White Pines wind power developer notifies intentions for vegetation clearing

On Good Friday APPEC had to sent a message to it’s members about a noticed it received from the WPD wind developers stating their intentions to start clearing vegetation and a request to the Environmental Review Tribunal to hear an urgent motion to lift the existing Stay on construction which prevents WPD from vegetation clearing in Blanding’s turtle spring foraging habitat. As a result, a number of news websites have published articles. Here are two:

From Wind Concerns Ottawa – Wind power developer uses threat to influence environmental agency
Power developer announcement it is about to clear land which is habitat for an endangered species is an attempt to force the Environmental Review Tribunal to issue a decision on the Prince Edward County wind power project, and proposed “remedies” for species at risk. Click here to read the article.

From Quinte NewsALLIANCE CLAIMS LAND CLEARING TO BEGIN
A volunteer Prince Edward County organization fighting to stop a big wind turbine project believes the hopeful wind farm developers are jumping the gun on the project. Click here to read the article.

Posted in Uncategorized, White Pines ERT

Judicial review of the White Pines cultural heritage process

The judicial review of the White Pines cultural heritage process brought by Liz Driver and Edwin Rowse against WPD Canada and Ontario will take place on Thursday and Friday this week (April 6–7) at Osgoode Hall, in Toronto. The hearing begins at 10 am each day.

If time allows please try to attend on one or even both days.  A good turn-out will be important to showing the court that the community cares about the Project’s visual impacts and the serious adverse impact of construction vibrations on the County’s cultural heritage.

Osgoode Hall is at the northeast corner of Queen and University. There is Green Parking underground next door at City Hall or parking across the street under the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Osgoode Subway Station is at the intersection.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Celebration of Bill Wightman’s Life

For those wishing to pay their respect, a celebration of Bill Wightman’s life will be held on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 11:00 am at the Wellington United Church, 243 Main Street, Wellington.

Ainsworth Funeral Home Notice and Obituary for Bill Wightman

Posted in Uncategorized

Sad News – Bill Wightman

The Times - Bill

The Times – Bill

It is with great sadness that APPEC informs the membership of the passing of Bill Wightman on Tuesday, February 28 at the Picton Hospital.  Many will remember the special dinner honouring Bill four years ago at The Grange. At that event Bill was honoured for all his efforts to stop industrial wind turbines from being built in Prince Edward County.

Bill’s efforts go back to 2001 when he led CREW (Citizens for Responsible Energy Production Through Wind) in its efforts to stop Vision Quest from building a wind factory in Hillier.  When that project was defeated at Council he personally fought Vision Quests’ efforts to build the Royal Road Wind Project, Bill along with a number of other individuals took the Council approval to the OMB (Ontario Municipal Board) where he was eventually successful in over-turning the Project.  Bill and his group were at the organizing meeting of APPEC in 2007 and he was a member of the original CCSAGE.  Bill has actively supported CCSAGE, APPEC and all legal efforts to stop the ridiculous (to him) idea of industrial wind turbines in rural Ontario and above all in the County. He worked tirelessly in the fight and was a chief political advisor on the subject.

At the evening at The Grange in his honour Bill was awarded a lifetime membership in APPEC for his many years of active involvement.  His strong presence will be missed greatly in the continuing fight ahead.

Our deepest condolences to Bill’s family.

We will advise about any memorial service when details are known.

The Times also has posted a tribute to Bill Wightman – click here to view.

Posted in Uncategorized

APPEC Report on Final ERT Remedy Hearing for White Pines Wind Project

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal
Remedy Hearing for White Pines Wind Project
January 27, 2017
by Paula Peel

tribunal-jan-27-2017It was a full house at the Wellington Community Centre on the last day of the remedy hearing. The hall began to fill an hour before the start time with a contingency of office workers from WPD’s head office in Mississauga led by WPD President Ian MacRae and some supporters of the project that showed up early clearly hoping to dominate the proceedings in numbers. However by 10 AM they were out-numbered by APPEC and PECFN members and supporters.

The hearing started with a motion from APPEC’s legal counsel Eric Gillespie for a ruling from the Tribunal. APPEC felt that portions of both WPD and the Directors’ replies were improper. Mr. Gillespie cited examples in WPD’s reply submissions of bolstering, repetition, misquoting APPEC and numerous attempts to restate issues to get another “kick at the can.” Mr. Gillespie asked that all these types of submissions be struck.

The Tribunal declined to make a ruling, noting that a significant amount of time would be needed to go through WPD’s submissions. However, Ms. Valiante said that the Tribunal would bear in mind the propriety of the marked paragraphs.

