OSTRANDER POINT — The province’s environmental review tribunal has once again revoked the permits for nine wind turbines in Prince Edward County because the turbines would cause serious and irreversible harm to Blanding’s turtles and their habitat even though no one knows how many turtles are there.
An area farmer, who asked that he not be identified, said no one he knows in the county has ever seen a Blanding’s turtle and they don’t even know what they look like.
The tribunal ruled June 6 that “a small number of individual adult turtles will be killed annually, that poaching will not be reduced but rather facilitated, and that there will be no measurable change to the impacts of predation. The tribunal finds that these harms cumulatively over the lifetime of the project will cause irreversible harm to the local population, and lead to the eventual loss of the population.”
Blanding’s turtles have been listed as a “threatened” species in Ontario since 2004.
Gilead Power was first approved in December, 2012, to build nine wind turbines at Ostrander Point, an 800-acre parcel of land about 30 minutes south of Picton in Prince Edward County. Ostrander Point — a former bombing range used by the Canadian military is still owned by the Crown .
The review tribunal originally ruled against the project in 2013 but Gilead appealed through the court system. The appeal judges agreed in April, 2015, that there could be a risk of serious or irreversible harm if the turbines were allowed to proceed, but instead of cancelling the project, the judges ruled the developer could resubmit the plan with contingency plans to stop the harm.
The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists has raised more than $250,000 to fight the turbines.