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Fishermen lose bid to halt tidal turbine testing in Bay of Fundy

Judge rules Cape Sharp Tidal project can move forward, citing no immediate risk of irreparable harm to environment


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The Cape Sharp Tidal Turbine en route to Halifax Harbour earlier this year. PHOTO: Cape Sharp Tidal

The Cape Sharp Tidal Turbine en route to Halifax Harbour earlier this year. PHOTO: Cape Sharp Tidal

HALIFAX—An effort by a fishermen’s group to halt testing of tidal turbines in the Bay of Fundy has been denied by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

The Bay of Fundy Inshore Fisherman’s Association had wanted the court to stop Cape Sharp Tidal’s plan to test two turbines designed to assess the potential for producing electricity from the tidal forces of the bay.

The group wanted the testing in the seabed of the Minas Passage halted until a judicial review could be heard in February of the Department of Environment’s decision to approve the project.

But Justice Jamie Campbell denied the stay, saying the fisherman’s group has not proven the risk of irreparable harm occurring before the judicial review takes place.

Campbell’s decision, released Oct. 25, said in the absence of evidence of the risk of irreparable harm, Cape Sharp Tidal should be allowed to proceed based on the approvals it has already obtained.

“The association needed to show evidence that the deployment of the turbines now would result in harm that would happen before the judicial review … and that the harm would persist after that,” Campbell’s decision said.

He noted that the environmental concerns must be taken seriously and the implications of mishandling the project in the Bay of Fundy would have “potentially catastrophic consequences.”

“This motion is not about weighing those potential consequences against the benefits of tidal power development,” Campbell wrote. “It involves a much more specific question. That is whether the association has shown that it is likely that harm will be done between now and the spring of 2017 by installing these two turbines and that harm will be irreparable.”

The decision notes that the fisherman’s association is not opposed to the development of tidal power in the Bay of Fundy, but “want to make sure that the resource is developed in a way that doesn’t damage the unique environment of the area.”

The association did not return a request for comment on Tuesday.

The judicial review is set to be heard on Feb. 1 and 2.


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