Category Archives: Take it to court
MLWAG & Wrightman vs. Nextera & MOE Preliminary Hearing, Sept 16, Strathroy
After many twists and turns, what began 4 years ago as a fight against a faceless, uncaring foreign corporation, aided by a two-faced political and administrative elite, comes full-up against the citizens.
Briefly the issues coalesced right from the start:
A lone camcorder stood unobtrusively to the side waiting to be activated. In a panic, NextEra counsel, Mahony immediately drew ERT Chair Muldoon’s attention to it, who then asked the appellants if it was turned on. It was not— further discussion delayed until later. No microphone were present again – the audience cold not hear what was being said.
Two residents then applied for presenter status which was quickly granted. Then 5 minutes later a surprise arrived – Stephana Johnston, from Clear Creek announced that she too wished to make a presentation speaking to the faults of the appeal process. Not being able to hear from the back, she moved her walker to the front and positioned it facing Nextera rep, Ben Greenhouse and counsel Dennis Mahony. This was very noticeable.
Objections were heard from the MOE and Nextera with the MOE lawyer saying, “… I don’t see the relevance…” – ditto for the company. Again, status granted.
The issue of the venue came up. Petitions and e-mails of numerous people requesting the venue be moved to the well equipped County Council chambers in London. Why? This hearing room was in a community centre right next to a hockey rink. The room was almost at capacity with 50+ people there, no microphones, let alone equipment to video-conference – oh, when THAT happens, we move it to TORONTO, right! The patronizing never ends. Read the rest of this entry
The dates so far are:
Preliminary Hearing: September 16 10:00am
First Day of Hearing: October 15 10:00am
(but please note – these dates can change – I will keep you informed if they do)
Please consider being a Party, Participant or Presenter at this appeal.
If you have a particular concern that relates to the appeal, a home that could be affected by flicker, a farm by stray voltage, a child who is sensitive to noise, a natural area that is threatened by the development, you have an expertise in an issue that relates to the appeal…please consider being one of the above. If you aren’t sure, talk to contact us or call the ERT and ask their opinion. The more faces the ERT panel sees, with real issues at hand, the more alive and REAL the appeal is — add your voice. It can be a very short presentation, or lengthy.
If you are at all considering this, read the notice below. If you know of anyone who may be interested- please send them the info.
Interest must be expressed by September 11 @ 4pm to the case coordinator.
Presenters and Participants are not subject to the possibility of costs being assessed, so don’t worry about that.
This appeal will tackle everything from health, to stray voltage, road safety, habitat loss etc.…the whole kit and caboodle.
There are 2 appellants: MLWAG Inc. (with Harvey named, and Eric Gillespie listed as legal counsel), and me (with well….me).
We plan to call witnesses from different parts of the world – some may come in person and others we hope to have broadcast in by videoconferencing. Attendance of the public in numbers would be very appreciated at these hearings.
Donations. We do need to raise some cash to pay for the basics though. If you can help financially, it would be greatly appreciated, and put to very good use.
Cheques can be made out to “Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group Inc.”
Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group Inc.
1503 Napperton Dr.,
Kerwood, ON N0M 2B0
Many thanks for all your support,
A most interesting letter of legal opinion written on Nov. 20, 2012, by former Supreme Court Justice, Ian Binnie, popped up with the latest regurgitation of Gas Plant e-mails. Justice Binnie replies to David Livingston, McGuinty’s former chief of staff asked about the possibility of suing opposition members citing outrageous allegations made by PC leader Tim Hudak and MPP Todd Smith in Question Period in October of 2012.
Hmmm this sounds familiar – like The Nexterror SLAPP lawsuit against Esther Wrightman where she is accused of unfairly competing with NextEra by referring to the company as Nexterror. McGuinty got good advice and, unlike Nexterror, he followed that advice. The letter of opinion is a reality lecture wherein Justice Binnie, with rather dry humour, paints out the possible scenarios and why for Dalton, this notion of suing his enemies is not a good notion at all.
Justice Binnie begins, “Many of the allegations…are in our view clearly defamatory…the law provides a low threshold. It is protective of reputations.” That sounds promising. He further states, “Mr. Hudak’s statement is also defamatory”
Hudak had said: “Not only did Dalton McGuinty misuse a billion dollars of taxpayer’s money, he tried to paper over it, cover it up (and) keep the details from the public.” Remember, this was written on Nov.29, 2012. As it turns out, what Hudak said isn’t too far off the mark. Read the rest of this entry
Esther Wrightman speaks with Ezra Levant about her fight against big wind bullies.
