PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY –
It appears the gates to Ostrander Point are closed and there will be no turbines allowed entry.
An Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) issued its ruling early Monday, upholding an appeal of the nine-turbine project by the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN), saying the installation of gates on access roads won’t adequately protect the population or habitat of Blanding’s turtles.
In their decision, ERT members Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright found “the remedies proposed by Ostrander [Gilead] and the Director are not appropriate in the unique circumstances of this case. The Tribunal finds that the appropriate remedy under s.145.2.1 (4) is to revoke the Director’s decision to issue the REA [Renewable Energy Approval].”
The issue has raged on since Gilead Power received their Renewable Energy Approval (REA) in 2012 It was almost immediately appealed by PECFN. Another appeal by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, based on potential harm to humans was dismissed by the ERT.
“We feel so vindicated with the decision,” said PECFN president Myrna Wood shortly after news of the decision was received. “Especially since the Tribunal said it understands how important renewable energy is to the future, but it cannot override harm to the species and their habitat.”
In 2013, the ERT upheld the PECFN appeal of the REA to Gilead Power – the first time an appeal of an REA under Ontario’s 2009 Green Energy laws had been successful. A year later, an Ontario Court reversed the ERT decision, only to see the Court of Appeal side with the PECFN earlier this year, but did allow for Gilead to propose remedial action to circumvent environmental damage.
“Our south shore is so important to so many species and that environment simply cannot be destroyed for the development of renewable energy,” she said. “We were the first appeal on environmental grounds and I think that will likely have an effect going forward and I would think that’s why we were fought so hard by the Ministry of Environment.”
The project would require the construction of more than five kilometres of access roads to construct and service the nine turbines and as part of the remedy, Gilead proposed to reduce traffic by installing gates
Wood said she wasn’t certain if there was another step Gilead Power could take following Monday’s decision.
“Our lawyer told me that anyone can go to Divisional Court and try to appeal something,” she said. “I can’t see why the court would accept something the Court of Appeals has already ruled on and as far as we’re concerned, the (ERT’s) decision is final and the REA has been revoked.”
A decision is still pending on the White Pines project, also slated for the south shore, as well as another project on Amherst Island.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding