It pains me to find that my faith in Ontario’s judicial system has turned into cynicism.
In the matter of appealing the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change approval for WPD Corporation to erect eight 475-ft high wind turbines bordering County Rd. 91, west of the 4th line, (Fairview Wind Farm) a long, thorough and expensive Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) Hearing was held in the summer of 2016
Two issues were addressed:
• Endangerment to human health, citing their proximity to the Collingwood Regional Airport and Kevin Elwood’s aerodrome.
• Irreparable harm to an endangered species, citing the impact on the habitat of little brown myotis bats.
The ERT found in favour of the appellants on both issues! That should have been the end of it, with the MOE approval revoked.
Notwithstanding WPD having every opportunity to present remedial arguments during the hearing, the MOE, being unhappy with the results of the hearing, provided WPD an additional month to provide a remedial argument. WPD failed to do so. The MOE then allowed WPD another week, with WPD failing again.
However, WPD did concede the ‘Danger to human health’ issue. Again, that should have been the end of it, with the MOE approval revoked.
In complete disregard of the Tribunal’s ruling and WPD’s conceding the health issue, the MOE invoked the necessity of a remedial hearing. In other words, give us the ruling we want. Since the MOE appoints the ERT and pays their salaries (a conflict of interest) they applied unusual pressure on the Tribunal.
In spite of MOE’s meddling, the ERT rose to the occasion and again found in favour of the appellants. The MOE’s approval was revoked. There will be no Fairview Wind Farm… YEA!
If this is a sample of what we can expect of government manipulating the wheels of justice to further their agendas, we can only become more cynical.
It’s a slippery slope!