Esther Wrightman says she could be the poster child for Ontario’s proposed new law to curb strategic lawsuits launched to silence critics. The provincial government introduced the Protection of Public Participation Act just weeks after wind farm developer NextEra Energy Canada launched a lawsuit against Wrightman, a Middlesex County anti-wind activist.
Wrightman said that when she heard about the proposed new law, “I went, ‘What? Really? I could use that, right about now.” Ontario says the law, if passed, would allow courts to quickly identify and deal with strategic lawsuits launched to intimate opponents and reduce their ability to participate in public debates. The legislation, based on recommendations from an expert advisory panel, would also reduce time wasted in court on meritless claims, the government says.
“We live in a fair and democratic society, and we believe that this law will provide a balanced approach that recognizes both the right to public expression and the importance of protection of reputation,” said Attorney General John Gerretsen.
Wrightman said that while the new law may come too late to help her, it acknowledges that strategic lawsuits are a problem. Laws to protect citizens against strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) are common in the U.S., but Quebec is currently the only Canadian province with one. Read article
A big energy Corporation masquerading as poor little wind energy guys trying to help make our Province greener by hacking down big old Cottonwoods in Haldimand County and destroying an active eagle nest to “save” the birds has made their next bad move….They are suing the proverbial “little guy”.
In this case that is a diminutive mother of two who is fighting to protect her family, their heritage and our natural heritage. Esther Wrightman has been at the forefront of the resistance against industrial wind turbines in Ontario, working by day as a rock garden expert to provide for her family while her off hours activism has included managing two websites http://mlwindaction.org/ and http://ontario-wind-resistance.org and demanding accountability from politicians and industry.
Her statement of defence is an inventory of the series of bungles Nextera Energy Canada, a wholly-owned subsidiary of $57.2 billion dollar U.S. company NextEra Energy Ltd., formerly FPL Group Ltd., and owners of Florida Power & Light Inc., has made in the Renewable Energy Approvals process to earn itself the moniker “Next Error”. It is hard to believe such incompetence from a giant corporation has not been intentional. Read article
Ezra Levant, Edmonton Sun
A $32 billion energy corporation has filed a massive lawsuit against an Ontario environmentalist named Esther Wrightman. It’s a SLAPP suit: Strategic litigation against public participation. It’s not really about legal arguments. It’s about crushing Wrightman with legal bills and burning up her time, so she can’t spend time campaigning against them.
The lawsuit doesn’t allege Wrightman vandalized their property, or trespassed, or anything like that. Their complaint is that, on her homemade website, Wrightman mocked the company’s name. She even had the temerity to publish a satirical version of their logo. That’s it. That’s why they hired three lawyers at one of Canada’s largest law firms, McCarthy Tetrault, to sue her into the ground.
And the only reason you have not heard of this lawsuit — the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is not defending her free speech, the CBC has not put this on their nightly news — is because the corporate bully here is not an oil company like Exxon. It’s a wind turbine company called NextEra. See, that kind of bullying is OK. Read article
More on “Tilting at Windmills”: Ontario Tables Anti-SLAPP Legislation – & How It Could Cover Existing Cases
At just about the same time that news was breaking of NextEra’s controversial lawsuit against Esther Wrightman, the Ontario Government AG, the Hon. J. Gerrertsen, tabled Bill 83 – which would, if passed, introduce some remarkably positive changes to Ontario law regarding #SLAPP lawsuits. The bill, if passed, would provide much needed encouragement of public interest expression, commentary and participation. It would, indeed, serve as a serous chill against litigation of little or no merit that is intended to stifle or prevent public expressions of comment on matters of public interest. @EzraLevant, a well-known Sun News commentator, had some written and verbal comments on June 9, 2013 on the Sun website about NextEra’s lawsuit against Esther Wrightman and whether he sees it as a “SLAPP” suit.
Bill 83 would provide that if a party is sued as the result of “expression” made by a person concerning a matter of public interest, the defendant can move to have the proceedings thrown out unless the plaintiff can show that:
· The proceeding has “substantial merit”;
· The moving party has no valid defence; and
· The harm resulting from the defendant’s expression is sufficiently serious that that public interest in allowing the proceeding to continue would outweigh the public interest in protecting that expression.
Howard Knopf, Excess Copyright
A young mother and environmental activist in southern Ontario is being sued by Nextera, a wind turbine company, which is part of an an American based enterprise that has sales of about $15 billion a year. It apparently cut down a tree with a bald eagle nest, an act which she did not like and which she filmed. Here’s her video.
