Nation Rise Wind Farm developer in livestreamed virtual court hearing today

The construction seen at one of 29 turbine sites in North Stormont, photographed in the winter of 2019-2020. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

TORONTO — The developer of the half-completed Nation Rise Wind Farm is in virtual court today, appealing an Ontario cabinet minister’s decision that kiboshed the 29-turbine project halfway through construction.

After pondering his move for 11 months, Environment Minister Jeff Yurek abruptly cancelled the multi-million dollar project last December, citing the protection of bat species. The Concerned Citizens of North Stormont had appealed to the minister to stop the EDP Renewables’ project after losing a first appeal to the ministry’s own internal tribunal in 2018.

Now, in an attempt to overturn Yurek’s decision and restart the work, corporate entities affiliated with the development will address the judicial review in Ontario Superior Court today — a session taking place electronically and streamed live amid the COVID-19 crisis.

“In the present process, Nation Rise Wind Farm Limited Partnership and Nation Rise Wind Farm GP Inc are the Appellants v Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks as the initial respondent,” reports Margaret Benke, who spearheaded the successful appeal to the minister on behalf of the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont.

The local opponents also have respondent status in the developer’s appeal of their appeal, she explains by email, “because we are in support of the minister’s decision and because we (Concerned Citizens of North Stormont) were parties to the entire process, as a result of our initial appeal of the REA on May 22nd, 2018.”

“It’s my understanding that no decision will be made today, and that there are limited appeal options available to Nation Rise, should they not succeed today,” adds Benke, who predicts the developers nonetheless will “likely try again” if the three judges involved in the proceedings rule against them.

Today’s court proceedings involved  justices K. Swinton, Lise Favreau and Harriet Sachs and counsel for the involved parties.

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