Grounds for PECFN and APPEC appeals of Ostrander Point
The PECFN and APPEC appeals of the Ostrander Point wind project approval have been posted on the government’s Environmental Bill of Rights website, indicating that the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) process is underway.
PECFN is listed as the Appellant and APPEC as the Additional Appellant, presumably because PECFN filed its appeal first. The two appeals are being managed and funded by each organization independently of each other; however, each organization has retained Eric Gillespie as its legal counsel. The two appeals will be heard at one sitting of the ERT.
The early stages involve the disclosure of evidence by all parties and the resolution of disputes over procedure. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 5, and the main hearing begins March 4. The venue has not yet been specified.
A summary of both appeals is available on the EBR at http://tinyurl.com/ay62wdj . Following are excerpts from this posting, for each of PECFN and APPEC.
Grounds for the PECFN appeal — natural environment
The Appellant asserts grounds to demonstrate that engaging in the renewable energy project will cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment, including:
1. Ostrander Point Crown Land is in the centre of the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area (“IBA”).
2. During spring and fall, the geographical and habitat features of the peninsula that forms Prince Edward County act as a funnel for birds on migration. Ostrander Point is also adjacent to the Prince Edward National Wildlife Area and the Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area.
3. 14 priority species listed by Ontario Partners in Flight 2008 breed at Ostrander Point.19 species at risk are found at Ostrander Point.
4. Ostrander Point has also been designated a Candidate Area of Natural and Scientific Interest by the Ministry of Natural Resources.
5. The area is subject to the cumulative effects of multiple projects.
6. This is one of the most important landfall sites in Ontario. This particular site is unique in that birds are ascending and descending during migration, whereas normally they migrate above the typical height of wind turbines. Migrating birds in this area can, therefore, be found at tower height, and are tired and stressed when descending, they are at much greater risk of collision with wind turbines.
7. The Project area also hosts migrating populations of both bats and butterflies which will also be injured or killed by the operation of the turbines.
8. All these species will be subjected to direct serious and irreversible harm from collision mortality as a result of the operation of the project.
9. The areas where turbine sites, transmission lines, transformers and access roads will be located are also prime temporary, as well as permanent, and breeding habitat for many species including threatened and endangered birds, bats, monarch butterflies and other land-based populations i.e., turtles and snakes. Much of this habitat will be lost and many of these species will be displaced.
Grounds for the APPEC appeal — human health
The Additional Appellant asserts several grounds to demonstrate that engaging in the renewable energy project will cause serious harm to human health, including:
1. Industrial wind turbines are known to cause a range of serious health effects in approximately 5-30 per cent of the population. These health effects are sleep disturbance, headache, tinnitus, ear pressure, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring, tachycardia, irritability, problems with concentration, memory and panic episodes associated with sensations of internal pulsation or quivering when awake or asleep, excessive tiredness, loss of quality of life, and the further impacts that these effects can lead to, these being increased morbidity and significant chronic disease and health effects.
2. These health effects are more likely than not caused by exposure to infrasound, low-frequency noise, audible noise, visual impact, shadow flicker, stray voltage and/or electromagnetic fields. The tonality and lack of nighttime abatement are factors that also contribute to negative health impacts.
3. These effects are produced by exposure to industrial wind turbines (IWTs) and will be produced by exposure to the IWTs in this project.
4. These health effects occur at sound levels starting at approximately 30 dbA, which is lower than the levels permitted by the REA for this project, and at distances of up to10 kilometres, which is much greater than the setback prescribed for this project.
5. If between 5 – 30 per cent of individuals at points of reception experience the health effects enumerated above, the impact of this project on human health will be very serious.