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On April 20, 2015, the Ontario Court of Appeal restored the finding of the Environmental Review Tribunal (“ERT”) that the proposed Ostrander Point wind farm would result in “serious and irreversible” harm to the Blanding’s turtle. The Ostrander Point wind farm project is a nine-turbine 22.5 megawatt wind farm on Crown land in Prince Edward County along the shores of Lake Ontario.

The Court of Appeal allowed Ostrander’s cross-appeal to file fresh evidence relating its proposal to ameliorate the impact of the Project on the Blanding’s turtle and remitted the matter back to the ERT to determine the appropriate remedy. The initial ERT hearing lasted 40 days and included evidence from 31 experts. The ERT revoked the REA on the basis that the proposed wind development would cause “serious and irreversible” harm to the local populations of Blanding’s turtle, a threatened species.

The Court of Appeal’s decision is important for several reasons but it does confirm that the Courts will give deference to the ERT’s findings of fact and that the ERT has broad remedial powers when it relates to an appeal of a Director’s decision.

The full text of the decision can be read on CanLII: Prince Edward County Field Naturalists v Ostrander Point GP Inc, 2015 ONCA

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