Final Day in Landmark Wind Hearing on Oak Ridges Moraine,
First Nations and Buddhists
Final arguments will be heard by the provincial Environmental Review Tribunal this Friday in a landmark Hearing that pits a wind developer against defenders of the Oak Ridges Moraine, hundreds of local residents, Buddhists building a twenty-year old Buddhist pilgrimage project, and First Nations. The developer is wpd (Canada) who calls the almost 500ft tall turbines near Pontypool, one hour north-east of Toronto, “Sumac Ridge.”
Please plan to attend or to cover this significant event.
Friday January 23, 2015, 11:00 a.m. at the Pontypool Community Centre, 254 John Street Pontypool, Ontario. Open to the Public.
The project, approved under McGuinty’s policies, is not green. It will sit on the protected Oak Ridges Moraine on sensitive high aquifer vulnerability land, meaning the area is highly vulnerable to contamination. The project seriously damages significant woodlands, wetlands, water features and species at risk areas of the protected Moraine.
The site is near two schools, a daycare, and the Fleetwood Creek Conservation Area. It is within the First Nations Williams Treaty and Treaty 20 area and First Nations were not properly consulted. The Buddhists, who are planning and building the largest complex of four Temples outside China (all around the project area) were not consulted at all.
The project was approved by the Ministry of the Environment in 2013 even though it broke Ministry Regulations for Green Energy Projects in more than one respect. The Ministry and the Developer scrambled for seven months to correct some errors – all of which had been pointed out to them before approval was given. Their position now is that the Hearing cannot consider the remaining errors, only the approval, and the Hearing must assume the developer will act exactly as it says it will. Local residents do not trust the developer.
The Sumac Ridge wind project will open the doors to many more wind projects and other types of industrial development on the protected Oak Ridges Moraine. There are other wind projects awaiting approval now by the Ministry of the Environment.
Groups such as STORM (Save the Oak Ridges Moraine Coalition) and the Council of Canadians have publicly voiced their opposition to the project. Over 40 groups or individuals requested Status at the Tribunal Hearing including members of the community, Manvers Wind Concerns, Cham Shan Buddhist Temple, Curve Lake and Hiawatha First nations, the City of Kawartha Lakes and the City of Peterborough.
This is a well-researched and presented case. The facts are clear. If the Province has any respect for its own legislation, the approval should be overturned.