On November 19, 2015, the Environmental Review Tribunal released a decision in the Settlers Landing Wind Park hearing, finding that elements of the proposed wind project will cause serious and irreversible harm to the natural environment. This is only the second case in which the Tribunal has made such a finding and the first since the Court of Appeal decision in Prince Edward County Field Naturalists v. Ostrander Point GP Inc.
While the Tribunal dismissed several grounds of the appeal, it found that elements of the project, specifically the construction and decommissioning of Turbines 3 and 5 and the construction of certain access roads, will cause serious and irreversible harm to a woodland. Full reasons for the Tribunal’s decision were not issued and will follow in the future. This finding engages the Tribunal’s authority to revoke the approval, alter the Director’s decision (the Renewable Energy Approval) or direct the MOECC Director to take specified actions. It will be interesting to see both the process used by the Tribunal and the ultimate remedy resulting from this decision.