On August 6, 2013, the appeal by the Municipality of North Middlesex, relating to allegations of serious harm to human health, was dismissed on the consent of all parties.
On November 12, 2013, the Tribunal dismissed the appeal by Robert Lewis, on the basis that the Appellant had not met the statutory test of demonstrating serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment.
The central issue raised by the Appellant was the potential harm to bald eagles with an active nest adjacent to the project. With respect to the relevant scale of harm, the Tribunal affirmed that it would continue to adopt a fact-specific, case by case approach. In this case, the Tribunal held that the local scale is the most appropriate one to apply in assessing whether there will be serious and irreversible harm to bald eagles.
The Tribunal found that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the project would cause serious and irreversible harm to the bald eagles, either by death or displacement. However, the Tribunal recommended to the Approval Holder that it not immediately build two turbines in the potential tertiary habitat of the nesting pair on the basis of a short duration behavioural study. Instead, the Tribunal noted that relocating the turbines, or postponing construction of the two turbines until more behavioural data is obtained, would be a more protective option for the eagles and the nest site.
The Tribunal also found that there was insufficient evidence to meet the test of causing serious and irreversible harm with respect to a number of other issues raised by the Appellant and the Participant in the proceeding, including:
• harm to the species and habitats on the property of the Participant;
• renewable energy-related mass bird kills at the site;
• harm to bats in the project area; and
• other environmental harm, such as the disturbance of plant and animal life.
In addition, the Tribunal found that several other issues raised by the Appellant, such as political matters, protest movements, the costs of turbines, etc., were not relevant to the scope of the proceeding.