Early this July, after months of hard work, stress, frustration, perseverance, hope and waiting, the tribunal came in early. Ostrander Point was being saved from industrial wind turbine development! The team, residents and supporters rejoiced!
Unfortunately, this isn’t the end of the story.
When the big bad wolf, Gilead, made its original application to build the turbines, just before Christmas, opponents were only given two weeks to put together their objection. Now, after a lengthy battle, the big bad wolf has 30 days to launch an appeal. It’s now a waiting game, hoping they won’t appeal. Even if they miraculously don’t, after reading the tribunal’s explanations of their decision, for many it left an unpleasant taste.
According to the tribunal, the only thing stopping the wind turbine development was the endangered Blanding’s Turtle. That’s great for the turtle, though it’s left many wondering, how is the turtle supposed to know not to travel over to the other approximately 75 more wind turbines proposed on the island? Yes. The current decision only stopped the building of 9 turbines in Ostrander Point. The developer still wants to build almost 10 times as many throughout the County. How the turtles will know when to stop and head back in a safer direction is anyone’s guess.
One of the greater concerns was the tribunal’s statement that there was no evidence to show that the wind turbines would affect bird populations. It was an astounding decision and one that for many feels like something forced upon the tribunal by the government’s current ‘green’ initiatives. If the tribunal had indeed ruled that the wind turbines would indeed affect bird populations, the decision could affect wind turbine projects across Canada. To many, it seems all too obvious that they were forced to make this decision.
It also seems just as clear to many that stating that industrial wind turbines will not kill birds and harm bird (and bat and butterfly) populations, is like saying that cigarette smoking will not cause cancer. It feels like we’re just waiting for the ax to fall (unfortunately on the poor birds, bats and butterflies – almost literally). It’s likely that 20 years from now there could be a class action law suit against the government, who knowingly allowed the massacre to occur for purely financial gain. (There is no economic or environmental benefit to the industrial wind turbines.) Unfortunately, if species have declined and even disappeared, there will be little that a law suit will be able to do to rectify it in the future. As the bumper sticker says ‘Extinct is Forever’.