Dear Mayor Quaiff and Councillors:
Re: Committee of the Whole meeting on Thursday March 24, 2016, Agenda item 6.7 Road Users Agreement and Community Benefit Agreement.
Approving a “Road Users Agreement” at this time is premature and could result in unnecessary and irreversible damage to the natural environment of South Marysburgh and Athol.
We have now fought a costly and lengthy legal battle through the Environmental Review Tribunal for two adjacent wind energy projects along the south shore. The Tribunal for the White Pines project found that the site was poorly selected. This Tribunal also found that the construction of the access roads, crane pads turbine bases and the upgrading of municipal roads would cause serious and irreversible harm to the Blanding’s turtle. A similar decision by the Tribunal in the Ostrander Point Wind Energy case found that the entire habitat of the same population of turtles would be irreversibly harmed.
It is the opinion of our two groups that Council should not abandon its control of County roads and its responsibility for its natural heritage. In requesting an agreement to cover 25 years plus two 10 year extensions equalling 45 years of occupation on the South Shore, wpd’s promises of future restoration of this wildlife habitat are meaningless. At the same time wpd has announced its intention to immediately remove trees, shrubs and other vegetation in the way of its construction plans.
When County Council rejects these Agreements and announces that it will await both Tribunal final decisions affecting County lands before taking further action it will be showing the leadership that its constituents expect.
Our organizations stand ready to provide any information on the Tribunal rulings that you may require in your deliberations.
Myrna Wood, PECFN
Orville Walsh, APPEC