Dufferin County still fighting wind power project: “we have a gun to our head”

UPDATED: Dufferin County, Dufferin Wind return to negotiating table

Wind wars

Dufferin County will return to the negotiating table with Dufferin Wind Power Inc. in hopes of avoiding expropriation. On Thursday (Jan. 23), county council directed staff to continue negotiations to finalize an agreement to grant an easement along the county-owned rail corridor. The agreement will be presented to county council at their Feb. 13 meeting.

Orangeville Banner

Dufferin County will return to the negotiating table with Dufferin Wind Power Inc. in hopes of avoiding expropriation.
On Thursday (Jan. 23), county council directed staff to continue negotiations to finalize an agreement to grant an easement along the county-owned rail corridor. The agreement will be presented to county council at their Feb. 13 meeting.
“It is different from what we’ve been doing,” said county Warden Bill Hill. “But when every avenue we’ve explored – and everyone else has explored – has been ignored and shut down by the province, the only option left for the county was to be faced with expropriation.”
According to the motion, Dufferin County has an opportunity to receive additional compensation and improved terms from Dufferin Wind over what would be granted through expropriation.
The warden explained the county was presented with a new offer from Dufferin Wind.
“There was a meeting with Dufferin Wind,” Hill said, adding details are not publicly available yet. “When the (Feb. 13) agenda is put out, you’ll see what has been negotiated, vs. what will be rammed down our throat by the energy board.”
Dufferin Wind spokesperson Connie Roberts said the company is pleased the county is returning to the negotiating table.
“Until an agreement is reached however, DWPI must continue to pursue expropriation to ensure the project is not delayed,” Roberts said in an email to The Banner. “This being said, everyone with Dufferin Wind is feeling optimistic that a positive outcome will allow DWPI to cease expropriation proceedings after the February 13th Dufferin County Council meeting.”
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has approved a leave to construct application from Dufferin Wind to build a 230 kV transmission line from Melancthon to the Orangeville transmission station in Amaranth.
The line will be above ground with the exception of sections in Shelburne and near the south end of the line.
Dufferin Wind has filed an application to expropriate the lands needed for the line. Approval of that application is immanent, according to the recent county motion.
“It’s not a matter of if this is going to go ahead or not. It’s a matter of what are the terms of it going ahead,” Hill said. “We have a gun to our head that says this deal is going ahead.”

Read the full story here.

Save The Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM) Coalition to be Participant at ERT


STORM Coalition (Save the Oak Ridges Moraine)

NEWS RELEASE January 24, 2014

For Immediate Release
STORM Granted Power at First Wind ERT Hearing on the Oak Ridges Moraine
Save The Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM) has been granted participant status at the Sumac Ridge Tribunal Hearing, Tribunal Case Nos. 13-140/13-141/13-142.  This is the first wind turbine project to be approved under the Renewable Energy Approval on the Oak Ridges Moraine.
The opposition to this project spans people from across the Oak Ridges Moraine, local citizens, municipal governments, First Nations, Buddhists, and STORM.  STORM Chairperson, Cindy Sutch will be participating in the hearing on behalf of STORM Coalition.  Sutch states, “the spirit of the Oak Ridges Moraine was certainly felt by everyone at the Preliminary Hearing today.” 
Since 2009, STORM has been expressing concerns with proposed large-scale energy projects being sited on the Oak Ridges Moraine to the Province. Aside from the fact the Oak Ridges Moraine contains a diversity of woodlands, wetlands, watercourses, kettle lakes, kettle bogs, and significant flora and fauna, it is one of the few remaining continuous green corridors in southern Ontario. The remnants of tallgrass prairie and oak-pine savanna in the eastern portion of this ancient landform are globally threatened ecosystems and will be impacted by wind development.
The Oak Ridges Moraine is environmentally sensitive, geological landforms that contains the headwaters of 65 rivers and streams and whose deep aquifer systems provide clean drinking water directly to 250,000 and indirectly to millions more. Due to the topography of the Oak Ridges Moraine, wind developers are attracted to this landscape to install their energy infrastructure projects.
To date, there are six wind turbine power plant installations that have received Feed-in Tariff (FIT) contracts all within the eastern portion of the moraine (east of the Region of Durham). This portion of the moraine provides both terrestrial core and corridor habitat and is a critical refuge for birds, bats, threatened and/or endangered plants and animals, and numerous species at risk.   Sutch added “the trade offs in terms of environmental protection for development is unacceptable and contravenes the spirit of established Provincial Policies.”
STORM was established in 1989 to raise awareness of the sensitivity of the moraine’s ecology to impacts from urban development and other land and resource uses such as aggregate mining, forest destruction and infrastructure projects.  STORM was represented on the two provincial initiatives charged with developing long term management strategies for the moraine, the second which provided advice to the government that formed the basis of the current legislation and policy framework.  The core of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP) is the recognition of how important the moraine is to the ecological and hydrological integrity of south central Ontario.
The Environmental Tribunal Hearing will commence on February 24, 2014 in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
Contact: Debbie Gordon
Senior Campaign Manager
Save The Oak Ridges Moraine Coalition
Phone: 905.841.9200