Here’s Nextera’s Statement of Claim, which required the efforts of three McCarthy’s lawyers to come up with a very long and fulsome list of allegations involving “Offending Material” under the the Trade-marks, Copyright, and Competition Acts and various common law torts including “common-law trade libel”, and one I’ve never heard of, namely “appropriating an insignia in which the Plaintiff has a proprietary interest.” .
As Ezra suggests, this could be another Erin Brockovich story. Moreover, Nextera is likely going to learn the lessons of the Streisand effect, which is that trying to suppress a discussion on the internet usually just draws more attention to it.
Billion dollar wind company, Nextera, sues activist Esther Wrightman, Kerwood, Ontario (Bornish project). Esther had the temerity to satirize the Nextera logo, using the term “Nexterror”, and also refused to remove a video depicting the brutal removal of an active eagles nest permitted literally “over the weekend.”
According to Jim Wiegand, a specialist in bird biology and wind turbine bird kills:
“Nobody has a history of killing eagles like the wind energy company Nextera. So if you were an eagle it would make perfect sense that their turbines would be terrifying. If you were an eagle minding your own business and had your wing severed from a slashing blade, knowing you were going to die, this would certainly seem like an act of terror. Thousands of eagles have died this way. If you had just fledged your offspring and while they were learning to hunt, had them butchered by nearby turbines, this would also seem to be terrifying. The charity that Nextera wants to donate any settlement funds to should come out and say they want no part in any of this. I think a better idea would be for Nextera to donate any settlement funds to a truly independent Wildlife Biologist, for proper wind turbine mortality and cumulative impact studies.”
Did Nextera anticipate the flurry of articles and media interest that has occurred by suing Rock Garden specialist, and anti-wind activist, Esther Wrightman? And what is the subtext to the 32 Billion (Market Capitalization) company (with numerous paid lobbyists), lawsuit that on the surface incorrectly mentions being called “terrorists” by the blogger, Wrightman, and an antipathy for satirical use of its logo? (Wrightman did not use the word terrorists, but merely changed the logo to “Nexterror,” which could be read as Terror, or Error. This satiric branding, in both shapes, it should be mentioned, has been used by many activists for some time now. Read article
Robert Bryce, The National Review
The Goliath of the wind-energy business is suing David. The defendant is Esther Wrightman, an activist and mother of two from the tiny town of Kerwood, Ontario, which sits roughly halfway between Detroit and Toronto.
Wrightman, 32, has angered the Florida-based NextEra Energy (market capitalization: $32 billion) by starting a couple of bare-bones websites, ontariowindresistance.org and mlwindaction.org, as well as a YouTube channel, which she uses to lampoon the company. In its lawsuit, filed on May 1, NextEra claims that Wrightman has misused its logo and libeled the company by calling it “NexTerror” and “NextError.” And while the company doesn’t specify the amount of damages it seeks from Wrightman, it says that it will donate any proceeds from the litigation to United Way.
NextEra owns some 10,000 megawatts of wind-generation capacity, or about one-sixth of all U.S. capacity. And the company is aggressively developing six new wind projects in Canada, one of which, the Adelaide Wind Energy Centre, aims to put 38 turbines just north of Wrightman’s home. (You can see her property and the surrounding land by going here.)
NextEra’s filing against Wrightman is a textbook case of a SLAPP suit, a strategic lawsuit against public participation. And it’s a particularly loathsome one as NextEra filed it in Ontario, the epicenter of the backlash against the encroaching sprawl of the 150-meter-high, noise-producing, bird-and-bat-killing, subsidy-dependent wind-energy sector. Read article
An anti-wind group has appealed NextEra Energy Canada’s 60MW Bluewater wind project in Ontario. The Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group has asked the provincial environmental review tribunal to revoke a renewable energy approval granted in April. The opposition group claims the 40-turbine wind farm will cause serious harm to human health. Preliminary hearings will be held 4 and 28 of June. A full hearing is set for 2 July.
