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Municipality, local citizen groups will discuss turbine approval appeals

Prince Edward County citizen groups opposed to turbine projects along the south shore, and the municipality itself, will discuss appealling the Ministry of the Environment’s decision to approve Gilead Power’s nine-turbine project at Ostrander Point.

PEC Mayor Peter Mertens has scheduled a special council meeting at Shire Hall for Wed., Jan. 2 at 1 p.m. to receive legal advice from the County solicitor in regard to appealing the provincial decision to approve Ostrander Point Wind Turbine project by the Jan. 4 deadline.

“The Dec. 20 announcement was obviously chosen so that the 15-day time frame allowed for preparation and filing of an Environmental Review Tribunal appeal would coincide with the busy holiday period — evidence of the government’s contempt for its own due process,” said Garth Manning, chair of the County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy.

Applicants for a hearing must state: “(a) a description of how engaging in the renewable energy project in accordance with the renewable energy approval will cause, (i) serious harm to human health, or (ii) serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment; (b) the portion of the renewable energy approval in respect of which the hearing is required; and (c) the relief sought.”

Ostrander Point is on crown land within the globally significant Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area.

“The property, on a major bird and bat migration route and home to several endangered species, is arguably the worst location in the province for wind turbines,” said Manning. “The MOE’s decision is an affront to the environmental community, which almost unanimously requested that Ostrander Point be designated as a “no go” zone for wind turbines.  It flies in the face of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, who recently recommended that wind projects be kept out of Important Bird Areas.

“Although MOE attached conditions to its approval, they will not be effective in limiting bird and bat kills among the millions that fly through the area twice per year, nor will they adequately protect the habitat of resident species at risk such as whip-poor-will and Blanding’s turtle.”

The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) will also continue to contest the approval.

“Both County residents and the broad environmental community have continually expressed their well-founded concerns and opposition to a project located in the middle of the globally significant South Shore Important Bird Area,” said Henri Garand, APPEC chair. “The threats to the alvar ecosystem, numerous migratory birds, and endangered species like the Blanding’s Turtle and Whip-poor-will are well documented.  It is unconscionable that the MOE would ignore these specialists and rely on inadequately-researched reports by Gilead’s hired consultants. All for a project that will produce a trivial amount of electricity.”

Senator Bob Runciman also blasted the Ontario Ministry of Environment for its approval of a wind energy project at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County.

“This decision goes against local wishes, it threatens migratory birds and bats and it makes no sense from an energy standpoint,” Runciman said. “And to grant approval just before Christmas is clearly an attempt to avoid scrutiny. It’s not only wrong-headed, it’s under-handed.”

Runciman was the author of a 2011 motion unanimously endorsed by the Senate of Canada calling on the province of Ontario to institute a moratorium on wind-farm development along eastern Lake Ontario until the impact on birds and bats can be studied.

The Ontario senator’s concern stems from the experience with the wind farm on Wolfe Island, also in a designated Important Bird Area.
“That development has a kill rate for birds and bats that is seven times the industry average in Canada, primarily because it is located in the wrong spot. It is one of the deadliest wind farms in North America.
The same concerns apply to Ostrander Point, which has been described by Environment Canada as one of the best areas for birds in southern Ontario,” Runciman said.

“The governing Liberals are in the late stages of a leadership campaign. The incoming premier may very well reconsider this failed policy – a policy that has alienated rural Ontario, bypasses environmental and land use policies, will cost electricity customers billions and is causing grave damage to the Ontario economy,” Runciman said.

“In light of this, it is an absolute disgrace that the Ministry has approved this project right now. I call on the government to step in and put a stop to this,” Runciman said.

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  1. Lori Cairns says:

    @ David and Chris,

    The CSG should have a job they are good at. How about emptying the bedpans?

  2. Chris Keen says:

    @David – Since the arrogant Jason Alford won’t have his paying gig as a shill for wpdin fifteen years, perhaps he could be caretaker at the new “old folks home” site?

  3. David Norman says:

    fed up, I got to thinking about your statement “we will all be living in a veritable old folks home”. In about 10 to 15 years time when these Industrial Wind Turbine monuments to greed and stupidity, stand abandoned and derelict, we could convert them to “old folks” homes. The steel towers could be cut down to say, 20 feet off the ground, and a circular saucer like building could be built on top. The massive concrete foundations could be put to great use in this respect. I figure these buildings could incorporate up to a dozen retirement units and have the added benefit of spectacular views. The old folks could sit out on their balconies and while away their days watching out for the exceedingly rare appearances of birds and other remaining wildlife that had not yet fallen victim to human folly. This would bring much needed economic stimulus to the County. No need to destroy and alter more natural animal habitat… the roads and infrastructure would already be there.

