PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY –
The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) received another setback on Wednesday in its efforts to stop site preparation at the White Pines Wind Project in Athol and South Marysburgh wards.
Late Wednesday, APPEC received word an Ontario Divisional Court judge dismissed another appeal by the group to have work at the site delayed until the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) renders a final decision on the status of the project.
Last summer, the Ontario Environment Ministry issued an approval to wpd Canada to install and operate a facility of 27 turbines. That decision met with strong opposition with both APPEC and resident John Hirsch filing appeals.
On March 22, the ERT ruled wpd Canada could proceed with site preparation despite its previous ruling the project would cause serious and irreversible damage to Blanding’s Turtles and Little Brown Bats. In its March 22 decision, the ERT provided APPEC with no explanation or reasons why it ruled against the motion of stay to delay site work.
In a release Wednesday evening, APPEC president Orville Walsh stated the lack of an explanation came back to haunt the group at the Ontario Divisional Court hearing.
“APPEC provided evidence from four expert witnesses of serious and irreversible harm to Blanding’s turtles if wpd proceeds with vegetation clearing, (but) what APPEC could not provide to the court, however, was the ERT’s reasons for its decision of last week to dismiss our stay as the ERT never provided reasons,” he wrote. “Justice Stewart noted in her decision that the specific grounds of any such appeal are uncertain given the fact that reasons for the decision are still forthcoming. By not providing any reasons for dismissing our motion for a stay the ERT has handcuffed APPEC in appealing its decisions.”
Walsh said Justice Stewart did tell APPEC they could bring the matter back before the court once the ERT released its reasons for denying the appeal.