Appeal dismissals mean more $$$ for Ontario ratepayers

Appeals were dismissed yesterday for two wind turbine projects meaning that they will proceed unless they are appealed to the courts. 

 
The South Kent Project approved today for Samsung/Pattern in Chatham-Kent is huge— 270 MW.  The Adelaide project approved today for Suncor in Middlesex County is  40 MW.
 
Here are the costs from these projects for Ontario electricity users:
 
                                        South Kent        Adelaide        Total
Annual Cost in $ Millions      $    92.6              13.7         $106.3
20 year Cost  in $ Millions    $1,852.0          $274.4        2,126.3
 
The annual cost for these two projects alone works out to $22.15 per household for 20 years.
 
The decision on the 270-MW K2 project appeal is expected by the end of January.  
 
This has been (another) costly week for Ontario ratepayers.

Platinum ERT decision expected today

WIND ENERGY

Decision by Environmental Review Tribunal expected Monday 158

By Ellwood Shreve, Chatham Daily News

Tim Verbeek, an owner of Platinum Produce greenhouse, pictured on right, believes a concerted was made to get two turbines constructed, which are part of the South Kent Wind project, that his family business has an appeal over with the Environmental Review Tribunal. A decison from the ERT is expected on Monday. Diana Martin/Chatham Daily News/QMI Agency
Tim Verbeek, an owner of Platinum Produce greenhouse, pictured on right, believes a concerted was made to get two turbines constructed, which are part of the South Kent Wind project, that his family business has an appeal over with the Environmental Review Tribunal. A decison from the ERT is expected on Monday. Diana Martin/Chatham Daily News/QMI Agency 

Tim Verbeek has grown increasingly frustrated watching two wind turbines be constructed, despite the fact his family business has an appeal concerning the structures before the Environmental Review Tribunal.
A decision is expected Monday over the turbines, and Verbeek, whose family owns Platinum Produce greenhouse located south of Highway 401 on Communications Road, said it appears a concerted effort was made to get the two turbines erected before the decision is handed down.
The turbines in question are part of the South Kent Wind Project, a joint venture of Pattern Energy Group and Samsung Renewable Energy Inc.
Verbeek told The Chatham Daily News he findings it “coincidental” the two turbines that are in the appeal were built before others in the area.
However, Pattern and Samsung are well within their rights to construct the turbines, said environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie, who is representing Platinum Produce in its appeal to the ERT.
Gillespie said sometimes when an ERT appeal is launched, there is an automatic stop of the permit.
“In this case, the Ontario government decided to let them go ahead anyway, even if there is an appeal,” he added.
But this isn’t the first time the lawyer has seen this happen.
Gillespie, who represented the appellants that challenged the approval of the Kent Breeze Wind Farm near Thamesville in 2011, said Suncor Energy continued with construction of the project despite the matter being before the ERT.
“This is where many people would say there is a major disconnect between the government and the people living where these projects are moving ahead,” he said.
“The government has given an appeal right, but still allows wind companies to proceed as if there is no appeal,” Gillespie added. “That has been very difficult for many people to understand.”
The Daily News covered the Platinum Produce issue in December when Verbeek raised concerns then about construction of the turbines proceeding.
The location of the two turbines near the greenhouse was amended, because they were located inside the minimum setback of 550 metres of a bunkhouse used by workers at the greenhouse.
Pattern Energy previously told The Daily News it’s reason for proceeding with construction is it has Ministry of Environment approval to proceed on the amended layout for the project.
Platinum Produce is still objecting to the two turbines being located near the greenhouse, with one being within 240 metres. The model of turbine being used in the South Kent Wind Project can hurl chunks of ice that can buildup on the blades, up to 275 metres.

Read the entire story here.

