Ostrander Point Decision: Chance to enhance Ontario’s Green Energy Policies
Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, Nature Canada, and Ontario Nature have repeatedly urged the Ontario Government to protect Ostrander Point, and reject a proposed industrial wind energy project there. As a final decision on this project from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment is pending, it’s a good time to restate the key arguments for preserving this special place, and why the Green Energy Act would suffer a serious blow to its credibility if the project is approved.
However, by opening all Crown Landto development, an important government responsibility has slipped between the cracks: the protection of wildlife habitat. The most blatant and acute example of this is the proposed wind energy plant for Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County. Ostrander Point is a Candidate Area of Natural and Scientific Interest in the centre of the Prince Edward County (PEC) South Shore Important Bird Area (IBA). This IBA and the adjacent National Wildlife Area were designated globally significant under the congregatory (water fowl) species category and nationally significant under the threatened species category. Millions of birds migrate through the PEC South Shore in spring and fall — in even more dense concentrations than famed Point Pelee. In other words, this area is a super highway for birds, bats and monarch butterflies – the worst place to consider building 150 metre high wind turbines.
- Blanding’s Turtle – buying part of its significant wetland while destroying part;
- Whip-poor-will – hiring a graduate student to study its declining use of the habitat;
- Counting mortality numbers of migrating birds and bats for 3 years.
Developing wind energy in Canada, coupled with conservation measures to reduce all forms of fossil fuel consumption, is a good thing. But wind energy must not be produced at the expense of wildlife.