Day 14 of Ostrander Point — Rob Nadolny (Stantec) on environmental impacts
Report on April 9th ERT Hearing
by Paula Peel
The ERT hearing focused on testimony by the first of Gilead’s witnesses: Stantec’s Project Manager, Rob Nadolny. Stantec employees Nicole Kopysh and Andrew Taylor were qualified as witnesses.
Qualification of Rob Nadolny
Mr. Nadolny has been employed at Stantec since 2006 and has worked on roughly 36 wind projects. His work often continues after an approval is obtained because Stantec also does operational monitoring.
Mr. Gillespie confirmed that Mr. Nadolny has done no field work at Stantec and has not published articles in scientific journals.
Robert Wright, ERT Panel Co-Chair, asked whether Stantec would remain involved after the project was built. Mr. Nadolny said that Gilead would have to award a contract.
There were no objections to the qualifications as stated. The ERT Panel found Mr. Nadolny an expert in “assessment and mitigation of environmental impacts at wind farms and other power projects.”
Examination of Mr. Nadolny
Mr. Nadolny confirmed that Stantec did preparatory work for Gilead’s Endangered Species permit and the Environmental Effects Monitoring Plan, is preparing an Alvar Management Plan, and has been retained to do a hydrological survey. Post-construction monitoring and management will be done in association with the Alvar Plan.
Mr. Nadolny stated that excavated surface material for the roads would be used to the extent possible in order to avoid bringing in material from outside. The roads will be constructed close to the existing grade wherever possible.
During construction the parking lot will be used as a central truck washing site. In Mr. Nadolny’s opinion, this allows for a trained person to inspect trucks coming on site.
Mr. Nadolny stated that lubricating oils required during construction will not be stored on site. Stantec’s emergency response plan deals with the potential for accidental spills or leaks, but Mr. Nadolny does not anticipate any accidents.
Mr. Gillespie proposed that the Alvar Management Plan and the Construction and Environmental Effects Monitoring Plans are works in progress. Mr. Nadolny said the public will have a chance to review and comment on the Alvar Plan, and the Construction Plan will enact all mitigations developed in the Alvar Plan.
Mr. Gillespie maintained that the draft Construction Environment Plan and the Traffic Management Plan are “skeletons”. Mr. Nadolny agreed that these are “skeletons” in terms of the overall process. For example, with regard to “stripping” and “stockpiling” soil and the phrase “to the extent possible,” Mr. Nadolny said that engineers will be involved in studies this summer.
Regarding the efficacy of truck washing at an alvar site, Mr. Nadolny stated that someone at the truck washing site would have authority to turn vehicles around, but he could not cite this in project documentation, which referred only to vehicles failing emissions requirements.
Mr. Nadolny confirmed that there is a preliminary geotechnical report and that more work is coming. Mr. Gillespie pointed out that conclusions about surface run-off would have to be made by an engineer or an expert in hydrogeology and hydrology.
Mr. Nadolny conceded that both a Decommissioning Report and a Site Rehabilitation Plan are works in progress.
ERT Panel’s Questions
Ms. Gibbs asked about the terms and conditions for Gilead Power’s Renewable Energy Approval (REA) as well as a list of all the documents and reports. Mr. Nadolny said a checklist was provided to the Ministry of Environment but appears not to have been submitted as evidence. He identified two “commitments”: a Hydrogeology Study and an Alvar Management Plan.
Mr. Wright asked about on-site supervision and public safety after turbine construction. Mr. Nadolny said there were no provisions for an office or management at the site and safety measures have been proposed only for the electrical substation.
Qualification of Nicole Kopysh
Ms. Nicole Kopysh has worked for Stantec on twenty wind projects since 2006. She assisted in the design of field data and surveys for the Wolfe Island project and has done the related post-construction studies of waterfowl and wintering raptors. At least six wind projects have involved significant habitat, and four required permits under the Endangered Species Act.
Ms. Kopysh is on the Steering Committee (formed by Environment Canada, CANWEA, Ministry of Natural Resources, and Nature Canada) for a national database of bird fatalities. Between 2001 and 2005 Ms. Kopysh was Assistant Coordinator for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas. She has a BA in Environmental Studies.
Mr. Gillespie referred Ms. Kopyish to evidence of bird fatalities at Wolfe Island. Ms. Kopyish said her work at Wolfe Island was in terms of disturbance.
There were no objections to the qualifications as stated. The ERT Panel found Ms. Kopyish an expert in the “assessment and mitigation of environmental impacts at wind farms with regard to birds.”
Qualification of Andrew Taylor
Gilead lawyer Doug Hamilton sought to qualify Mr. Taylor as an expert in the “assessment and mitigation of environmental impacts at wind farms with regard to vegetation and wildlife.” Mr. Taylor has been employed as a Senior Ecologist at Stantec since 2005, working primarily on Environmental Impact Assessments for twenty wind projects. Although Mr. Taylor does not do fieldwork, he has looked at habitat at two wind projects (e.g. White Pines) to identify species at risk. He worked on Blanding’s Turtles with the Ministry of Transportation.
Mr. Gillespie questioned Mr. Taylor’s qualification with respect to bats and Blanding’s Turtles. He argued that people who have spent time with an expert on bats do not then qualify as bat experts. Similarly, Mr. Gillespie argued that Mr. Taylor’s work on Blanding’s Turtles on Hwy 11 and Hwy 17 does not qualify him as an expert. Mr. Gillespie said that the bar for qualification should not be sunk so low.
Hamilton responded that the witness is being qualified as an expert in environmental impacts and has a wide variety of information with respect to all species.
Mr. Wright proposed that the witness be qualified as a “terrestrial ecologist with expertise in assessment and mitigation at wind farms.” There were no objections, and the witness was so qualified.