Not surprisingly, Menkes Developments Ltd. is satisfied with Ontario Justice of the Peace William Turtle’s decision to dismiss three charges against the company under the federal Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act for bird deaths at Consilium Place in Scarborough, Ont.
The charges stemmed from complaints launched over two years ago, alleging that Menkes — then the owner of Consilium Place, a three-tower commercial complex — was responsible for the injuries or deaths of more than 800 birds flying into the buildings’ glass surfaces. In his ruling, he determined that Menkes ultimately bore no responsibility for bird deaths at Consilium Place.
“We respect the court’s decision and look forward to building awareness about high-rise bird collision-prevention in the future,” said Sonya Buikema, Menkes vice-president of commercial property management. “We have worked diligently with the bird conservation community over the years and will continue to offer our support and cooperation going forward. We continue to apply what we have learned from our extensive research and testing, to our other projects, with our aim to create as safe an environment as possible for migratory birds.”
In early 2007, just after Menkes purchased the existing property, the issue of bird collisions at Consilium Place was raised with Menkes (which sold the property to Kevric Real Estate Corporation in July 2012). Menkes implemented several measures such as a Lights Out campaign, where all non-essential lighting was turned off and blinds drawn during migration season; an educational campaign to boost awareness; installation of netting and a bird rescue station which had supplies and information pamphlets for anyone involved in rescuing injured birds; and the removal of all feed and water points from around the building.
The most effective solution to date, a window film with distinct markers spaced four inches apart, was derived from the research of Dr. Daniel Klem Jr., a professor of biology and ornithology at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., and produced by Toronto-based window film installation firm Convenience Group Inc.
In 2011, the film was applied to exterior windows on the first four floors of three surfaces at 100 and 200 Consilium Place, and resulted in a dramatic decrease in bird collisions, according to statistics from the non-profit Fatal Light Awareness Program. The same film was applied to the balance of the surfaces at 100 and 200 Consilium Place by the new owners, Kevric Real Estate Corporation in the fall 2012.