A London court has ruled against opponents of the Cedar Point wind project who appealed a provincial tribune decision on the 46-turbine wind project in Lambton County.
The Divisional Court’s decision, released last week following a hearing earlier this year, was a disappointment, said Santo Giorno, a spokesperson for We’re Against Industrial Turbines, Plympton-Wyoming (WAIT-PW), a group that supported the appeals by Aberarder residents Kimberley and Richard Bryce before Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT), and the Division Court.
“The court just didn’t agree with our point of view and decided to go with the view put forward by the developers and the government,” Girono said.
The Cedar Point wind project, owned by Suncor and NextEra, began operating last fall in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
The appeal by the Bryce family was heard together with an appeal of a wind project near Owen Sound, and argued that tribunal decisions didn’t meet requirements set out in an earlier court ruling.
“I just feel really bad for everybody that put so much effort into it,” said Kimberley Bryce.
The family’s lawyer, Asha James, said they are considering their legal options.
Suncor spokesperson Nicole Fisher said the company and its partner NextEra are pleased with the court decision.
“We respect the rights of the appellants to raise their concerns through the ERT appeal process,” she said in an e-mail.
“Throughout the development, approval and construction process for the Cedar Point project, the partners have engaged with the community and remain committed to continuing the dialogue with the community throughout the life of the project.”
The Cedar Point project faced strong opposition from the community group, as well as the municipal council in Plympton-Wyoming.
WAIT-PW held fundraisers and collected donations to support the appeals.
“I think as far as Cedar Point is concerned, this is probably the end of the legal wrangling, from our perspective,” Giorno said.
WAIT-PW issued a joint press release with a citizen’s group that supported the Owen Sound appeal, following the release of the London court’s decision.
“The Green Energy Acts puts the burden of proof on citizens to prove that wind turbines are harmful,” Gary Fohr, with the Owen Sound area group, said in the release.
“We were asking the court to consider that wind turbines have never been proven safe.”
While the appeal wasn’t successful, “it had to be done,” Giorno said.
“It’s either a case of rolling over and pretending there’s no problem, or fighting against the system.”
Giorno said there have been several court challenges against wind projects in Ontario, and he expects more to come.
“I think at some point in time, there will be a reckoning.”
But, Giorno added WAIT-PW plans to shift its efforts to ensuring wind developers comply with the law, and to act as advocates for residents who “may have problems with issues arising from the project.”
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