Victory for Nature at Ontario Court of Appeal
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2015 (Ottawa, ON) – The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled decisively in favour of nature in upholding an Environmental Review Tribunal decision that the proposed Ostrander wind project will cause serious and irreversible harm to the endangered Blanding’s Turtle.
“This is a huge win for nature” said Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and General Counsel at Nature Canada. “The Tribunal’s approach to determining ‘serious and irreversible harm’ was upheld, which means that other proposed wind projects will need to consider impacts on birds and bats as well as turtles much more seriously than they have done previously, especially where proposed wind project road networks fragment habitat for species at risk.”
“Nature Canada was pleased to be an intervener at the Court of Appeal hearings in support of the appellants, the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN). Congratulations to PECFN for carrying forward this appeal on nature’s behalf” said Hazell.
PECFN appealed a decision of a lower court reversing the Tribunal’s decision denying approval of the Ostrander Project, which would have included nine wind turbine generators and supporting facilities on 324 hectares of provincial Crown land in a globally recognized Important Bird Area. The 135 metre high turbine towers would require concrete platforms, 5.4 kilometres of on-site access roads (in addition to the existing roads), underground cabling and overhead distribution lines, and a parking/maintenance yard at the north end, adjacent to a 25 mega-volt-ampere transformer substation for connection to the Hydro One grid.
“Wind farms simply should not be built in Important Bird Areas, which are designated internationally for their significance to migratory bird species” said Ted Cheskey, Senior Conservation Manager at Nature Canada. “Nature Canada strongly supports appropriately sited renewable energy projects, but important habitats for migratory birds and species at risk are not appropriate sites.”
About Nature Canada
Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada has helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of more than 45,000 members and supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country, with affiliates in every province. Nature Canada focuses on effecting change on issues of national significance including bird conservation, citizen science initiatives, urban nature initiatives, building a national network of conservation organizations, building a network of volunteers to care for critical natural habitat sites across Canada and being a voice for nature at the federal level.
Director of Conservation and General Counsel