This report comes from the Chatham-Kent Wind Action group.
Report on the Preliminary ERT Hearing of Platinum Produce vs South Kent Wind
The second appeal of the South Kent Wind project began with a preliminary hearing in Blenheim yesterday (Sept 5). Robert Wright was the only tribunal judge presiding. Two lawyers (Bunting and Powell) were there to represent South Kent Wind, and at least 3 lawyers (Jacobs, Horner and ?) were there for the MOE as well as a representative or two for the minister of the Environment. The appellant, Platinum Produce, was represented by Graham Andrews (from the Gillespie firm).
No one requested any status to present material or raise issues at the hearing.
South Kent Wind began by seeking dismissal of the constitutional challenge raised by Platinum Produce as well as a complete dismissal of the hearing. This was echoed by the MOE who also said that the Tribunal was not the proper jurisdiction to raise constitutional issues.
The proceedings continued as per normal while schedules, correspondence, etc were discussed… kind of like watching paint dry.
Eventually Horner for the MOE began his argument regarding the need to strike the constitutional part of the challenge, that is– the right to life, liberty and security of person. His argument was that a company (Platinum Produce) has no direct standing to make such a claim, because it is a corporation, not a human.
Bunting for South Kent Wind continued with the same opinion that a corporation can’t raise a charter challenge.
I’m not sure how things progressed after that as I had to leave. But here is a bit more background about the appeal…
One of the turbines was originally located less than 550m from Platinum Produces’ permanent bunkhouse. This was not discovered until the last day of the first appeal of the project which took place about a year ago. South Kent Wind eventually moved 3 turbines and reduced the power rating on another in an effort to correct their mistake and meet the (inadequate) noise requirements for the bunkhouse. They had to reapply for approval which opened the door for Platinum Produce to file their appeal in an effort to protect the health and safety of its workers (some of which are migrants).
BUT… what was the most revealing incident of the day came when I took a few photos. The leaseholders and at least one South Kent Wind employee in the audience, turned away!!!! Then they ran to the South Kent Wind lawyers to have the photos stifled. That really should tell you everything you need to know about the wind industry… those involved are guilty of harming others and don’t want their neighbours to know who they are.
Chatham-Kent Wind Action
This could get interesting. Could Platinum say they are suing to protect their workers (in anticipation of tighter workplace regulations, for example).
I think the legal sparks are really going to start flying now. The reason is the GEA has not specified how zoning laws will apply at and next to turbines. Gillespie mentioned earlier that some farm owners could get out of leases, since they are *less than* 550m.