  4. fed up says:

    tourist industry dollars only create more low income, seasonal type jobs. Retirees cannot support our economy.
    There have to be other solutions. An economy based on these two factors is stagnant and unproductive. Young people will continue to leave—-and we will all be living in a veritable old folks home.

  5. Marnie says:

    Sorry, but there are a lot of us who do not “accept and embrace” the destruction of our county and the endangerment of an important wildlife habitat. It’s even harder to accept that despite great opposition the government has turned a deaf ear and given approval to this project. Our own municipal council has turned tail and will not appeal the decision. Surely it can’t be the money for they often spend our tax dollars as if they were water. Kudos to the Field Naturalists for at least making an effort to stop this development.

  6. Donna says:

    More tax dollars wasted! Council should accept and embrace the inevitability and necessity of renewable energy, then figure out ways to cash in on it. The Chatham-Kent area negotiated with the wind developers for improvements to their airport.

  7. Marnie says:

    Historically the county has been unable to attract industry and it’s not because people have fought it. Look at the many industries that set up at Loch Sloy Industrial Park only to leave again in short order. Nobody was opposing them that I recall. Like it or not this county is more suited to tourism and wine growing than to plants and factories. Maybe we shoiuld play to our strengths and stop trying to be what we are not.

  8. Paul says:

    If they spent as much $ encouraging it instead of fighting it maybe things would change just my opinion sorry Im off topic folks.

  9. Paul says:

    Industry has been discouraged in this County in the name of Tourism or Hospitality as you call it Marnie. The 401 argumant is lame Buisness leaders are afraid of the fight they ll face here..

  10. happy guy says:

    Marnie,, Would the land around the 49 bridge be close enough to the 401? I’m guessing but probably marginal farmland,close to water source,industrial power source and natural gas lines. Close to a workforce from PEC, Beleville, Deseronto, Napanee.Something in a non-union recognized company along the lines of a Goodyear or vehicle parts plant.Anyone talking to the Stronachs or the Loblaws owners families….they have purchased properties here recently. There are others but the question is who investigates these leads.

  11. Marnie says:

    Paul, there have been attempts to bring industry to the county for decades. The late Mayor McFarland was the only one who ever achieved much success in this direction. We are too far away from the 401 for one thing. All we have ever gotten in recent years are some government subsidized industries that lasted until the money ran out, then collapsed. we are never going to attract much industry as you can plainly see by the tenants of Picton’s industrial park. There’s a church, a school, a Childrens’ Aid Society building, a restaurant and a very large vacant car dealership but where’s the industry? We need to focus on what we do well i.e. the hospitality industry instead of fruitlessly chasing industries that are never going to come here.

  12. Paul says:

    Believe it or not these types of standoffs have been happening in this County for years.And the usual argument prevails Industry (any type) will ruin our wonderful oasis tourist won t come oh my (whats the County Debt by the way)Now our wonderful retirement community is struggling to balance the books but wait DON’T RAISE TAXES.Don’t create any jobs unless of course they are tourist based.That plan is not working folks services WILL be slashed taxes WILL rise infrastructure will crumble..Im not saying (wind turbines) I use that term lightly are the answer they are not. But we have to start somewheres there has o be some compromise some balance.Or what

  13. Gary Mooney says:

    Wants turbines, speaking of people who wine: PECWA, the PEC Winegrowers Association, is in favour of a moratorium on wind turbines.

    See the CCSAGE article at http://tinyurl.com/aot5gd2.

  14. Wants turbines says:

    I own 150 acres and I would gladly take two within 550 meters of my house. They would be quieter than lstening to all you people wine

  15. 553 Meters away says:

    To those in favor if IWTs lets put one 553 meters from your house and see how much in favor you are then! A bad idea no matter how you look at it, How about looking in your backyard and seeing a 550 foot tall ugly noisy monstrosity?

    Neighbor against neighbour, friend against friend!

    I would like to see one erected out of MC guiltys ass!

  16. Chris Keen says:

    “If we are to look for an unresponsive government in Canada, one which really has taken off the reins of democratic accountability, that has — at times — mocked or ignored the citizens’ most basic rights, one which has erased the line between what is good for the party and what is good for the people, let me nominate the soon to be history Liberal administration of the now departing Dalton McGuinty.”

