Smith and Runciman team up to protect important bird areas

(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
Prince Edward-Hastings
(t): 416 524 8682
(t): 416 325 2702

5 thoughts on “Smith and Runciman team up to protect important bird areas

  1. As it pertains to wind development, our government
    has already demonstrated that they couldn’t care less
    about birds and their habitat.
    Bully for Runciman/Smith in taking a stand. At the
    risk of being rude, possibly they should also factor
    in a human element to their protest.

    • I agree. But I would also hope that a gesture from the Senate towards the Province for failing to do its due diligence on this particular issue (birds) would catch the attention of any ‘overseers’ within this “democratic” system, emphasizing that maybe a more thorough review of the entire regulatory scheme is warranted.

      Hello, Ombudsman, are you listening!?

  2. Ombudsman……….he can not make comment.he’s ruled out…I think he is now chemically castrated by McGuinty in GEA involvement……….

  3. This concept of ‘Important Bird Areas’ sounds stupid. There are birds, bats, insects and so on everywhere and they are on the move constantly. The idea of one spot being more important than another smacks of somebody’s idea that they know more about nature than nature does. So when threats like IWTs arise, does somebody think that the birds, bats and insects will instinctively work their way over to the Important Bird Area so they will have sanctuary there? This sounds like somebody’s idea of an ill-conceived sop to make somebody happy because of all the environmental damage that these cause. I can hear the backroom talk now… “Yeah, I heard that they are criticizing our wonderful environmental saving and greenhouse gas reducing device by calling them ‘bird shredders’…… If we set up some spots called ‘Important Bird Areas’, that should show that we REALLY do care about the environment and should shut them up, no?”

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