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County receives legal advice on appealing wind farm

Prince Edward County council has obtained confidential legal information in regards to appealing the recent provincial decision to issue a Renewable Energy Approval to WPD White Pines for a 27 wind turbine project.

Council wasted no time Tuesday night, moving into closed session to receive a report from the County solicitor.

Mayor Robert Quaiff respectfully declined to divulge the details of the report stating, “No comment.”

In open session, council voted against taking any immediate action and decided only to receive the report.

Following the July 16 approval, Prince Edward Hastings MPP Todd Smith and number of environmental groups including Nature Canada, Ontario Nature and American Bird Conservancy joined Quaiff in expressing their concerns saying there is sound data the project could impact the area that is important for many species at risk.

In an earlier interview, Kevin Surette, manager of communications said WPD has reviewed the 21 project approval requirements to protect the environment and wildlife adding the company believes they will be able to work within those conditions.

With the July 31 appeal deadline quickly approaching Quaiff says they will have to wait to see if someone does make an appeal. At this time, Quaiff says no one to his knowledge has stepped up to appeal the 59 megawatt industrial wind farm destined for South Marysburgh and Athol.

Quaiff says he recognizes launching an appeal is a very expensive venture alluding to the legal bills the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists have racked up throughout their appeal of the Gilead Power project.

In his opinion, Quaiff says the appeal process is a continuation of a flawed process. “You’re given 15 days to appeal and there’s only two ways to file,” he says. “You’re given 15 days to have months and months of research already prepared and ready to go or you’re destined to fail.”

On Thursday, mayor Quaiff wrote the offices of Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Glen Murray on the issue. He says he has also called and left voice messages adding he’s hopeful that he will receive a call from their offices agreeing to a meeting. To date Quaiff has received no response from either office.

“I’m fearful an appeal will be launched by the time the Premier or the Minister get in touch with me and their response will be no comment, closing the window of opportunity to discuss anything,” Quaiff says.

The clearly frustrated mayor says he’s not sure what else he can do.

Mayor Quaiff will be appearing on CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning with host Wei Chen on Wednesday July 29 at 7:12 a.m. to discuss the issue.