OTTAWA (July 4, 2013) — Nature Canada is pleased that the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal has overturned a Ministry of Environment decision to build a wind farm in a globally significant Important Bird Area (IBA) along the shoreline of eastern Lake Ontario.
“This is a huge win for nature” said Ian Davidson, Executive Director of Nature Canada. “For the first time, the Environmental Review Tribunal has recognized that wind farms can cause significant and irreversible harm to wildlife, in this case the threatened Blanding’s turtle.”
Prince Edward Country Field Naturalists (PECFN), supported by Nature Canada, launched an appeal of the Ministry’s December 20, 2012 approval of the so-called Ostrander Project, which would have included nine wind turbine generators with a total capacity of 22.5 megawatts (MW) and supporting facilities on 324 hectares of provincial Crown land in Prince Edward County. 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.
In its appeal, PECFN argued that the Ostrander Project would have caused serious and irreversible harm to birds as well as to Blandings turtles. Nature Canada strongly believes that migratory birds such as tree swallows and purple martins as well as species at risk such as eastern whip-poor-wills would have suffered serious and irreversible harm and regrets that the Tribunal did not accept PECFN’s submissions on this point.
“Wind farms simply should not be built in Important Bird Areas, which are designated internationally for their significance to migratory bird species” said Davidson “Nature Canada strongly supports appropriately sited renewable energy projects, but important habitats for migratory birds and species at risk are not appropriate sites.”
“The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists and Eric Gillespie and his legal team did a fantastic job in terms of carrying this fight forward on nature’s behalf”.
For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Ian Davidson, Executive Director, 613-299-6973, firstname.lastname@example.org; or
Stephen Hazell, Senior Conservation Advisor, 613 724-1908, email@example.com
PECFN's press release on the same issue is available here.
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