Opponents of the Cedar Point wind energy project in Lambton County are set to take their fight to the Divisional Court in London on Tuesday.
The 46-turbine wind project, owned by Suncor and NextEra in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township, began commercial operation in the fall.
Aberarder residents Kimberley and Richard Bryce lost their appeal of the project’s provincial environmental approval at the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal but are continuing their fight at the Divisional Court.
Asha James, a lawyer for the Bryce family, said they will argue Tuesday that the tribunal didn’t meet requirements set out in an earlier Divisional Court ruling, and ask the court to not confirm the provincial decision to approve the wind project.
“It’s not something that will take it down,” Asha said about the impact a decision at the court in the Bryces’ favour could have on the wind project.
But, it could open other legal options to residents and those opposed to the wind project, she said.
The Bryce appeal will be heard together with an appeal of a wind project in Grey Highlands, a community near Owen Sound.
The Bryce appeal is being supported financially by the citizen’s group We’re Opposed to Industrial Turbines, Plympton-Wyoming (WAIT-PW).
“We think there are some very basic issues with the way the project was designed,” said Santo Giorno, a member of WAIT-PW.
“The overall process for approving renewable energy projects has some very fundamental flaws, and we want to bring those to light, as well.”
Giorno said a ruling in favour of the appeal could lead to the project’s owners being required to make modifications.
“None of us are against renewable energy, none of us are against mitigating climate change,” Giorno said.
“We just think that it’s just such a flawed process.”
While electricity costs rise, Ontario is not getting the environment benefit claimed by supporters of wind power because it has to be backed up by natural gas-fired generation, he said.
“If we don’t speak out, we’re basically accepting what the government is doing.”
WAIT-PW held a recent fundraiser at the Camlachie Community Centre that attracted a large crowd, including Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper.
“People are still unhappy,” Napper said.
“And, they’re worried what’s coming down the line, too.”
Ontario said recently it plans to offer contracts by May 2018 for up to 600 MW of new wind energy generation.
Napper said the province “is still playing games,” and called it “ludicrous” that Ontario recently offered a wind company a contract to build a project in Dutton-Dunwich, where 84 per cent of voters said in a plebiscite they didn’t want wind turbines in their community, while at the same time not awarding a bid for a project in a nearby community that welcomes turbines.
“There’s supposed to be a whole bunch more coming, and we’re a little worried about where they’re going to go,” Napper said.
Plympton-Wyoming remains an unwilling host for wind turbines, he said.
“Our role, right now, is to keep as many out as we can.”
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