Construction project in critical habitat gets nod from Ontario court, Nature Canada dismayed

February 21, 2014 (Ottawa) – Nature Canada is dismayed at the decision by the Ontario Divisional Court to green light a construction project in an important site for endangered species.

The court’s ruling overturns the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal’s decision to stop a wind energy project in a globally Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA). The site is located on provincially owned land in Ostrander Point, Prince Edward County. Last year, the tribunal found that the project would cause serious and irreversible harm to Blanding’s Turtles, an endangered species. It also had the potential to harm bird and bat populations as well as important natural habitat. For those reasons and others, the Tribunal ruled the project could not continue.

Prince Edward Country Field Naturalists (PECFN), supported by Nature Canada, launched the appeal which stopped the project from moving forward. However, this latest ruling sets the bar even higher for citizens’ groups and naturalists seeking to challenge government decisions that pose a threat to species at risk and migratory birds. Nature Canada has long pushed for wind energy projects to be built in areas that make sense rather than in areas that would greatly harm local biodiversity and endangered species.

We are extremely disappointed with the court’s decision to overturn the Tribunal’s ruling and go on side with Gilead Power, the developer behind the project.

We do, however, applaud the efforts of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, led by President Myrna Wood, who worked tirelessly to protect this critical natural habitat from development.

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About Nature Canada:

Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Over the past 75 years, we’ve helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and the countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, we represent a network of over 45,000 members & supporters and more than 350 nature organizations in every province across Canada.
Our mission is to protect and conserve nature in Canada by engaging Canadians and by advocating on behalf of nature.

Media contacts:

Paul Jorgenson, Senior Communications Manager, Nature Canada
613-562-3447 ext. 248
pjorgenson@naturecanada.ca

Monica Tanaka, Communications Coordinator, Nature Canada
613-562-3447 ext 241
mtanaka@naturecanada.ca