County News

Overuled on Ostrander

Posted: February 21, 2014 at 4:02 pm   /   by   /   comments (7)

Blanding-SmallCourt sides with developer

A divisional court has ruled in favour of an industrial wind energy developer clearing the path to construct nine industrial wind turbines on Crown Land at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County. The decision is here.

Last year an Environmental Review Tribunal revoked the permit awarded to Gilead Power Corporation to proceed with its project at Ostrander Point. It concluded that the threat posed by the development to Blanding’s turtle was likely to cause serious and irreversible harm to the an endangered species, Further they felt the developers proposed mitigation measures were untested and the consequences too grave.

The developer appealled to the Ontario Superior Court arguing, in part, that the issue of its right to “harm, harass and kill” the endangered species had been settled as part of the Ministry of Natural Resources Endangered Species Act assessment. They argued that the Tribunal didn’t have the authority to review it.

While the court didn’t go that far, it agreed that the Tribunal gave insufficient weight to the ESA process.

“In my view, the Tribunal ought to have assumed that the MNR would properly and adequately monitor compliance with the ESA permit,” wrote Justice Ian Nordheimer the decision. “The Tribunal ought to have accepted the ESA permit at face value.”

The court found other errors with the Tribunals decision including the failure to consider other remedies than revoking the permit.

Prince Edward County Field Naturalists lawyer Eric Gillespie says this isn’t necessarily the end of the road. His client can ask for leave to appeal to higher court. He says he and PECFN are examining the decision to consider their options.

“A number of commentators have already pointed out inconsistencies with [Divisional court’s] decision,” said Gillespie.

Meanwhile MPP Todd Smith says the court’s decision demonstrates justice is out of reach to average Ontarians.

“The deck is stacked.” Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith stated. “Across Ontario we’re talking about small, rural municipalities with small budgets being asked to defend their citizens from the money of major multinational wind developers and the province of Ontario. Even when they win, they’re going to lose because they’ll keep getting dragged into court until the side with the most money wins.”

Smith says it remains within Kathleen Wynne’s ability to stop this project.

“This is a project on Crown Land,” wrote Smith. ” The government can pull the plug on it whenever they want. I can’t believe that they would use taxpayer dollars to fight the people of Prince Edward County in court.

“When Kathleen Wynne came to Quinte a few months ago and said she was going to listen to local voices on these projects, what she forgot to tell the people of Prince Edward County was that she was only going to listen to their voices if they said what she wanted to hear.”

More to come.

Comments (7)

  • February 25, 2014 at 2:02 pm Jp

    No government is prepared to face the wrath of the voters when they get the bill for cancelling the ill thought through GEA and all the deals that have been put in place.
    Liberals, Conservatives and NDP are all terrified of facing these bills and the voters anger that will follow.
    The Liberals ,Conservative and. NDP know the cost of cancelling the Oakville gas plant will seem like chump change by comparison.

    • February 25, 2014 at 5:16 pm Richard Mann

      If the contracts are cancelled for health reasons, there is no way the companies will be able to sue.
      True, it will go to court for a long time, but there is no way the wind companies could win a suit in open court.

  • February 25, 2014 at 1:47 pm Richard Mann

    Wind proponents still have not addressed the health impacts:

    *Canadian Family Physician (2013) “Adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines”,
    *British Medical Journal (2012). “Wind turbine noise”.
    *Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine (2014). “Industrial wind turbines and adverse health effects”.

    Our government (Environment, Health ministries) are ignoring this evidence.

    Lawyers call this “Willful Blindness”.

    Def’n (Wikipedia) Willful blindness (sometimes called ignorance of law, willful ignorance or contrived ignorance or Nelsonian knowledge) is a term used in law to describe a situation where an individual seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally putting himself in a position where he will be unaware of facts that would render him liable.

  • February 25, 2014 at 10:05 am Jp

    Possible ad in the Globe and Mail Real Estate section in couple of years.

    “Come and embrace County living neath the Industrial Wind Terminals.

    And you can enjoy the hum and flicker from every room in your house.

    Bliss “

  • February 23, 2014 at 1:45 pm BH

    The Divisional Court dismissed APPEC’s challenge regarding issues of human health.

    I attended the proceeding. The Court did not seem to pay any attention to the defence’s submission.

    Their conclusions, sections [117] to [128] of the decision reflect this inattention.

  • February 23, 2014 at 3:22 am Richard Mann

    Did the Court address harm to human health?
    Or, do we have to appeal to a higher court for that?
    Or, do we have to wait for a Charter Challenge? How long?

    I simply cannot believe more people are not aware of the ethics here.

  • February 21, 2014 at 5:30 pm Wolf Braun

    Ms. Wynne is both deaf and dumb to rural Ontario ! It’s all talk with zero substance. We turfed Leona because she didn’t listen. Perhaps we need to demand that our Mayor and Councillors sign on to the rural coalition (Warren Howard, Perth). Oh I forgot, the Shire Hall crowd only wants to listen when we tell them what ‘they’ want to hear. Democracy belongs to people, not government. We give them permission to govern us.

Comments are closed.