Remedy hearing proceeds for wind turbines

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Wpd will be given an opportunity to provide remedial action after a tribunal ruled wind turbines to be located near two aerodromes in Clearview Township threaten the health and safety of pilots, and little brown bats.

The Environmental Review Tribunal heard from parties during conference calls in December on procedural issues regarding the form and scheduling of the remainder of the hearing. It was determined the remedy phase of the hearing to be held in Collingwood from Feb. 27 to March 1.

The decision is in response to a request by wpd Fairview Wind Incorporated to submit evidence and make submissions on appropriate remedies to address the Tribunal’s Oct. 7 finding that engaging in the project in question in accordance with the impugned renewable energy approval will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life, plant life or the natural environment. None of the parties has requested an opportunity to produce evidence or make submissions on the Tribunal’s finding of serious harm to human health.

As one of the appellants, the Township of Clearview will play a peripheral role in the upcoming remedy hearing, the extent of which has yet to be determined, said township solicitor Harold Elston.

Why wpd would want to address the former while accepting the latter, Elston said, “that’s The $64,000 Question”. He said there is some speculation that it could affect some other project where bats are a factor.

Last February, wpd Fairview Wind received approval from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) to erect eight 500-foot wind turbines in Clearview Township. An appeal filed by John WigginsGail and Kevin Elwood, Preserve Clearview, Clearview Township, the Town of Collingwood and the County of Simcoe triggering a tribunal which was held in Collingwood, beginning in May. Appeals were allowed on the grounds that the project would cause serious harm to human health and serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life and the natural environment.

In the Oct. 7 order delivered by Dirk Vanderbent and Hugh Wilkins, the tribunal found that appellants and their expert witnesses were able to show that based on flight patterns for take-offs and landings, the wind turbines pose a threat to the safety of aircraft operators.

Elston said in light of the tribunal’s findings, the approval for the project could be revoked but he expects the tribunal is giving wpd every possible avenue to work through the process.

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