d.a.c.e.s. matter

For years, the citizens and the municipality of West Grey have opposed the installation of Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs) in their residential neighbourhoods and on valuable agricultural land.

Organized under the name “D.A.C.E.S. (DURHAM AREA CITIZENS FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES)”, these citizens, with the support of the municipality (which is a declared “unwilling host” for IWTs) have challenged a wind company from industrializing their community.

We had an Environmental Review Tribunal appeal (ERT) in West Grey for 2 days. The majority of these ERT tribunals have not been successful, but it is the government’s game and we have to play it.

On Monday, May 5th our team sat together consisting of Van den Bosch, the appellant; Dr. Chris Wren, our expert witness; Eric Gillespie, our lawyer. On the other side we found the MOE (Ministry Of Environment) sitting with NextEra (the approval holder).

Chairman Wright, also employed by the Government of Ontario, was sitting in the middle, so to speak, holding his head. “It’s a very unusual case,” everyone agreed.

Our ERT (Environmental Review Tribunal) was dismissed on July 29th. The ERT cost us a few bucks. It is a sad day when citizens have to spend their hard-earned after-tax dollars to fight their own government but that is where we are. Our community banded together and raised most of the required money.

We decided to file for a judicial review of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, known as the MNRF.

NextEra made numerous mistakes in their application for this project. And the MNR did not require the wind company to study our endangered species, the Redside Dace fish, even though it is required through the Endangered Species Act.

Chairman Wright pointed out in the ERT report that indeed, had the study of the fish been done, the result of our case may have been different.

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) did not do their due diligence to protect our endangered species. They did not follow their own rule.

The DACES (Durham Area Citizens for Endangered Species) Inc. judicial review of the MNRF (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) was heard in Brampton, Ontario, on March 19th, 2015.

The judicial review alleged that the MNRF failed to protect sensitive endangered species habitat from wind turbine construction in a protected area of Ontario. Primarily at issue was whether the Ontario Government, through its Ministry, allowed a for-profit corporation to “self-regulate” with regards to determining whether its construction activities would harm the habitat of an endangered species, the Redside Dace (RSD).

Judgement was handed down on March 25, 2015. The Court dismissed the DACES Inc. application, on the grounds that the decision made by the MNRF did not constitute a “statutory power of decision,” which the Court could review judicially.

Respectfully, DACES Inc. disagrees with this finding, as in DACES Inc.’s view, amongst other concerns, it appears to contradict the Mandate of the MNRF as stated by Premier Kathleen Wynne (detailed below).

DACES Inc. filed a “Leave to Appeal” application within 15 days from March 25th.

It is the hope of DACES Inc. that leave will be granted, which would allow the Ontario Court of Appeal to hear DACES Inc.’s concerns.

DACES Inc. firmly believes this issue is one of concern to all Ontario citizens, who share a legacy of natural heritage that deserves to be protected.

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The Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO) listed the Redside Dace as endangered in 2009 under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007.

Redside Dace was assessed as endangered in Canada by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in April of 2007.

The Redside Dace is currently being considered for listing as endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA)

Premier Kathleen Wynne, in her September 2014 Mandate Letter to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, included the following directive: Implementing the Endangered Species Act. I ask that you continue to implement the act in a way that protects and promotes the recovery of species at risk in Ontario.

Read Premier Kathleen Wynne Mandate Letter to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry on September 2014, included the following directive: Implementing the Endangered Species Act.

Respectfully, the decision of the MNRF, and subsequently the Court, does not appear to be fulfilling this mandate.

We heard from our lawyer, Eric Gillespie, and our request to have leave to appeal our Judicial Review has been dismissed by the court. Unfortunately, this legal road is finished for us.