The Environmental Review Tribunal has delivered a stunning ruling, revoking the approval for a wind turbine project in Clearview Township.
The ruling against the Fairview Wind project was released to the appellants late Friday.
In the 87-page decision, hearing officers Dirk Vanderbent and Hugh Wilkins stated the appeal by several appellants, including the Town of Collingwood, Township of Clearview, residents’ group Preserve Clearview, John Wiggins, and Kevin Elwood, met the test for potential harm to human health with respect to the operations at the Collingwood Regional Airport and Clearview Aerodrome.
The municipalities and Elwood had challenged WPD Canada’s project on the basis the eight-turbine wind farm’s 500-foot-tall turbines would interfere with the operations of both facilities.
Vanderbent and Wilkins ruled WPD’s proposed mitigation measures with respect to both airfields would “not significantly reduce the likelihood” that the turbines would not have an impact on the safety of planes flying in and out of CRA and Clearview.
“The tribunal finds that the appellants have met their onus to establish that the health test has been met in respect of the project’s effects on persons using both aerodromes,” Vanderbent and Wilkins wrote.
The hearing officers also ruled the project would cause serious and irreversible harm to local colonies of the little brown bat.
“The successful appeal of the project is great news for Clearview Township,” Mayor Chris Vanderkruys told Simcoe.com. “We have committed a large amount of money fighting an issue that we never should have had to fight in the first place.
“It was clear from the beginning that our community and council did not support the project; however the provincial government refused to listen and approved the project against the wishes of the residents that they represent.”
However, the tribunal has given WPD the opportunity to make submissions on appropriate remedies, should the company or the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change request that opportunity.
The tribunal has been adjourned to a telephone conference call to determine the next steps in the appeal.
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