An open letter to Mr. Rob MacLean, President, Gilead Power Corporation
[Letter written by County resident G. Gibbins]
Gilead Power’s recent advertising campaign appeals to Prince Edward County residents as “neighbours” and “friends” to support the Ostrander Point wind project. Let’s consider what Gilead has done to deserve this community recognition.
In 2005 Gilead obtained a permit for Crown land from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). Municipal council was neither consulted nor informed about the proposed project.
In 2008, when the Ministry of Environment’s required public consultation began, Gilead was already committed to its project and it simply recorded the misgivings which citizens voiced in focus groups. Subsequently, for example, Gilead dismissed the threat to migratory birds because it was based on the extensive data from nearby Prince Edward Point, not Ostrander Point.
Gilead’s 2010 Environmental Review Report also claimed there was no danger to protected species like the Blanding’s Turtle or the whip-poor-will from access road and turbine construction. After the public expressed doubts, Gilead applied to MNR for a permit to “kill, harm and harass” the two species and to “damage and destroy” habitat. Gilead has not withdrawn the application even though 1400 people filed negative comments on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry.
When holding the required public meetings Gilead has used only one format, the open house, which confines residents to private conversations with company spokespersons and which prevents any general expression of community concern. It has refused to hold a meeting in which individuals could ask questions and everyone could hear the answers in common.
Gilead’s dealings with municipal council have been no more accommodating. Despite prolonged discussions, Gilead has failed to reach an agreement with council over construction issues and road maintenance. Because the majority of comment has been critical of the project, Gilead is now trying to manipulate public opinion with misleading, sentimental ads promoting wind energy. It is also using the company website to list a bogus set of benefits and to misrepresent the degree of public support by encouraging fake emails to the local MPP.
How does this appalling conduct earn one the title of neighbour or friend? When is Gilead going to accept public opposition to the Ostrander Point project and, like a really good corporate citizen, leave Prince Edward County in peace?