Ms. Valiante outlined the process for the hearing of closing submissions. As previously agreed, the respondents together had one hour. The appellants would take an hour and fifteen minutes. The respondents would then have fifteen minutes to reply.

Respondents’ Closing Submissions

WPD’s legal counsel Patrick Duffy began with submissions on the burden of proof. Mr. Duffy stated that WPD has mitigated for the harms found by the Tribunal in its February decision and having done so the onus now shifts to APPEC. When Tribunal Co-Chair Hugh Wilkins asked Mr. Duffy to elaborate, Mr. Duffy repeated that the burden of proof is now on APPEC. According to Mr. Duffy APPEC must prove that the remedy proposals will cause serious and irreversible harm.

Mr. Duffy then focussed on WPD’s plans to mitigate harm to Blanding’s turtles by compacting 15 kilometres of access roads to deter nesting turtles on these roads. He also discussed WPD’s plan to restore 8 kilometres of upgraded seasonal roads to pre-construction standards to address the Tribunals’ concerns about increased traffic and several others mitigations stated in previous filings.

Mr. Wilkins asked Mr. Duffy whether there had been a Road Use Agreement (RUA) with the County and if so was this in evidence. Mr. Duffy clarified that there was nothing in evidence. However he noted that WPD is committed to following its Mitigation Plan and does not anticipate any objections from the municipality regarding work on municipal roads.

WPD’s legal counsel James Wilson, outlined key mitigation measures for the little brown bat, including a 5.5 m/s cut-in speed from May 1 to September 30 at all turbines for the lifetime of the project.

Sylvia Davis, legal counsel for the Director, stated that the Director supports the submissions of the Approval Holder with the exception of their submissions on Dr. Brock Fenton.

Appellants Closing Submissions

John Hirsch
Mr. Hirsch referred the Tribunal to the Gruver Summary that WPD relies on for its claims of an 87% reduction in bat fatalities by increasing the cut-in speed to 5.5. m/s. Mr. Hirsch noted that this 87% reduction was with a cut-in speed of 6.9 m/s, much higher than the 5.5 m/s proposed.

Mr. Hirsch discussed recently acquired data of bat fatalities at wind projects in Ontario from government documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request. Mr. Hirsch noted 26 little brown bat fatalities reported at the Mohawk Point Wind Project in 2012.

As summed up by Mr. Hirsch, Stantec is proposing to experiment on the little brown bat population in Prince Edward County. He noted that the target of this experiment is an endangered species.

Mr. Hirsch asked the Tribunal to consider the Statement of Environmental Values including the ecosystem approach and the fact that the Province has changed direction and is no longer supporting large wind energy projects.

APPEC
Eric Gillespie began with the issue of the Tribunals’ jurisdiction. Mr. Gillespie noted that APPEC is relying on the remedy hearing for the Settlers Landing Wind Project (SLWP) where mitigations were dealt with in a different way. He noted that at this hearing on the White Pines Wind Project, the Director has provided zero evidence that he has even considered the proposed mitigations. There is no possible way the Tribunal could “stand in the shoes of the Director” at these proceedings and in fact to do so would be an error of law. The correct remedy is to revoke the REA.

Mr. Gillespie noted that all Parties have agreed that the onus is on WPD. However WPD is now trying to reverse the onus and put it back on APPEC when it is the Approval Holders’ very mitigations that will cause harm. Mr. Gillespie clarified that the onus is on WPD to address the Tribunal’s findings and show that no potentially serious adverse effects will follow from their mitigations.

Mr. Gillespie pointed to a number of holes in the Approval Holders evidence. The Gruver survey is not published or peer-reviewed and was created by a wind company consultant. The survey gives no information on project size, turbine size, location, topography, wind speed and other variables. Also, and most importantly, the survey fails to show that cut-in speeds post White Nose Syndrome are effective. With respect to the Approval Holders’ Blanding’s turtle mitigations Mr. Gillespie noted that compacting over 15 kilometres of access roads by up to 95% will radically alter hydrology in areas already prone to flooding. Mr. Gillespie also noted the potentially disastrous results of planting alien vegetation in a sensitive ecosystem. The Plans the Approval Holder has produced at this hearing are completely untried and untested anywhere in the world, let alone on the County’s South Shore.

