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Lawyer says turbine fight isn’t over

The lawyer for concerned well owner Christine Burke vowed the fight would continue.

Eric Gillespie, reached at his Toronto law office, told The Chatham Voice the decision this morning by the Attorney General’s office to take over the case and withdraw all charges has left Burke wondering the motivation by the moves.

“Two of the five charges were against the government (Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek and the Ministry of the Environment), and now the government has withdrawn the charges. In our client’s mind, it’s kind of like the fox being in charge of the henhouse.”

Also charged in Burke’s filing were three industrial wind companies with projects in Chatham-Kent – Pattern Energy Group, Samsung Renewable Energy Inc., who operate the North Kent Wind 1 and 2 projects in the former Dover and Chatham townships, and Engie Canada Inc. which operates the East St. Clair wind farm.

Burke had compiled more than 2,000 pages of disclosure material and Gillespie said a great deal more was available, but the province showed no interest.

“The dismissal today by the government is very puzzling to our client. The government appears to be saying there wasn’t sufficient evidence,” he said. “We wrote to the government to say there is quite a bit of evidence in the materials already provided. There is additional evidence available, and more evidence can be obtained by experts.

“Those offers were made on a number of occasions. The government didn’t respond to any of them. “To our client, the result today appears as much political as legal.”

As for what is next, Gillespie said he would discuss options with Burke. He believes they have multiple avenues available, including appeal and laying additional charges.

“It’s possible to have new charges laid based on the new evidence that the government apparently didn’t want to see,” he said.

Gillespie didn’t attend the Oct. 30 proceedings. He said there was no point.

“We did get a letter from them (Ministry of Attorney General). That’s why we weren’t there. We knew there wasn’t any need for us to be,” he said.