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ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION - Approvals, licences and orders - Renewable Energy Approval

Monday, April 10, 2017 @ 10:50 AM  

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Appeal by the Association for the Protection of Amherst Island from a decision by the Environmental Review Tribunal. The Tribunal dismissed the appellant's challenge to a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) issued in favour of the respondent, Windlectric, for a proposed wind facility on Amherst Island. The proposed project involved 26 wind turbine generators over a 10,000 square metre area. Each generator was 156 metres tall with 55-metre blades. The Island was 66 square kilometres. It had 400 year-round residents and approximately 1,000 summertime residents. The appellant challenged the issuance of the REA on the basis the project would cause serious harm to human health, and serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment. The Tribunal confirmed the Director's decision to issue the REA. The Association appealed.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The Tribunal did not err in its assessment of the expert evidence or the consideration of mitigation measures outside of the scope of the REA. The Tribunal considered the whole of the evidence and made decisions based on and supported by the evidence regarding the risk of harm, the seriousness of that harm, and the possibility of mitigation. The issues presented by the appellant did not raise any questions of law that invoked the Court's appellate jurisdiction. To the degree that the issues raised any questions of law, the appellant failed to show that the Tribunal's decisions on those issues were unreasonable. The appellant failed to establish a basis for admission of fresh evidence, as the proffered evidence went to factual matters outside of the Court's jurisdiction.

Assn. for the Protection of Amherst Island v. Windlectric Inc., [2017] O.J. No. 665, Ontario Superior Court of Justice - Divisional Court, G.B. Morawetz R.S.J., I.V.B. Nordheimer and T.J. McEwen JJ., February 13, 2017. Digest No. TLD-Apr102017003