STELLA – The group fighting a proposed wind energy project on Amherst Island is claiming a small victory in its appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal.
The ruling could stall the tribunal hearings for almost three months.
Algonquin Power’s subsidiary Windlectric Inc., the company proposing to build about 26 wind turbines on the island, had filed a motion to have testimony from witnesses supporting the appeal excluded from the hearing.
The company asked that statements from seven witnesses called by the Association to Protect Amherst Island be excluded, but on Monday the tribunal ruled the testimony would be included.
In response, the company’s lawyers advised the tribunal that it would not have witnesses available for scheduled hearings later this month.
The tribunal, which held hearings in Bath and Toronto last week, resumed Thursday and Friday and continues on Dec. 21 and 22.
“It might be postponed until March,” said association spokesperson Michele Le Lay. “The approval holder took for granted that these hearings would be done by the end of this week.”
Le Lay said the company had arranged enough witnesses to counter any testimony offered in support of the association’s position.
The testimony the company had sought to be excluded included statements about the health and environmental effects of wind turbines. The testimony the company was seeking to have excluded included two statements from epidemiologist Dr. Carl Phillips and a statement from biologist Dr. Christina Davy.
The tribunal ruling also allowed statements from five other witnesses but limited two of those witnesses to evidence related to the habitat of the Blanding’s turtle or bats.
The association’s whole appeal is based on the argument that the wind energy project would cause “serious harm to human health” or “serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment.”
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