Bucolic Prince Edward County, jutting into Lake Ontario, has turned into a major tourist draw with bike routes, wineries, cheesemakers, B&Bs and even a minihome. It's also windy, and a great place to build the wind turbines that are a big part of the Province's green energy plans. Nine towers were approved to be built on Ostrander Point, a former bombing range that has been empty since the military pulled out in the 50s. Local naturalists say that it is right in the middle of a major bird and monarch butterfly migratory route, but it is also home of the endangered Blandings Turtle. According to John Spears in the Star, and Environmental review tribunal has found in favor of the turtle.
In a battle between green energy and green reptiles, turtle power prevailed.
The tribunal ruled that the wind farm would need roads to provide access to the turbines. That would open up the secluded area to vehicles, poachers and predators, causing “serious and irreversible harm” to the modest turtle, it found. And that was enough to prompt the tribunal to revoke the approval for the nine-turbine development.
The Ostrander Point Wind Energy LP site actually describes extensive work that would have to be done to build this project, although in the end it wouldn't occupy much space.
Project components include nine 2.5 MW turbines, access roads, turbine foundations, crane pads, one transformer substation and an underground electrical collector system. When constructed, the Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park will occupy less than 2 percent of the 324 hectare Ostrander Point Crown Land Block.
Green energy is hugely controversial in Ontario; it probably cost Premier Dalton McGuinty his job, and scandals continue to dog the Liberal Government over its attempts to eliminate coal and replace it with a mix of renewables and gas peaker plants located near consumers. People would rather have their electricity sources out of sight and out of mind.
This TreeHugger usually sides with the turbines, but in this case, the turtle wins.