    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/12/28/rex-murphy-the-award-for-the-worst-politician-of-the-year-goes-to/

  17. County Steve says:

    Yikes! This is turning into a streetfight! But can’t miss a good streetfight.

    Going back to Tom: Just because no other alternatives have dropped into our laps is no reason to take the only deal on the table. Lots of local bloggers in the course of this debate have offered lots of ideas which could have been explored, it the government did not buy into wind.

    I see no need to destroy our land and wildlife acre after acre to feed our thirst for power. It’s exactly that attitude that got us coal-burning plants, followed by oil and natural gas plants. We need power, so let the earth and inferior creatures suffer. Wind farms don’t save the world, they just destroy it a different way.

    Wave action has been used in Europe, but there’s about as many stats on it as on wind, which is God or the Devil, depending on who’s telling the story. Also, I proposed years ago the use of many small inline turbines in streams with a reasonably rapid flow. This has been used in Scandanavian countries since at least 1970. Quinte West PUC is now exploring it for the Trent River.

    To me, the government bought in with the wind corporations, and simply stopped looking. So, no. I’m not going to take the first offer that comes along. We need to be progressive, not panicked.

    We’re all on the same page when it comes to sourcing out alternative energy. But supporting the Ostrander Point project is simply backing the wrong horse. Wind farms have their place, and it’s not in Toronto, and it’s not in South Marysburgh.

  18. David Norman says:

    Came across an analogy to the wind turbine efficacy issue that I found quite wonderful; “The truth is that wind can only be a minor ingredient in a much larger fuel mix—but much like a fly in soup, which provides, like wind, problematic nutritional value. You could eat it. But why would you want to?”

  19. fed up says:

    Don’t believe in hell, but thanks for thinking of me. It would be warm there.

  20. Mark says:

    Council has called an emergency meeting January 2nd to deal with this. I think they are Fedup!

  21. really fed up says:

    In the beginning, I did not really care one way or the other about wind turbines. However, after reading the mind boggling multiplicity of simplistic and self serving BS and just plain ignorance and distortions of science from “fed up” on here, I stand firmly in the anti camp.
    Bully be damned and burn in hell.

  22. fed up says:

    In the beginning, I did not really care one way or the other about wind turbines. However, after reading a mind boggling multiplicity of simplistic and self serving BS and just plain ignorance and fear of science from the regulars on here, I stand firmly in the pro camp.
    Bullies be damned.

  23. Mark says:

    In Defence: That’s quite the spin (pun intended) you put on my comment typical of a windie.

    My obvious point was that Toronto knows Industrial Turbines harm the environment, are unsightly, lower property values, inflict various health issues and are a costly and poor form of alternate energy. That’s why they are being pushed to rural Ontario, out of sight out of mind. Hope this clarification was helpful for you.

  24. In Defence says:

    My response to the comments:

    To Mark’s comment about building IWT’s on the Toronto waterfront: If the argument that IWT’s are a visually offensive and enviromentaly unsound then your comment of “put them elsewhere” suggests that they are acceptable in someone else’s back yard where they are more visable not out on Ostrander Point where few would see them.

    To Suzanne’s comment: Wouldn’t daming a rather slow lazy river to create enough head pressure to run a turbine generator cause a great deal of enviromental damage/flooding above the dam? I believe that many people already use low energy lighting and have insulated their home to the max. Insulation does not produce heat it prevents it from escaping. At some point insulation reaches a maximum benefit. The general population is growing hence, more consumption.

    To Pete: What has the “Global Crisis” which encompases so many issues got to do with the bird population? Should we protect the birds at the expense of carbon free production of energy? Where are we going to meet future energy needs? Shutting down old carbon producing energy plants? I agree shut them down but, we have to fill the energy shortfall with something. The future expansion of Hydro facilties must be maxed out by now.

    To Doug and Fedup: Thanks for your pro comments and for the courage to step up to defend IWT’s or any other sort of carbon free generation.

    I just know this comment will generate a great deal of response..

    To Everyone, Merry Christmas

  25. Doris Lane says:

    Wind turbines donot create jobs, Maybe a few truckers make a little for awhile but after they are up they might hire someone to warch over them and you can be sure they will not be county people. These companies people that have worked for them in other areas. Even the security guards for the meeting for the South Marysburgh group came fromthe London area

  26. Marnie says:

    Maybe this is the time we don’t sit back and take what happens Doug. Maybe it’s too important. Maybe you have never seen a Blandings turtle or a rare frog because you have tunnel vision. Interesting that you think your neighbours’ views are a ‘laughing joke’. The approval of this project is a crying shame.

