Four area naturalists groups are opposing Ontario’s approval of the Amherst Island Wind Energy Project.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change announced Aug. 24 that the project received renewable energy approval, pending more than two dozen conditions. The project, to be build by Windlectric Inc., is to include up to 26 wind turbine generators and one substation transformer.
Nature Canada, Ontario Nature, the Kingston Field Naturalists and the American Bird Conservancy have come forward to ask the project’s approval be overturned. The Association to Protect Amherst Island (APAI) and Randy Hillier, MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington, already publicly opposed the project.
Stephen Hazell, director of conservation for Nature Canada, called the approve another ‘tough on nature’ move by the ministry and asks the Environmental Review Tribunal to overturn the approval.
“Given the clear breaches of the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act, the federal government should in future apply its environmental assessment process to wind energy projects,” Hazell said in a release.
Joshua Wise, greenway program manager for Ontario Nature, said the 35 kilometres of new roads will destroy habitat for species at risk.
“Amherst has the largest breeding population of the at-risk short-eared owl in southern Ontario,” Wise said. “During the winter, Amherst supports the largest concentration of owl species of anywhere in eastern North America as far as we know. “We are all for green energy, but not at the expense of nature.”
Kurt Hennige, president of the Kingston Field Naturalists (KFN), said his group opposes the Amherst Island Wind Energy Project because they know the turbines on Wolfe Island are killing area birds such as ospreys, red-tailed hawks, purple martins and the wilson snipe.