The Ontario Energy Board is conducting a written hearing for NextEra’s application to build interconnection facilities, which include a 23-kilometer 115kV transmission line. In the meantime, the Florida-based developer has filed suit seeking to overturn new bylaws enacted by Bluewater council. Developers would have to pay C$14,000 per turbine plus a refundable security deposit totaling C$420,000 per turbine to cover decommissioning and potential health and property damages and legal fees. Another appeal is underway against NextEra’s 72.9MW Bornish proposal. The tribunal has yet to set hearing dates. Both wind farms are designed with GE 1.6-100 turbines
Thomas Walkom, The Star
After years of dismissing rural opposition to wind turbines, Ontario’s Liberal government is belatedly trying to defuse the problem. Its efforts may be too little. They are definitely late. In cities, the giant, industrial, three-blade windmills are back of mind. When, as has happened in Toronto, urban voters do object to wind turbines the Liberal government is quick to back off.
But most wind farms are slated for rural Ontario. And here, the government, until now, has been unbending. It refused to accept persistent claims from local residents that wind farms put their health at risk. It overruled municipalities that tried to regulate or ban turbines. Instead, in virtually all cases, the Liberals sided with the big, private generating companies seeking to establish these profitable wind farms.
No wonder then that the Liberals were virtually wiped out in rural Ontario during the last election. Wind turbines helped to deprive them of their last footholds. Read article
(Kerwood) – After tucking in her children at 9 o’clock, Strathroy-area resident Esther Wrightman received a knock at the door and the delivery of a summons. The Kerwood mother of two was served a court notice initiated by Nextera Energy Canada claiming she — among many things — used the company’s logo to mislead the public.
The allegation refers to videos posted on Wrightman’s website altering the Nextera logo to read “NexTerror” and “NextError.” Bayshore Broadcasting News contacted Nextera for comment, but received no response. It was five years ago she learned about the issues surrounding wind turbines when Nextera began planning a wind farm nearby. Suncor also had wind developments in the works in her home County of Lambton.
It wasn’t long after Wrightman tells us she began making videos, which she describes as honest because of their lack of scripting or editing. She says the first video featuring the altered Nextera logo was posted about a year ago, but claims she is not the originator of the terms “NextError” or “NextTerror.” Wrightman tells Bayshore Broadcasting News the community commonly referred to Nextera using the two augmented names because of their reputation for rescheduling meetings, much to the community’s dismay. Read article
Debora Van Brenk, London Free Press
Canada’s wind energy giant has slapped a Strathroy-area rock gardener with a lawsuit alleging she’s harming its reputation. In a Goliath-vs-David dispute, NextEra Energy Canada says Esther Wrightman is discrediting it, depreciating its goodwill in the community and mutilating its copyrighted logo. NextEra Energy’s operating revenue in 2012 was $14 billion.
On the other side is Wrightman, who says she can’t even afford the $144 fee to file her statement of defence. “It’s totally parody,” Wrightman said, defending her manipulation of the NextEra logo. “It’s parody and it’s fair comment on what they’ve done.”
A mother of two, whose income comes from disability supports and selling plants for rock gardens, Wrightman has been a thorn in NextEra’s side for opposing wind turbines planned for the Strathroy area. She’s also drawn the company’s ire for posting a video of the dismantling of a bald eagle’s nest in the path of a Haldimand turbine project. The lawsuit, filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, contends Wrightman mutilated the firm’s logo by making it read “NextTerror” and “NextError.” It also says she infringed on copyright, made misleading statements meant to discredit the business, made false representations and showed bad faith. Read article
Calvin Luther Martin, PhD, WTS.com
On September 15, 2004, I fell down the rabbit hole into the make-believe world of “wind energy.” Nine years ago the wind turbine hucksters arrived in Franklin County, NY, oiling their way from townhall to townhall, farmhouse to farmhouse, selling the (palpably absurd) idea of ”clean, green, renewable” wind energy. (Just another snake-oil, yet spectacularly lucrative.)
For nine years, I’ve been witness to a colossal corporate scam that flourishes despite all the contrary evidence of physics, clinical medicine, economics, environmentalism—and common sense. Nine years wracking my brain for ways to vanquish it.
We tried publishing Nina’s book, “Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Report on a Natural Experiment,” thinking (not unreasonably) that 300 pages of clinical and scientific evidence would shut it down. We were naive. Zealots driven by dollar bills and the magical thinking of “clean energy” countered with a tsunami of junk science in various junk formats—and, horrifically, it worked. (Never underestimate the ingenuity of corrupt fools, especially the ones with PhD’s.)
I debated the merits of suing wind companies. Nope, that was a non-starter. I pondered the likelihood of convincing local governments to reject these useless grotesqueries marching across the landscape. This had mixed results. Read article
Sarnia Lambton Independent
NextEra Energy has made good on its threat to sue a local anti-wind activist. The company, which has several wind energy projects slated for Lambton and Middlesex Counties, is suing to stop the use of “offending logos.”