Mr. Gillespie noted that APPEC’s expert witness Tom Adams is highly qualified to provide evidence on the province’s energy requirements. Mr. Adams has provided evidence that the White Pines Wind Project is not needed (the province has more than enough energy to meet demand for the next ten years) and that the energy produced from this project would be a “drop in the bucket”. Mr. Gillespie noted that Mr. Adams’ evidence was not contested by either the Approval Holder or the Director. Mr. Gillespie clarified the Director’s position that economic and social considerations need to be considered even if they are secondary to the environment.

Respondents’ Reply

Ms. Davis restated the Directors’ position that SLWP had a wider range of changes. She also noted that Mr. Hirsch’s submissions concerning the FOI request are not in evidence.

Mr. Wilson restated the mitigation process for bats in simple terms: line up wind speed, curtailment and the impact on little brown bats. He noted that the Gruver survey does exactly that.

Mr. Duffy began by reminding the Tribunal of some aspect of their mitigation at which time a series of objections were raised by Mr. Gillespie on WPD’s conduct in Reply. Mr. Gillespie again asked the Tribunal for a clear ruling on Reply Submissions but the Tribunal once again deferred the matter.

The Tribunal closed on a solemn note with no indication of a decision date other than that it would come before April.

Posted in Uncategorized, White Pines ERT

Set Aside January 27, 2017 – last day of ERT hearings on White Pines Wind Project – Wellington Community Centre 10 am.

At long last we are reaching the end of the remedy hearing.  On Friday, January 27 APPEC and the other three Parties at this hearing will be making their final submissions to the Tribunal.  We hope that you will attend this important event to show your support.

Over the past ten months of this remedy hearing Eric Gillespie and his associates have given their all to ensure that APPEC’s interests are protected and our best case will be put forward.  They have put a staggering amount of time and effort into this case.  Eric is deeply committed to convincing the Tribunal that the White Pines Wind Project will cause serious and irreversible harm to Little brown bats and to the Blanding’s turtle and the new mitigations that have been added will do nothing to prevent this harm from occurring.

Together with PECFN (the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists), our partner in this appeal, let’s show our support on January 27th for Eric and his team and our gratitude for all the hard work they’ve done, for our ERT appeal of the White Pines wind project, and for the County’s South Shore.

It is extremely important that the ERT panel sees how important their decision is to the people of Prince Edward County.  It is felt that a strong show of attendance made a difference at the Ostrander Point hearings.

Please come out on this final day of ERT Hearings.  Then we will await a decision.

Date: Friday, January 27, 2017
Time: 10 am (this is expected to be a full-day session)
Location: Wellington and District Community Centre, Highline Hall, 111 Belleville St., Wellington

Posted in Uncategorized, White Pines ERT

Good News to Donors – Official Income Tax Receipts

tax-receiptThe APPEC Board is very pleased to report that on Dec. 20, 2016 the Council of Prince Edward County passed a motion deeming the establishment of a fund to pay the costs of the combined efforts of APPEC and the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) to protect the south shore of the County as a project of community interest.

As such, the County of Prince Edward will now issue Official Income Tax Receipts for any new donations made to this separate fund, established by the County, for the legal costs and disbursements involved in our legal challenges against the proposed industrial wind energy projects along the south shore.

APPEC and PECFN have jointly entered into an agreement with the County for the handling of this fund.  This separate fund will be known as the “County of Prince Edward – Legal Appeal Fund”.  More about the agreement that APPEC and PECFN has entered into with the County can be found here.

If you would like to make a donation eligible for an official income tax receipt for 2016 there is still time to do so.  Cheques should be made out as follows:

      • PAYEE – made out to the “County of Prince Edward – Legal Appeal Fund”
      • DATE – dated on or after today’s date (Dec 22, 2016) and before January 1, 2017
      • NAME AND ADDRESS – the name and address on the cheque should be the name and address that you wish to appear on the official income tax receipt that will be issued to you.  If your cheque has incomplete information on it (for example your name is printed on the cheque but there is no address) please provide this missing information in a brief note accompanying your cheque.
      • SUBMISSION – Cheques need to be received by the County before year-end.  They can be mailed to our mailing address and we will get them in if received in time.  Our mailing address is:

APPEC
P.O. Box 173
Milford, ON
K0K 2P0

*or email us at contactus@appec.ca to arrange drop-off or pick up.

Please note that any donations to the County of Prince Edward – Legal Appeal Fund will only go towards paying the costs in our legal battle and cannot be passed directly to APPEC or PECFN, nor can any unused donations be returned.

The legal fight to stop the destruction of the south shore of the County comes with a high price tag.  With your full participation and commitment we will be successful.

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Unwilling hosts