail and they would finally acknowledge that there may be an issue, but the Cedar Point tribunal didn’t.”
At this point, members of WAIT-PW don’t see Ontario’s government providing any relief for concerns being raised about wind projects, Giorno said.
“It’s really a shame that the people have to resort to the courts to get protection from their own government.”
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