by Treat Hull (recent Green Party of Ontario Candidate), Countylive.ca
I originally planned to write a more typical New Year’s message expected of politicians “the year in review with an outlook for the coming year”. My plans changed, however, when I read the moving December blog by Ted Cheskey, Nature Canada’s manager of bird conservation programs. In it, Ted wrote that Henslow’s Sparrow “is one of the rarest birds in Ontario. During the Atlas of Breeding Birds of Ontario 2001 to 2005, there were only 8 possible records of the species in the entire province.” Ted documents how the Ministry of Natural Resources was involved in the development of restoration plan for the Henslow’s sparrow in the late 1990’s specifically at the Ostrander Point Crown Land Block on the South Shore of Prince Edward County. He also shows that Henslow’s Sparrows were present on Ostrander Point in 1999 and 2000 as a direct result of the implementation of this recovery action! This is the same Crown Land Block where Gilead Power is now is the final stages of the approval process to erect an industrial wind farm.
Ted continues: “Something stinks about a process when we have a government agency, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, invest in successfully restoring the habitat of an endangered species, then turn around a few years later and offer up its habitat for a small and unnecessary industrial wind plant. Why is this process moving forward? Why has it gone this far? Why was it even conceived of in the first place? The turbines are not built yet. Once they are, no longer will this be Henslow’s Sparrow habitat, or Whip-poor-will habitat, or Blanding’s Turtle habitat, but it will be a serious risk to all birds, including the river of hawks, owls and songbirds that stream through Ostrander Point every fall. Over this Christmas period, my wish is that the Province or the developer recognizes that this is the wrong place to build a wind farm, and withdraws it before it goes any further.”
Inspired by Ted’s eloquence, I resolved to make stopping the wind farm at Ostrander Point my personal political priority for 2012. I hope you will too.