No fixes for wildlife after wind farm built: experts at White Pines appeal

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project

 December 3


Paula Peel, APPEC

On Day 16 of the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT), APPEC expert witness Kari Gunson testified that the White Pines wind project will cause serious and irreversible harm to Blanding’s turtles on the Prince Edward County south shore, and Dr. Smallwood completed his testimony from Tuesday.
Ms. Gunson has worked as a Road Ecologist for 16 years and has co-authored 13 peer-reviewed published articles.   She was qualified by the Tribunal as a Road Ecologist, with experience evaluating the indirect and direct effects of roads on wildlife and their habitat.
Gunson focused on the large roadless areas around wind turbines T12 to T24 and T26 to T29.  White Pines will increase road density in habitat occupied by the Blanding’s turtle, a threatened species, and the new roads will be used by maintenance vehicles, by landowners to gain access to their property, and by farm machinery.
Moreover, Ms. Gunson predicts that upgrades to existing municipal roads, such as Babylon and Helmer, will result in more traffic and vehicles moving at higher speeds than at present.   Blanding’s turtles are at risk from vehicular strikes because they range up to 6 km, and in habitat, like the South Shore where soil is scarce, they will nest along the roads.  Gravel roads can be ecological traps where turtles are also vulnerable to predation and poaching.
Access road construction, said Gunson, can lead to changes in vegetation composition and in hydrology, with changes in water temperatures and levels impacting turtles which overwinter in wetlands.   Blanding’s turtle experts have recommended a 150m construction buffer from wetlands.  However, WPD’s approved Environmental Impact Study provides only 120m buffers and permits construction activities metres away from wetlands.
Dr. Smallwood ​continued his ​discuss​ion of his findings on Wolfe Island wildlife mortality for the purpose of understanding the impact of White Pines.  He noted that fatalities for 57 bird and bat species have been reported, more than in any other single project​ he has ever seen. It is probable that the numbers will be even higher for White Pines because of the migratory pathway.
If Wolfe Island rates are realized at White Pines, Dr. Smallwood predicts project-level fatalities up to 954 birds and 1800 bats per year.  Dr. Smallwood noted his concern with bats, which are drawn to heat-releasing vents in the turbines.  It is difficult to estimate how many small bats are killed as they are not readily detected in carcass searches.
Dr. Smallwood told the ERT that the best way to prevent harm is siting White Pines to avoid problems.  Little can be done after the project is built.   He strongly disagrees with claims by Dr. Kerlinger and Dr. Strickland, witnesses for WPD, that impacts can be effectively mitigated once the wind turbines have been constructed.
The ERT continues Friday, December 4, 10 a.m., at the Prince Edward Community Centre, 375 Main St., Picton.

What's your reaction?


  • Lynda
    Posted December 4, 2015 7:31 pm 0Likes

    Wow…that photo certainly brings things into perspective. Don’t those turbines add an aura of sublime bliss to that picturesque little town. It looks like aliens have landed….or at least foisted their Liberal socialistic wares on the unsuspecting countryside of rural Ontario and they do look like medieval killing machines to be sure.

  • Bev
    Posted December 5, 2015 1:50 pm 0Likes

    With so many Tribunals about so many different problems how can we be heard. We have tried at great cost with lawyers fees to try and stand up to these huge companies with unlimited resources. There are so many speaking out against the turbines but no one listens to us the people.
    How many species do we have to massacre or make ill including people before anyone will do something. It costs money to fight in tribunals and most people give up for lack of funds.Are we still a democratic society? Are we still Canada then why are we making millions for foreign companies and how did this Green Energy Act get to take the power away from municipalities that do not want these things. They are forced to take them against their will. I have never been an activist in my life but I have read all the literature I can get my hands on and I have formed my opinion which I am still entitled to I THINK that these monstrosities will bring nothing but death to wildlife and humans and the Canadian dream.

    • Lynda
      Posted December 5, 2015 2:17 pm 0Likes

      No, I don’t believe we are a democratic society. Wynne is not listening to anything we say. She won’t speak about this wind fiasco to anyone…not even the Mayor of Prince Edward County who requested to meet with her. ‘NO’ she said….she wasn’t interested. Democracy? Hell no….we are being dictated to by a woman who can’t even balance a budget. It’s time for people to get serious and try to save what’s left of a miserable existence under Queen Wynne.

  • Greg Latiak
    Posted December 6, 2015 4:38 pm 0Likes

    I am curious about one small detail. A long time ago the US and Canada signed a treaty about the non-interference with migratory birds. And yet Wolfe Island was allowed to be built, we are fighting about White Pines and Amherst Island is still pending. Seems to me that building these huge bird choppers right across one of the main migratory pathways should be construed as ‘interference’. What happened? Are we so obsessed about saving the planet that treaties about not destroying parts of it no longer matter?

    • Lynda
      Posted December 6, 2015 7:24 pm 0Likes

      Greg, you’re so right on the mark. The treaty should be honoured! Unfortunately McGuinty built the GEA with the help of his friends to supercede anything and everything that was written before .and Queen Kathleen is determined to carry on his legacy. That is the problem. It allows the government to do anything they damn well please with no concern given to what their subjects want or need. If the people in the Toronto area think the Liberals are on their side, they need to think again. As soon as they need more money, Torontians will be flushed just like everyone else. I have always said that money and sex rule the world. The former is obvious in this case…Between developers, government, consultants, construction companies and lawyers, I’m sure mucho dinero has changed pockets…enough for the criminals to notice that this GEA crap can be lucrative. We have to hope that the judicial review that CCSAGE is bringing before those who have the power to change it is an honest and above board process but I highly doubt it will be given the ‘work’ I’ve seen coming from the Tribunals and their judiciary. It is absolutely a moral outrage what they are getting away with.

    • Wind Concerns Ontario
      Posted December 7, 2015 10:49 pm 0Likes

      This matter has come up and a member of the US Bird Conservancy was a witness at the appeal. He has been known to say that the projects at White Pines and Amherst Island are an “international matter.”

  • saving the moon
    Posted December 6, 2015 10:50 pm 0Likes

    Not until Queen Wynne’s, Granddaughter Princess Olivia, is affected somehow the peasant’s shouldn’t expect any action on HRHs part. This is a travesty.

    • Lynda
      Posted December 7, 2015 9:00 am 0Likes

      It is indeed a travesty. We are all getting the royal flush from HRH while she sits on the throne thinking about gas. Before the election, she apologized for her gas mistakes…now that she is in office, we have to put up with the smell and she won’t even discuss it. I hope the turbines blow ill wind and dirty paper up her nose.

  • Barbara
    Posted December 7, 2015 1:11 pm 0Likes

    Look at the Complaint that was filed last week in Canada about “misrepresentations” regarding global warming.
    Involves billboards and the parties that put up the billboards. Another “Esther” like situation where anyone who speaks out or has a different opinion on issues can be intimidated.

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