Wind farm site not identified as wetland by consultant:Manvers/Sumac Ridge ERT
wpd Canada introduced their first witness, David Stephenson on Friday; he indicated that all setbacks from wetlands and water courses were adequate and within the rules stipulated under the REA.
Appellants lawyer Eric Gillespie reviewed Mr. Stephenson’s credentials as a Senior Biologist with Natural Resources Solutions from 1998 to the present. He also noted that the consulting firm’s website shows he owns the firm. Mr. Stephenson failed to mention this in his CV for the purpose of this Tribunal, instead stipulating that he had no financial interest in the outcome of these proceedings. Mr. Gillespie’s questions resulted in Mr. Stephenson’s admission that he has a personal financial interest in all wind projects as his firm does post construction monitoring work.
Eric Gillespie then queried Mr. Stephenson on what actual biology surveys he did himself. The answer was: none.
After revealing inconsistencies in Mr. Stephensons’ witness statement, Mr. Gillespiemoved on to the issue of wetlands, which is critical to this project. Mr. Stephenson was unable to produce field notes of his company’s work on the site in his witness statement; however, Mr. Gillespie happened to have some. The field notes show recordings of plant life commonly found in wetland areas; as a result, Mr. Stephenson was forced to admit that Red Osier Dogwood and Spotted Jewel Weed are wetland indicators under the Provincial classification & evaluation system. He further admitted that he failed to report these species as wetland species in their reports .
The hearings resume Tuesday at 3 PM in Curve Lake, and Thursday in Pontypool at 10 AM when Kawartha Lakes Councillor Heather Stauble will testify.