The civil court case, involving Prince Edward County residents fighting development of nine wind turbines in their neighbourhood, wrapped up the argument phase at Quinte Courthouse in Belleville on Monday.
More than 50 people packed the courtroom as the Alliance for the Protection of Prince Edward County, the Independent Electricity System and WPD company, presented final arguments before Justice Stanley Kershman of the Ottawa area.
Much of the three hour hearing seemed to centre on whether or not APPEC, or the public, had a right to have information or get involved in a commercial FIT (Feed-in-Tariff) contract between two commercial parties.
APPEC has been fighting the bid to put wind turbines in the Milford area of Prince Edward County for a number of years, citing damage to Blandings turtles and the brown bat, as well as noise issues.
The original FIT contract called for 27 turbines but this was dropped to nine.
APPEC alleges that the FIT contract for wind turbines between IESO and WPD should have been terminated as soon as it became evident that White Pines would be unable to fulfill all the contract terms.
APPEC lawyer Eric Gillespie told Justice Kershman it is a “public policy issue” regarding whether IESO should make the contract public. Gillespie said WPD failed to meet 75% of the FIT requirements, and a number of timeline milestones were missed by the company.
He said information between the two was not made public “as under rules of FIT process and required by law … it’s about major amendments to the contract that were not made public.”
Gillespie emphasized APPEC is not arguing for an injunction “at this point.”
Lawyer for IESO, the Systems Operator, Alan Mark, argued APPEC has no entitlement to the commercial FIT contract information. Mark said APPEC had no right to “insert itself between WPD and IESO” in the contract deal. He emphasized that APPEC had a right to go to the Environmental Review Tribunal but “APPEC has no rights in the contract between IESO and WPD.”
Mark told the judge WPD had a right to seek amendments to the contract and IESO had a right to grant that … the complaint about disclosure leads nowhere.”
He said, “There is no representation of any entitlement of the applicant (APPEC) to the particular bilateral commercial contract between IESO and WPD.” And he said there’s nothing to give the public that expectation.
Lawyer for WPD, Patrick Duffy, repeated much of the IESO argument indicating the applicant (APPEC) had “no right to insert itself in the contract between WPD and IESO.”
After three hours of arguments, Kershman reserved his judgement for another date.
One member of the public in the courtroom had travelled many miles to hear the case. Gord Benner of Toronto told Quinte News he visits Prince Edward County often, and had come down specifically for the hearing. He said, “I don’t vacation in an area with wind turbines. That’s not my idea of scenery.”
President of APPEC, Orville Walsh, told Quinte News he’s optimistic about the outcome of the case.