Fighting for the environment in Prince Edward County
County Weekly News, September 28, 2015
PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – They’ve fought the fight for 14 years and pledge to fight another 14 and then some.
A couple of hundred people gathered Sunday afternoon at Milford Fairgrounds for a rally organized by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) in the continued effort to keep wind turbines away from the municipality’s south shore.
With two developments slated for Athol and South Marysburgh wards, including 36 turbines, rally-goers heard from a number of local politicians, they must continue the battle in an effort to keep the region turbine free.
South Marysburgh Coun. Steve Ferguson told the crowd the developments equated to a loss of democratic rights.
“In 2012 Steve Campbell wrote an article… the article went on to explain the resolve of the people of South Marysburgh to take a stand against the loss of democratic rights in this ward – a vote was held and an overwhelming majority voted against industrial turbines,” he said. “But we came together as a group and a community and expressed an opinion – we’ve made an impression.”
Ferguson said it was important to have as many local residents as possible show up for appeal hearings for the wpd Canada White Pines (27 turbines) and Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) hearings for Gilead Power’s (nine turbine) Ostrander Point development.
“The pre-hearing for wpd set for earlier this month was set back because residents had not received proper correspondence indicating how they could participate,” Ferguson said. “The ERT, which begins again for Ostrander Point on Oct. 27, — it’s crucially important that we fill every seat in that (Demorestville) hall every day and ditto for (White Pines) when that resumes in Wellington in November. We have to have a strong presence to let the Tribunal know just how the people in South Marysburgh feel.”
Prince Edward Field Naturalists president Myrna Wood said the developments threaten wildlife and natural habitat in the region.
“Today, the endangered species list in Ontario stands at 217 and the main reason of species decline is habitat loss,” she said. “We humans take over the lands and waters they need and now is the time for us to preserve the remaining habitats for their survival – that is Prince Edward County’s south shore which is one of the last remaining habitats. It provides food and shelter for millions of birds that travel from South America to Canada’s north and back again every year. Constructing these turbine projects will destroy hundreds of hectares of shrubs, trees and wetlands on which the birds depend.”
Prince Edward – Hastings MPP Todd Smith agreed, telling the crowd he was disappointed to see the effects of another development in Ontario.
“I was visiting Huron County where they have hundreds of turbines erected and I was shocked not to see a single bird flying there,” he said. “There was nothing – it was dead and that’s exactly what is going to happen in Prince Edward County if these (projects) proceed. What it has done is rip apart the community with friends no longer being friends and families even being torn apart. It’s doing the same thing here and on top of all that – we don’t need the power.”
As a sign of solidarity and protest, rally-goers joined hands and formed a circle around Milford’s beloved Mount Tabor Community Theatre.
APPEC chairman Gord Gibbons said if a planned turbine is erected just south of the theatre, it will damage the village’s heritage forever.
“It’s planned for just behind the property here and it would have devastating effects on this community,” he said. “It simply cannot be allowed to proceed.”