Ostrander Point ERT
Ostrander Point wind project, owned by Gilead and OPTrust
This 9-turbine wind project, proposed for Crown Land in Prince Edward County, had its first public open house on January 17, 2008, more than eight years ago. From the start, it was strongly opposed by local residents and local business owners, who have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund legal challenges by APPEC and PECFN.
The project is located within the County’s South Shore Important Bird Area, in a proposed Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI), one of the last stretches of near undeveloped land along northern Lake Ontario. Ostrander Point, situated under a major migration flyway and staging area, is considered by naturalists to be the worst location in Ontario for a wind project.
The project was originally developed by Gilead Power Corporation which, in 2011, sold off a 40% interest to OPTrust, which invests OPSEU (public service employees) pension plan funds on behalf of its members and the Ontario government.
The main critical dates are as follows:
- December 2012: Project approval by Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).
- January 2013: The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) initiated an ERT, on environmental and health grounds, respectively.
- July 2013: PECFN won. The Tribunal revoked approval of the project, agreeing with PECFN that it would result in serious and irreversible harm to Blanding’s Turtle.
- August 2013: The wind turbine developer and the Ministry of the Environment appealed that decision. The Divisional Court overturned the ERT Decision and reinstated approval.
- December 2014: When PECFN appealed to the Court of Appeal of Ontario, the case was heard at the Court.
- April 2015: The Court found that the project will cause serious and irreversible harm to Blanding’s turtle, but that the developer was not given an opportunity to propose a remedy. So it has referred the case back to the ERT to address the issue of remedy.
- September-November 2015: Hearing dates commenced on September 2, 2015 in Prince Edward County, with the original panel of Robert Wright and Heather Gibbs presiding. In the meantime, there is a stay in place that prohibits construction at the site.
- June 6, 2016: PECFN won! The Tribunal found that the proposed remedies would not be effective. In this remedy hearing under s.145.2.1(4), the Tribunal has found that Ostrander and the Director have not proven, on a balance of probabilities, that the remedy they propose, consisting of mitigation measures. . .will protect Blanding’s turtle from serious and irreversible harm that would be caused by the Project due to road mortalities, predation and poaching. The Decision is at http://www.ert.gov.on.ca/english/decisions/.
- cancellation of FIT contract
- possibility of appeal by Gilead, MOECC on points of law only (considered unlikely)