Stantec staffer qualifications questioned at Amherst Island appeal

Power developer says no turtles on Amherst Island; turtle experts and residents say there are.
Power developer says no turtles on Amherst Island; turtle experts and residents say there are.

Kingston Whig-Standard, March 18, 2016

By Elliot Ferguson

BATH — The two sides fighting it out at the Amherst Island Environmental Review Tribunal sparred over the qualifications of an expert witness Friday morning.

Andrew Taylor, an ecologist with Stantec Consulting, the company that performed environmental studies for the proposed wind energy project, had been called to testify on behalf of Windlectric, which has received conditional approval from the Ontario government to build up to 26 wind turbines on Amherst Island. Taylor was called to provide testimony about the impact the project could have on bats and turtles on the island.

Windlectric lawyer Arlen Sternberg said Taylor was qualified to testify about the project’s potential impact specifically on birds, bats and turtles.

“He’s got a lot of experience he has developed on those topics over the years,” Sternberg said.

Eric Gillespie, the lawyer for the Association to Protect Amherst Island (APAI), had opposed Taylor’s expert qualification and instead wanted him declared a witness with experience in wildlife.

In the end, tribunal member Robert Wright ruled Taylor could be considered an expert witness on the effects on wildlife of wind energy projects, but he did not specifically label him an expert on birds, bats and the Blanding’s turtle.

Sternberg had noted earlier in the morning that Taylor has testified at five other ERTs as an expert witness and has studied the impact on wildlife at the pre- and post-construction stages of wind energy projects.

Sternberg said Taylor was more qualified than many expert witnesses called by APAI.

Under questioning from Sternberg, Taylor said he has performed wildlife studies at 19 large construction projects, including nine wind energy projects, and had delivered testimony at previous ERTs.

“This tribunal has accepted him five other times as an expert witness,” Sternberg said.

Earlier in the hearing, Taylor provided expert testimony about the impact of wind energy projects on birds.

A 2013 study from Stantec stated there are no Blanding’s turtles on Amherst Island. Island residents have testified earlier in the tribunal that they have seen Blanding’s turtles on the island.

APAI’s lawyer Gillespie admitted that it is rare to challenge the qualifications on an expert witness, but he noted that Taylor was not accepted as an expert witness at the 2013 Ostrander Point ERT. Gillespie argued that little has changed in Taylor’s qualifications since then that would make him an expert witness in this hearing.

“We say nothing has changed,” Gillespie said. “It’s the same Andrew Taylor who is standing here.”

Read the full story here.

Comments

Theresa
Reply

“Taylor as conducted studies at 19 large construction projects; 9 of them being wind energy projects,”
A wind energy project has a complete set of different impacts then a construction project.
As the posting states, his studies are not specie specific.
I have an extensive intense experience of the impacts of a wind turbine development. I am a living species, a human being, who was a healthy middle aged woman before being exposed to sound radiation from iwts. I have years of medical documentation. It is evident that industrial wind turbine developments have a tremendous negative impact on all living species. The physical environment is dramatically altered, having a severe negative impact on the habitat of a plethora of species. The air is filled with low frequency waves, infrasound, sound radiation…creating a toxic, and for many, a lethal environment for a variety of many living species.
I am one of many living witnesses to the negative effects created by industrial wind turbine developments. With my years of real experience, I would consider myself to be an expert witness.
Prior to turbine development, I was a productive member of society. I was a healthy middle aged woman. I am highly educated.
I can provide much evidence as to the negative health impacts due to exposure to infrasound created by iwts. I have 18 1.64 Vesta wind turbines within a 3 km radius of my home.
I have testified at an initial tribunal, provided my medical documentation. I was ignored. I was insulted by the deliberate ignorance exhibited by the tribunal panel. Panel members apear to base their decisions based on what appears to be incompetence. In a decent court, a real court, these people need to be called to task and held accountable for their actions and involvement in corrupt government activity.
To focus on bats and species is just a very small component of a much larger issue. The government and wind industry has been acting fast and dirty with the iwt developments. It is such a huge issue that people are over whelmed, frustrated as to how to stop this insanity. As is, there will be no resolution to this as it is driven by an “international eco mafia”; with substantial interests here in Ontario.
I see it as the beginning of the end. If not an end to the government; the end of our constitution and life as we knew it, and life as it should be here in Ontariio.
We must bring down the government. PROTEST PROTEST PROTEST. There is strength in numbers. Each and every one of us must do our part. We may be required to sacrifice now (eg give up a days pay) for long term success; for the quality of life for our children and grand children.
Any other ideas? I can’t do this by myself. I need help. To do nothing, is not acceptable for me. With mt sensitivity to infrasound, I am becoming limited as to where I can live in a healthy safe environment here in Ontario. My only other option is to move out of province.
Here in Ontario we are indirectly affected by the green energy act; it is evident in our escalating hydro bills. As the turbine developments continues to encroach on us here in Ontario, it’s a matter of time before turbines will be a part of your community as well. In time, you will find more and more people becoming ill and deceased from illness’ such as stroke, heart attack, diabetes, dementia and various cancers, which can be linked to exposure to sound radiation from industrial wind turbines.
Children, the elderly, and women experience the worst effects. We need to act now to keep our families safe.

Leave a comment

name*

email* (not published)

website