Gilead Power Corporation is inviting PE County residents to send letters of support for their wind project at Ostrander Point to MPP Leona Dombrowsky. Their letter and “10 reasons to support the project” say that Ostrander Point is a favourable site for their development because it “is in a relatively isolated part” of the County.
This isolation from human use has created its value as wildlife habitat. Birds that have evolved to migrate between Canada’s north and South America have depended on our South Shore for millennia. If it is industrialized, as so much of North America has been, many will fail in their passage around Lake Ontario. As Environment Canada has said “This is one of the most important landfall sites in Ontario.”
Gilead claims that the project has been “designed to be sensitive to the wildlife of the area”.
But they have applied for permits to kill, harm and destroy the habitat of 2 endangered species: Blanding’s Turtle and Whip-poor-will. Gilead’s “most aggressive mitigation measures in North America to protect local and migrating species” consist of:
- Blanding’s Turtle – buying part of its significant wetland while destroying part;
- Whip-poor-will – hiring a graduate student to study its declining use of the habitat;
- Counting mortality numbers of migrating birds and bats for 3 years.
If the Province gives permission to build this industrial project, the following spring the turtles and other amphibians will emerge from hibernation to find most of their habitat destroyed and the migrating species will find their expected feeding grounds gone.
Gilead also promises economic benefits. They promise to pay municipal taxes of $40,000 annually over 25 years or $20,000 annually over 50 years, depending on how the “life of the power purchase agreement” is interpreted. Will these funds cover the increased road maintenance required? Even during the few months of construction they offer only “up to 50%”of the work and business to “local or neighbouring communities”.
Trucking of the components will be done by the manufacturer, GE. The operation of the project will be done remotely by a SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system. County people may receive few benefits but higher costs from this project.
Is this destruction worth it for 9 turbines that could easily be built elsewhere?
Myrna Wood, Picton