St. Columban appeal dismissed; power project to cost Ontario millions

The appeal of the St. Columban wind power project has been dismissed, in a decision released by the Environmental Review Tribunal. The Tribunal said the appellants had failed to demonstrate any risk of serious harm to human health. The decision is here.
The 33-MW power project is being developed by Veresen Inc., and is located in the Municipality of Huron East.
The cost to the people of Ontario for this one wind power project will be $11.3 million, annually.

Dufferin Wind appeal is dismissed

DECISION
[523] The Tribunal finds that the Appellants have not established that engaging in the Project as approved will cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment.
[524] The Tribunal finds that the Appellants have not established that engaging in the Project as approved will cause serious harm to human health.
[525] The Tribunal finds that the Appellants have not established, on the facts of this case, that the renewable energy approval process violated the Appellants’ right to security of the person under section 7 of the Charter.
Appeals Dismissed 
Good afternoon,
 
The decision with respect to the above noted file is issued on December 23, 2013.
 
The Tribunal will not be mailing a copy of the decision to the parties.
 
The decision will be available on the Tribunal’s website: http://www.ert.gov.on.ca

Community undaunted: Manvers community to file appeal today

Storm or no storm, wind opponents will file an appeal by Dec. 24  

Credit:  Storm or no storm, wind opponents will file an appeal by Dec. 24; Manvers Wind Concerns is leading the charge against the decision for wpd Canada to build five wind turbines | Kawartha Lakes This Week | December 23, 2013 | www.mykawartha.com ~~
Manvers Township residents opposed to a recently approved wind energy project near Bethany are determined to meet the Dec. 24 deadline to file an appeal to the Province.
Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble said there is a team in place working hard to prepare the appeal, and much of that work was already done “because the community was prepared for the possibility the project would be approved.”
Coun. Stauble said when wpd Canada’s Sumac Ridge five wind turbines were approved earlier this month, the Province virtually ignored the 2,874 comments from the public opposing the project.
She said the deadline to appeal changed to Dec. 24, and the weekend’s severe ice storm that hammered the region has made filing its appeal in Toronto “challenging,” but confirmed it will be done.
The councillor added that given the number of people who submitted comments to the Province, “it would not look good at all if they don’t grant the appeal.”
Following the filing a request for an appeal, a Notice of a Preliminary Hearing date will be sent to every individual or organization who filed a comment with the Environmental Registry, Coun. Stauble said.
“Any individual or organization may then apply for status as a party, participant or presenter at the environmental tribunal anytime up to four days before the preliminary hearing date.”
In an email sent to her constituents, Coun. Stauble advised residents who live in the area and any individuals or organizations who have an interest can express their concerns at the tribunal. A lawyer is not necessary for this process.
She said there is no guarantee the group — headed by Manvers Wind Concerns — will win the appeal, but remains hopeful the multi-million dollar Cham Shan Buddhist Temple planned for the City may carry some weight.
The four temples, one in Cavan-Monaghan (almost completed) and three more planned in the City, is overseen by the Buddhist Association of Canada and represents a meditational pilgrimage that mirrors the same in China.
Coun. Stauble, noting the project could represent an investment of up to $100 million and is in jeopardy, as the Buddhists feel the wind turbines would have a negative impact on a temple promoting peaceful meditation.
“They have made it clear they will not build the remaining three temples” if the wind project goes forward, she said.
Coun. Stauble recalled a recent meeting with Minister Bob Chiarelli, also attended by local MPP Laurie Scott “where we were told there would be more discussion” before wind projects for the City were approved. Pointing to current legislation protecting the environmentally sensitive Oak Ridges Moraine, Coun. Stauble said by approving wind energy projects, the Province “is overriding its own legislation.”
She added this will be “a Christmas [the community] will never forget.”
For those who would like to know more about the legal Appeal or would like to make a financial contribution, contact manverswindconcern@gmail.com or visit http://manverswindconcerns.wordpress.com.

Source:  Storm or no storm, wind opponents will file an appeal by Dec. 24; Manvers Wind Concerns is leading the charge against the decision for wpd Canada to build five wind turbines | Kawartha Lakes This Week | December 23, 2013 | www.mykawartha.com

Goulais bay appeal concludes; Ontario awaits ruling

The appeal of one of two wind power projects in Ontario’s Algoma region has concluded; a ruling may not come down for months.

Appeal completed; ruling could take months

By Elaine Della-Mattia, Sault Star

(QMI Agency file photo)
(QMI Agency file photo)
  • A decision into the appeal of the Goulais Wind Farm project may not be rendered until mid April.

