By Kevin J. Sabo For the Advance
The Regional Subdivision and Development Appeal Board held a preliminary hearing on June 8th to discuss matters related to the Court of Appeals decision allowing for the re-hearing of 10 appeals for permits issued for the Halkirk 2 Wind Project.
The meeting was held via teleconference, with the members of Palliser Municipal Planning Services Regional Subdivision and Development Appeal Board members meeting in person at the County of Paintearth offices, and the majority of the appellants, their legal counsel, County and Capital Power representatives and their legal counsel all attending remotely.
Guided by the chairperson of the board, Karen Howley of Red Deer, the board took submissions from the legal counsel as to how the merits hearing should go, as well as establishing dates for said hearings.
The board was put together due to a recent Alberta Court of Appeals ruling that said that the appellants were not given proper opportunity to appeal the matter of the placement of the 10 wind towers, and that the previous Subdivision and Appeal Board erred by not allowing the arguments to be heard.
The make-up of the new board to decide the fate of the appeals has been structured deliberately so that none of the members have ties to the region, in an effort to remove any bias from the panel.
No objections were noted by any of the parties in regard to the panel composition.
Procedures approved by the panel for the merits hearing included, “The adjournment and scheduling of the Merits Hearing, the record for rehearing, setting filing dates for written submissions, (and) the format of written and oral submissions.”
Appellants and affected parties in support of the appeal of the 10 permits needed to have their written documents in by June 18th.
Respondents and affected parties opposed to the appeals are required to have their documents in to the clerk two weeks later, on July 2nd.
The Appellants will have one week to submit rebuttals, with the deadline being July 9th. All documents are to be submitted electronically.
During the June 8th meeting, legal counsel for the appellants did motion that oral submissions be allowed during the hearing, a request which was ultimately granted, with some conditions.
Appellants wanting to make oral submissions before the board will be limited to five minutes if they have legal counsel and, “As long as the submissions did not become overly repetitive.”
No time limits will be in effect for legal counsel or, “Those individuals not represented by counsel.”
The merits hearing will take place over two days, July 16th and 17th beginning at 10 a.m. at a yet to be determined location.