WPD announces plan to clear vegetation in Prince Edward County, despite successful appeal against wind farm
“Fundamentally disrespectful”: Environmental Review Tribunal finds for the appellant in wind farm fight over endangered wildlife: developer decides to clear trees anyway
From the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, this announcement.
March 6, 2016
wpd has notified APPEC, John Hirsch and the Director of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change of its plans to begin clearing vegetation for its wind project. In an email early last week wpd stated that: “Further to the Tribunal’s decision dated February 26, 2016, I write to advise that wpd intends to proceed with vegetation clearing of private property on the Project site commencing on March 14, 2016.”
We are appalled by wpd’s chosen course of action. It is fundamentally disrespectful of the appeal process not to mention an ERT decision that to anyone’s mind would bring the White Pines wind project to a grinding halt. Instead, just four days after the Tribunal issued its decision to uphold the appeal, wpd is behaving as though the decision does not apply to them.
Vegetation clearing for turbines and access roads will cause irreparable environmental destruction. Of particular concern is the impact of heavy machinery that will be brought in on Blanding’s turtle habitat, where most of the wind turbines are located, and on Blanding’s turtles themselves as they emerge from their over-wintering sites early this year after a mild fall and winter.
APPEC’s legal counsel has responded quickly submitting a motion requesting the ERT to issue a stay of all physical activity associated with this Renewable Energy Approval until this matter has been resolved by the Tribunal.
APPEC, Mr. Hirsch and the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) note the similarities between wpd’s attempt to start on construction while an appeal is underway and a prior attempt by Gilead Power to do the same at Ostrander Point. In this instance the Ontario Court of Appeal had no hesitation in granting a stay on construction in order to prevent irreparable harm. We are confident that wpd’s attempt will meet with the same outcome.
Given the urgency of this motion we would expect that the Tribunal will issue a decision without delay.