STELLA, OWL CAPITAL OF NORTH AMERICA, December 2, 2015
On September 8, 2015 the Association to Protect Amherst Island (APAI) appealed to the Environmental Review Tribunal the decision of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) to approve Windlectric’s application to build 26 turbines on Amherst Island. The Tribunal’s mandate is limited to consideration of whether this project will cause serious harm to human health and / or serious and irreversible harm to the natural environment and animal life. Furthermore, the onus is on APAI to prove that harm will occur.
Amherst Island, known as the Owl Capital of North America, is a rural community of approximately 400 residents situated west of Kingston and only accessible by ferry. It is a sanctuary for grassland birds, wintering raptors, owls, and many species at risk. The Island, located on the Atlantic migratory flyway, is a globally recognized Important Bird Area and is internationally acknowledged for its concentration of wintering hawks and owls.
The ERT hearing is scheduled to start on December 4 at St John’s Hall in Bath and will last till December 22.
APAI has engaged Eric Gillespie, an experienced environmental lawyer and intends to build on his success in submitting new evidence and presenting expert opinions about both the health and environmental impacts provided at recent the Ostrander and White Pines hearings in Prince Edward County.
Expert witnesses Dr. Carl Phillips, epidemiologist and Dr. Christina Davy, biologist will testify on behalf of APAI and will be supported by a panel of experts in hydrology, hydrogeology, ecology, and biology. Tom Beaubiah, Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, will present the case for the impact of the project on Owl Woods, wintering raptors and avian habitat. Dr. Bill Evans, will testify on behalf of the Kingston Field Naturalists to make the case that serious and irreparable harm will occur to Bobolinks as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed project. Amy Caughey, a resident of the Island, will comment on the health and safety impacts of locating a cement plant, laydown area, transformer station, mobile fueling, a maintenance building and construction office along with the transport of thousands of loads of materials and heavy equipment in proximity to the Island school.