(QUEEN’S PARK) – This morning’s decision by the Environmental Review Tribunal to revoke the Renewable Energy Approval granted to Ostrander Point project is a victory for Prince Edward County. The Tribunal, in its fifty page decision went to great lengths to demonstrate that the level of harm caused by the project is so great that the only reasonable course of action is revoking the Renewable Energy Approval for the project.
In paragraph 138 of its decision the tribunal stated: “…to proceed with the Project, when it will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life, a species at risk and its habitat is not consistent with the general and renewable energy approval purpose of the EPA, protection and conservation of the natural environment, nor does it serve the public interest of section 47.5 [of the Environmental Protection Act].”
Therefore, the tribunal has found that even the laudable goal of promoting clean and renewable energy does not trump the public interest in protecting the environment in this case.
This has been the argument put forth by a countless number of groups, including those generally supportive of wind power, throughout this process. Ultimately, this was not and is not about the viability of wind power, this is about protecting the ecosystem of the South Shore of Prince Edward County. On that score, science and biodiversity won the day.
The South Shore of Prince Edward County is the wrong ecosystem for this kind of industrial development. While we don’t yet know what this will mean for other projects on the County’s South Shore, it’s impossible to escape the conclusion reached by the tribunal that the massive reconstruction of roads necessary for projects like this to proceed is not in the long term interest of the environment.
The County is best served by being naturally green. Today’s decision from the tribunal only reaffirms that belief. It is my hope that the Liberal government will listen to the decision of the Environmental Review Tribunal they set up and protect the County’s natural ecosystems.