An Environmental Review Tribunal heard arguments for more than two days earlier this week from opponents who don’t want to see a wind farm created in Goulais.
The appeal was filed by Heyden resident Doug Moseley with the assistance of Lake Superior Action Research Conservation (LSARC) and the law offices of Eric Gillespie. The appeal was also supported by the Save Our Algoma Region (SOAR) groups.
In October, it was announced that the Goulais Wind Farm project had been approved by the provincial government.
The decision, posted on the Ontario Environmental Registry, said the renewable energy approval has been issued to SP Development Limited Partnership to engage in a renewable energy project for a Class 4 wind facility that will have a total capacity of 25 MW.
The 11-wind turbine facility must be built and operational within three years.
But opponents argued that the industrial wind turbines are harmful to human health and disruptive and destructive to the natural environment and wildlife habitat.
They also argued that the wind turbines contribute to the rising cost of electricity and are totally unnecessary to produce clean energy in Ontario.
Involved parties will file their final written submissions to the tribunal by Jan. 20 and a decision on the appeal is expected to be made before April 22.

Read the full story here.

Health effects the focus of Armow ERT

Here from Bayshore Broadcasting, a report on the first official day of the Armow Environmental Review Tribunal hearing. The audio clip is of engineer William Palmer.

Health Effects at Wind Turbine Tribunal

Friday, December 20, 2013 7:00 AM by John Divinski
Hearings into an appeal against a wind project, centred on medical testimony

There is audio for this story.

MP3 - click to open

click to open MP3 version
or click the play button to listen now.

(Kincardine ) – Much of the first day of hearings by the Environmental Review Tribunal into an appeal against the Armow Wind Project in the Kincardine region centred on qualifications of a presenter and whether or not anecdotal medical testimony would be allowed without formal medical diagnosis.
Retired engineer Bill Palmer was the subject of questioning by counsel for the Director, Ministry of the Environment, Danielle Meuleman and counsel for the Approval Holder, Samsung Pattern, Sarah Powell and appellant counsel Asha James.
Palmer says after the submissions from the three parties, the tribunal reserved judgement as to whether or not Palmer can testify as an expert.
The MOE and Samsung Pattern have concerns in that area.
Palmer says he’s asked to be qualified as a professional engineer to testify about the public safety and acoustic issues that will relate to the Armow project.
Earlier in the day, the tribunal dismissed any effort to exclude medical evidence that wasn’t backed up by formal medical diagnosis.
ERT Chair Marcia Valiante said witnesses could testify to personal health effects and symptoms but they could not draw conclusions from those events.
Appellate lawyer Asha James says she believes the tribunals decision is the correct one.
The hearings come as a result of an appeal by Ken and Sharon Kroeplin who charge the Armow wind project could be a major threat to their health.
The Kroeplins say one of the more than 90 turbines to be constructed will be within 600 metres of their home.
The hearings are continuing today and an additional three weeks have been set aside in January, beginning on the 6th.
The Armow Wind project was approved by the province in October.

Environmental Review Tribunal issues stay against turbine construction near Wainfleet

The Environmental and Lands Review Tribunal has issued a stay against the construction of two industrial-scale wind turbines near Wainfleet, Ontario.

Precedent setting decision stops wind turbine construction

TORONTO, Dec. 12, 2013 /CNW/ – The Environmental Review Tribunal of Ontario has ordered a stay preventing the construction of two industrial wind turbines in Wainfleet, Ontario.
The motion, decided by Executive Chair Lynda Tanaka who oversees the ERT, OMB and three other tribunals, temporarily stops the construction of two turbine towers during the appeal of the Ministry of the Environment’s approval of the project. The Appellants, Skydive Burnaby Inc. and the company’s co-owner Mikel Pitt, argue the turbines are too close to their skydiving school.
“We’re so relieved,” said Pitt, “This project is a real threat to our business and the Tribunal appears to have recognized that at this early stage.”
The Appellants’ lawyer, Eric Gillespie, has argued a number of Industrial Wind Turbine appeals in Ontario.  Gillespie said, “this is a precedent setting decision, it’s the first time a stay has been ordered during a Renewable Energy Approval appeal. We’re very pleased for our clients.”
Gillespie’s associate, lawyer Ian Flett remarked, “the Tribunal gave all the parties a fair opportunity to make our cases, we’re happy with the result”.
The hearing of the main appeal is scheduled to begin January 6, 2014 in Wainfleet, Ontario.
SOURCE Eric K. Gillespie Professional Corporation

For further information: Ian Flett at 416-703-7034 or iflett@gillespielaw.ca