(Washington, D.C., November 9, 2012) Many of the 48 million Americans who enjoy bird watching will have a strong interest in the pending verdicts in two unprecedented lawsuits in Toronto, Canada. One of the deadliest threats to birds worldwide – building collisions – has, in a sense, been put on trial.
A verdict in the first trial, which began in April, 2011, is expected from Justice of the Peace William Turtle on November 14. It pits the owners of three adjoining glass office buildings – Consilium Place Towers – against two environmental groups – Ecojustice andOntario Nature.
Those groups claim that the buildings, whose exterior faces are almost entirely glass, are responsible the deaths of about 7,000 birds in the last decade, making them likely the most deadly in the entire Greater Toronto area.
Menkes Consilium Inc., Menkes Developments Ltd., and Menkes Property Management Services Ltd., along with three other companies, have been charged under Canada’s Environmental Protection Act with discharging a contaminant – light reflected from the glass – that causes harm to animals. In addition to possible fines under that law, the companies also face a maximum fine of $60,000 under the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act for causing birds to be in distress. The lawsuit followed lengthy, failed attempts to negotiate a settlement between the parties.
The verdict in the second trial, which began in April 2012, is expected from Judge Melvyn Green on December 4, 2012. Cadillac Fairview Corporation, the owner of three office buildings in the city, has been charged with violating Canada’s Species at Risk Act. The charges are being brought in a private prosecution by Ecojustice.