Tribunal to decide on bird expert witnesses at White Pines appeal

Will bird experts be able to testify at White Pines appeal? Ruling expected today
Will bird experts be able to testify at White Pines appeal? Ruling expected today

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on the White Pines Wind Project

November 16, 2015
Henri Garand, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward Count
On Day Six, the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) of the White Pines wind project considered a procedural motion to exclude two environmental witnesses, heard testimony from four health case witnesses, and then ruled on the proposed schedule of expert witnesses.
Eric Gillespie, counsel for appellant APPEC, proposes to call Dr. Michael Hutchinson, a director of the American Bird Conservancy, and William Evans, a nocturnal bird migration monitoring expert, in reply to two witness statements provided by wind developer/approval holder WPD.  James Wilson, WPD counsel, claimed these witnesses would either repeat evidence given by another APPEC witness or introduce new facts outside “proper reply.”  Gillespie argued that APPEC, bearing the onus of proof, has the right to reply to WPD’s experts, and the expertise of the reply witnesses does not duplicate that of primary witness Dr. Shawn Smallwood, an ecologist.
The Tribunal reserved its decision until the next day.
The afternoon was taken up by four witnesses who reside near the proposed wind project.  Each witness described pre-existing medical conditions and provided corroborative OHIP and physicians’ records.
Nora Bowlby, whose house would be 800 m from the nearest turbine, is concerned that annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, fatigue, headaches, and vertigo, all symptoms attributable to wind turbines, will worsen her psychological and neurological disorders.  She also worries that project construction and road traffic will damage the stone foundation of her 125-year-old wood-frame house.  She said that due to her medical conditions the house is a refuge, which she fears will be lost.
Ann McLurg, a South Bay resident, fears that low-frequency sound, shadow flicker, and vibration will exacerbate her post-traumatic stress. She said she has spent all her retirement savings in renovating a 160-year-old house where she feels calm and safe, and the wind project now threatens her health.
Deborah Cermack, a Royal Road resident who would live 650 m from the nearest turbine, believes that noise and infrasound would aggravate the migraines from which she has suffered since childhood.  The migraines would become intolerable in both number and severity.  Cermack said she moved to the County for peace and quiet and control of her migraines, and to “have all that taken away would be devastating.”
Andrei Sulzenko, whose County Rd. 13 house would be 600 m from turbine T 29, has suffered for nine years from periodic insomnia that triggered adverse health effects.  He submitted a letter from his sleep doctor stating that low-frequency sound from nearby turbines could cause sleep disturbance and insomnia.  He said the only remedy would be to leave his house.
All the witnesses reported that they had contacted WPD and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change but received no response to their concerns.
The day concluded with the Tribunal decision on the schedule for the balance of the hearing dates.  All parties had previously made written submissions, with the key difference being that APPEC had scheduled one expert witness per day and WPD wanted two.  The Tribunal ruled in favour of two witnesses per day.  The chair explained that it was the common ERT practice and the evidence is “nothing different from other proceedings.”
The ERT resumes Tuesday, November 17, 10 a.m. at Essroc Centre, Wellington.
What's your reaction?


  • Lynda
    Posted November 17, 2015 10:54 am 0Likes

    Why do these tribunals kowtow to big money instead of using common sense? Just because something is ‘common practice’ doesn’t mean it is right. People cross roads against traffic lights every day….it’s common practice. Does that mean it’s a smart thing to do? Turtles don’t have the advantage of traffic lights. Try explaining to a turtle the dangers of crossing a road to lay her eggs in a wind turbine farm. How are these tribunal people chosen to rule against citizens of Ontario? Is common sense a requirement? Is it a requirement for the tribunal judges to be experts in environmental studies in the same way that they rule that the appeals witnesses must be experts and yet denounce their expertise when they are indeed experts in the field? How is it that hundreds of thousands of people (not just Ontarians) who are being affected by turbines can be wrong and the tribunal/wind developers are always right? Why would the Ontario or Federal government for that matter, accept a field study done by someone who is not qualified and who works for an umbrella company that caters to government wishes even though they are going against their own recommendations? Just google Stantec in Barbados (the dump or the bridge) for an eye opening read. How is it that that Health Canada in the name of the federal government does a study (2014) that recommends a 1300 plus metre setback because of health issues instead of the current Ontario 550 metre setback and no one in the Ontario government listens or cares? Isn’t there a federal ruling on the books that would allow the Feds to intervene against the provincial government? The answer is yes although they have never invoked the priveledge. How can one government representative get a wind turbine project cancelled in his own riding (preceeding an election) and yet he won’t help others who are in the same predicament?
    The Green Energy Act is criminal….a camoflage that enables a government money grab and quash the wishes of the people. It’s not even financially viable. Selling off electricity at a loss and then raising electric rates doesn’t make sense. Why won’t Ms Wynne discuss the White Pines Project with the mayor of PEC or anyone else for that matter? Where is McGuinty now? Does he even reside in Ontario? What the he^^ is going on? I feel like I’m residing in a third world dictatorship!

  • Barbara
    Posted November 17, 2015 4:34 pm 0Likes

    They are supposed to be experts in environmental LAW and NOT in environmental SCIENCE. Two different things.

    • Lynda
      Posted November 17, 2015 4:47 pm 0Likes

      Ahhh…so they wouldn’t know an alvar from an anemone on a site visit. That’s really comforting tp know.

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