  27. Pamela Stagg says:

    If the wind turbines are such a good idea, why did the government make its decision about Ostrander Point known when businesses and environmental organizations were slowing down for the holidays? And why did it not extend the appeal process to accommodate those holidays?

    It seems the Ontario government is doing its best to subvert justice. In fact — with parliament progrogued to prevednt other forms of protest — maybe justice is becoming an endangered species in Ontario.

  28. Doug says:

    I have lived here all my life,and like the other lifetime residents,we sit back and take what happens is what happens.I am in favour of turbines,this 95% against is a laughing joke,do the math,only half the pop.voted,we need green energy,we need more jobs created to keep the younger generation in Ontario,not going west where the grass is greener,our council should be in full support of this for this reason,it could be stipulated that the IWT companies must hire and train local people only!I have hunted and walked the crown land for many years and have yet to see a blanding turtle,rare frogs or whatever else!I do indeed hope this becomes a great christmas present

  29. fed up says:

    Hydro electric power from the Black River? I was not aware of this as a viable option. Please explain how this could be done.

  30. Pete Johnson says:

    Tom,
    The problem will not be solved by building IWTS. Future generations will ask why, in the face of a global crisis, all some of us could think to do to was to build wind mills in an important bird area. IWTs have never been shown to reduce carbon emissions, close carbon producing power plants, or even produce electricity in significant amounts when needed. In Ontario we already produce most of our electricity with carbon free technology. Cars produce most of the carbon in our footprint. If the people of PEC really want to contribute to a solution to global warming they should drive less, drive small, and fix the windows their houses. Perhaps, instead of wasting all those tax dollars on a boondoggle foisted upon us by an unholy government/bigbusiness alliance we could think of better way to spend our money.

  31. Since Yer Askin.. says:

    I personally like the ” water snakes ” they are working on in Japan. Simply put , they are a series of floating rafts, hinged together. The generators are at the hinges and are powered by the action of the waves ! Non polluting , very scaleable , no shadow flicker, no infra/ultrasound or vibrations, no species harmed , no property devaluation. The shaded water provides fish habitat and lowers ocean temps at the same time. Tons of positives, very few neg’s.

  32. Tom,
    Your question avoids the arguments about this particular project, and is perhaps meant to do just that. When a proponent of IWTs at Ostrander Point can think of no good reason why they should in fact be placed there, it becomes convenient to change the subject. But, okay I’ ll play along. Firstly, as an advocate for true sustainability, I favour local solutions with a global perspective. I can think of a number of local energy solutions for Prince Edward County, but for South Marysburgh in particular, why not take advantage of the hydro electric power available at the Black River? Also, we could invest the money that will pay foreign energy speculators through the GreenEnergy Act in conservation initiatives. Anyone truly interested in saving our planet from the effects of global warming will recognise the need for all of us to consume less. The Green Party candidate in our last election, Treat Hall, got my vote for proposing spending government money on upgrading home insulation to make homes more energy efficient. This proposal would actually create local jobs and make a real impact on lowering CO2 emissions, two thing IWTs on the south shore won’t do.

  33. Mark says:

    It’s the location and the destruction it will cause. Are there any industrial wind turbine farms planned for the Toronto waterfront area? If not why not. Plenty of wind. Close to a hightly populated area. A lot less cost in transmission. No let’s impact rural Ontario where the impacts are not seen or felt in the big smoke. This has been a farce from the get go and the announcement 5 days before Christmas is a startling reminder of how little respect the citizens of Prince Edward County are given by this scandalous government. Power corrupted.

  34. Tom says:

    Every type of energy generation leaves a negative enviromental foot print.

    If wind is deemed bad for us what is good? Nuclear? Water? Coal fired or Gas?

    Why not just halt all energy generation and we can move back in time to pioneer days.

    My question is, what is the alternative. We need energy to survive and move foward.

    I await everyone’s comment

  35. Mark says:

    Good for Mr.Runciman. The Ministry of Environment of Ontario would have a most difficult time defending this decision if heard by an informed and independent appeal board. This is politics and backroom money deals at it’s very worst. It’s not just the money but the devastation to our rural community and it’s environment. The government could care less about the wildlife affected. The almighty dollar rules.

  36. Doris Lane says:

    Glad to hear the Mayor and council are putting in an appeal

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