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Environmental Review Tribunal rules against Clearview wind project

The Environmental Review Tribunal has ruled to revoke the approval for a 500-foot-tall wind turbines in an area near the Collingwood Regional Airport.

“This is a massive win,” said John Wiggins, who filed the original appeal against the Ministry of Environment’s decision to grant WPD Canada a renewable energy approval for the eight-turbine Fairview Wind project in March, 2016.

In a decision released Aug. 16, Dirk Vanderbent and Hugh Wilkins, who oversaw the appeal and subsequent remedy hearing for Fairview Wind, determined the project posed a risk of serious harm to human health.

WPD Canada president Ian MacRae said the company’s legal counsel will spend a few days digesting the decision before deciding a next move.

“It will take a day or so to get our head around it,” he said. “There’s a number of legal ways to move forward … until I hear back from the lawyers, I don’t know how (the decision) has been written, and the devil’s in the details there.”

The company has 30 days to file an appeal.

Along with Wiggins, the decision to approve the eight-turbine project had been challenged by several parties, including the Town of Collingwood, Township of Clearview, Simcoe County, the residents’ group Preserve Clearview, and Kevin and Gayle Elwood.

There were also several side parties to the appeal, including the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, Steve and Mandy Bridson, and Susan Richardson.

“We’re pleased with the decision. It’s been a community achievement by all,” Elwood said.

In October, Vanderbent and Wilkins had ruled the project met the test for potential harm to human health with respect to the operations at the Collingwood Regional Airport and Elwood’s Clearview Aerodrome. At the time, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change director had also rescinded the approval of two of the eight turbines.