(QUEEN’S PARK) – Senator Bob Runciman and Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith today urged the McGuinty government to put the brakes on plans for industrial wind-farm developments in Important Bird Areas.
The event follows the unanimous approval by the Senate of Canada of a motion put forward by Runciman late last year calling for a halt to developments within three kilometres of the shoreline of eastern Lake Ontario until the “significant threat” to birds and bats is investigated and restrictions are imposed to protect internationally recognized Important Bird Areas.
Industrial wind-power developments at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County and on Amherst Island west of Kingston are both in the late stages of the approval process. Both are designated as Important Bird Areas.
MPP Smith noted that field naturalists and other experts believe the bird kill rate will be unacceptably high for the project proposed at Ostrander Point, on the south shore of Prince Edward County. Smith said studies by the Sierra Club, National Audubon Society, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds all point to how destructive turbines are when located in Important Bird Areas. Studies by the latter two groups spoke specifically about the recklessness of the project at Ostrander Point.
Environment Canada describes Ostrander Point as one of the best areas for birds in southern Ontario, Runciman said. The developer of that project has also applied to “kill, harm and harass” two endangered species, the Blanding’s Turtle and the Whip-poor-will.
“Clean, renewable energy should help, not harm wildlife and I urge the government of Ontario to heed the Senate of Canada’s call for a moratorium on wind farm development in these sensitive areas,” Runciman said.
“The risks to birds likely to be precipitated by encroachment in this globally significant IBA and the bad precedent of encouraging development in such a globally sensitive site are not justified by the small amount of power production this project would provide. In this case, the large risks to wildlife are not offset by large clean energy benefits. On balance, the choice to site a wind project in this location would set a very poor standard for Canadian wind energy.”
—National Audubon Society – February 14th, 2012
“On the evidence provided there is little doubt in my mind that such a development would be refused in a Scottish context. Advice provided by Environment Canada has not been followed, the overall analysis of the proposal is weak and open to serious question. Alternatives are clearly available which could produce a similar amount of energy and financial reward without negatively impacting on an IBA.”
—Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
For Further Information, Please Contact:
Todd Smith, MPP
(t): 416 524 8682
(t): 416 325 2702