Government lawyer derails citizen appeal to protect environment, endangered wildlife
Ministry of the Environment lawyer steps in as Prince Edward County citizens appealed for a stay of unauthorized construction activities in endangered turtle habitat
April 6, 2016, Picton, Ontario — STATEMENT FROM ALLIANCE TO PROTECT PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY (APPEC)
First and foremost our great thanks to everyone who responded to our call to attend the Court of Appeal hearing. The courtroom was filled to capacity with no seats left empty. The numbers left an impression on all present from the judge to the security guards who were curious about what case all the commotion was about. It was a packed courtroom by anyones’ standards and we thank all of you who made this possible. Our special thanks to Mayor Quaiff and Warren Howard of Wind Concerns Ontario.
However the outcome of today’s hearing is not what we had hoped for. On our arrival we had hoped that Justice Katherine van Rensburg would hear our appeal and our new evidence including aerial photography of the destruction that has occurred at the White Pines project site since WPD began clearing vegetation two days ago, as depicted in one photograph attached.
Instead Sylvia Davis, lawyer for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, cited a ruling from over fifty years ago that only a panel of three judges could hear an appeal of this nature. It became clear at that point that the motion would not be heard until after the legal matter of whether this was properly before the court had been dealt with, with a potentially unfavourable decision. Rather than spend considerable time and money on legal wrangling the decision was made to withdraw our motion for a stay on all physical activity at the White Pines project site. The motion was withdrawn on consent of all parties and without costs.
We have received the written reasons from the Environmental Review Tribunal for its original refusal of our stay motion. We will immediately be going to the Tribunal to once again request a stay. As the saying goes when one door closes, another opens. More information will follow soon.
Lastly, there is a short article on the Wind Concerns website with another photograph of the after-effects of vegetation clearing at www.windconcernsontario.ca