There have been many anti-wind court cases in Canada and all over the world. However, this seems to be the first I’ve come across where the wind farm opponents had to pay the legal costs for the other side.
In Collingwood, a group of landowners decided to sue wpd Canada Corp. and Beattie Brothers Farms for more than $17 million when they found out a wind farm was being proposed for the area. The claim was that property values had decreased as a result of the Fairview Wind Project.
Madam Justice S.E. Healey dismissed the action, and ruled that there had been no misconduct by wpd or the Beattie Brothers, writing, “As the evidence exists today, the plaintiffs are unable to prove that they have been wronged by the defendants”. The wind farm had not even received final regulatory approval, so they plaintiffs could not base the decreased property value on something that had not happened yet. As a result, the judge ordered the landowners to pay $107,370.78 towards the legal costs of the defendants.
The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Eric Gillespie, said the legal costs will be split 21 ways, and the judge’s ruling has left the door open for them to pursue legal action in the future, if the project ever receives final approval. It seemed to be a scare tactic in order to warn the companies to back off with the wind project.
The spokesman for wpd, Kevin Surette said, “We fully intend to proceed (with the project)”. The application for the wind farm is still being considered and once complete, will have a six-month review period, which includes the opportunity for the public to comment.
It doesn’t look like the landowners of Collingwood will be backing down on this project any time soon!
To show your support for wind projects, check out our post on how to write a letter to your representative supporting wind power.