The company has filed a lawsuit in Toronto saying Esther Wrightman’s use of NextError and Next Terror on her websites Ontario Wind Resistance and the Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns. Court documents say the use of the logos “is false” and is “likely to mislead the public as to the character” of NextEra.
The company takes issue with being linked to terror. “NextEra is operating in full compliance with the law…the defendant is aware or is recklessly indifferent to the fact that the term ‘terror’ and ‘terrorist’ is reserved or organizations with extreme and violent criminal aims,” the lawsuit says adding the terms are usually linked to organizations such as Al-Qaida and Hezbollah. “NextEra is a law-abiding organization that has consulted extensively in the defendant’s community. It has committed no acts of terror or violence.”
NextEra wants Wrightman to remove all references to NextError and Next Terror and a video showing the company cutting down an eagle’s next in Haldimand County. It’s also seeking damages saying Wrightman may have gained financially through donations to the website for various wind groups. Read article
Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
NextEra Energy Canada is suing Middlesex County wind activist Esther Wrightman over altered company logos that appeared online and in videos posted to YouTube. The Canadian subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources filed a statement of claim in the Ontario Superior Court in Toronto against Wrightman who has been actively opposing wind turbine projects in Middlesex and Lambton counties.
They include NextEra’s Adelaide wind farm near Wrightman’s home, as well as the company’s nearby Bornish and Jericho projects. “Our policy is not to comment on pending legal action,” NextEra spokesperson Josie Hernandez said when contacted Monday. “We look forward to sharing our view on the matter with the court.” The statement of claim says any damages NextEra recovers from the court action will be donated to United Way Canada.
According to NextEra’s statement of claim, a company logo was altered to say “Nexterror,” and appeared on a province anti-wind website, as well as videos posted online. The allegations have not been proven in court. Read article
Bluewater Preliminary ERT Hearing
Date: June 4
Place: The Bluewater Stanley Complex, Community Centre, 38594B Mill Road, Varna MAP
Clinton News Record
A neighbouring anti turbine group has launched an appeal on Next Era’s Bluewater wind energy approval. The Middlesex Lambton Wind Action group filed the appeal on May 7, with the Environment Review Tribunal, stating the approved project would cause severe harm to human health and the natural environment.
Member of the group, Esther Wrightman, said they have launched similar appeals in areas around Ontario, because then, it opens the door. “In a way, it was done because of a lack of anybody else appealing it. We hate to see any wind project not challenged by someone,” she said. With several of Next Era’s projects proposed or in construction in Lambton Middlesex, including the Adelaide, Bornish and Jericho projects, the group also takes note of the proponent’s other projects. “We look at this basically as one huge project, which includes the Goshen and Bluewater projects,” she added. Read article
Opponents have appealed NextEra Energy Canada’s 72.9MW Bornish wind project in southwestern Ontario. The developer last month received renewable energy approval (REA) by the Environment Ministry, as reported in reNews. The Municipality of North Middlesex and an individual have asked the Environmental Review Tribunal to revoke the REA.
The appellants claim the wind farm will cause serious harm to human health. They also allege serious and irreversible harm to plant and animal life, listing at-risk species such as the bald eagle, red-headed woodpecker and tundra swan. The tribunal has yet to set any hearing dates. Read article
Peter Epp, Sarnia Observer
As discussion about wind turbine development in Sarnia-Lambton grows, so does information about the industry and some of the possible pitfalls associated with its activity. At the most recent meeting of CORE (Conserve Our Rural Enniskillen), an insurance agent suggested that farmers and other landowners who agree to become a host for turbine development should think twice about making that decision, because their insurance coverage might be affected.
Greg Cameron said Ontario’s insurance industry does not have uniform policies on liability insurance for farmers with industrial wind turbines, partly because the industry is so new. In fact, he said a recent Ontario Court decision – which ruled that property owners living near a proposed development in Collingwood could go to court to seek damages to cover the devaluation of their property once the turbines are built – has changed everything. Read article
By Heather Wright, Sarnia this Week
LAMBTON COUNTY – Wind activists say a transmission line hearing may be best way to stop a wind energy center north of Arkona. NextEra received approval for the Bornish Wind Energy center, a 45-turbine project just northeast of Arkona from the Ministry of the Environment recently. Esther Wrightman of Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns has been among the people fighting the project. She’s frustrated. Wrightman saying looking at the Environmental Registry confirms her suspicion that the Ministry of the Environment simply rubber stamps wind projects. Wrightman says the registry on the Bornish project uses the name of another wind project in Eastern Ontario telling her the responses are not original.
“These are projects that are going to affect people’s lives and it seems that it’s just a matter of copy and pasting approval lines in it from one to another,” says Wrightman. “The MOE has never denied a project” she adds. “The system is broken…you don’t have a government agency that can help…you feel quite deserted at the end of the day.” Read article
“If the Company determines that it must deviate from either the Environmental Effects Monitoring Plan, the Natural Heritage Assessment and Environmental Impact Study, the Natural Heritage Assessment – Addendum Report or the Natural Heritage Assessment – Addendum II Report, described in Condition K1, the Company shall contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Director, prior to making any changes to either of these documents, and follow any directions provided.”
Proponent: Bornish Wind G.P Inc, as general partner for and on behalf of Bornish Wind L.P.
390 Bay Street, Suite 1720, Toronto Ontario Canada M5H 2Y2
Instrument Type: Approval for a renewable energy project – EPA s.47.3(1)
A Renewable Energy Approval (REA) has been issued to Bornish Wind LP (NextEra Energy) to engage in a renewable energy project in respect of a Class 4 wind facility consisting of the construction, installation, operation, use and retiring of up to 45 turbines, rated at 1.6 MW generating output capacity, with a total name plate capacity of 72.9 MW. The wind facility will be connected to Hydro One’s distribution system.
This Class 4 wind facility, known as the Bornish Wind Energy Centre, consists of areas required for the wind facility components, as well as for the interconnection route. The wind facility will be is located in the Municipality of North Middlesex in Middlesex County.
The REA requires the proponent to construct, install, operate, use and retire the facility in accordance with specific terms and conditions.
The terms and conditions, as summarised below, require the proponent to:
- construct and install the facility within 3 years of the date of the approval,
- construct and install the facility in accordance with the documentation considered for the issuance of this approval,
- receive all required permits under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 prior to construction or installation, Read the rest of this entry
Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Wind turbine opponents in Lambton County are celebrating a silver lining they see in a court ruling that dismissed a claim against a wind project near Collingwood. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice this week dismissed a claim made by neighbouring property owners against the eight-turbine Fairview wind project WPD Canada is seeking provincial approval to build near the Clearview Township community of Stayner. The decision was based on the fact approval hasn’t been given yet.
But Eric Gillespie, a lawyer representing neighbours who brought the court action, says the ruling recognizes that claims against wind projects are possible as soon as projects receive approval. “There are many people who have been waiting to see how the courts would respond to these types of claims,” Gillespie said. “It now seems clear that as soon as a project is approved residents can start a claim.” Gillespie said that appears to be a major step forward for people concerned about industrial wind projects. “We can definitely expect more claims now that this door has been opened.”
Gillespie is currently also defending Plympton-Wyoming’s wind turbine bylaws against a legal challenge by the Suncor Energy, the company seeking provincial approval to build up to 62-turbines as part of its Cedar Point wind project in Lambton County. Wind opponents are also celebrating that the court accepted evidence indicating turbines could devalue neighbouring properties by 22% to 50% or more, and also impact the health of neighbours. Read article
By Mac Christie, Times-Advocate Staff
VARNA – Bluewater’s high-priced wind turbine building permit fees are being challenged in court. The municipality’s building permit bylaw would see wind developers pay $434,000 per turbine for any wind turbine development in the municipality.
NextEra Energy’s Nicole Geneau confirmed the company – which plans to build two wind farms and a total of 52 turbines in Bluewater – has filed suit in Ontario Superior Court in London. “We’ve always maintained that we contested the bylaw that they passed,” Geneau said. “The reasons that we contested it, we stated at council several times. “It’s on that basis that we have moved to have the bylaw quashed and we’re going to continue to pursue that action.”
NextEra undertook the action with Northland Power, the developers of the Grand Bend Wind Farm, an installation which could see as many as 40 turbines erected in Bluewater. NextEra’s legal counsel Tyson Dyck had previously appeared at Bluewater council March 4, telling council the company disputed the bylaw as they feel it encroaches on several areas of the provincial jurisdiction, such as the Green Energy Act, as well as the Building Code Act.
The bylaw would see industrial wind turbine developers pay a $14,000 base permit fee, a $220,000 security per turbine for decommissioning, a $100,000 fee per turbine for matters related to health and property devaluation and a $100,000 fee per turbine for potential legal matters arising as a result of the turbines. Read article