We have a couple of updates in the fight to Save our Greenspace. In our last e-news we told you about ClubLink’s costs submission to the court claiming $50,000 due from the Coalition citing our misguided efforts as an intervenor at the 40PA hearing. They suggested we unnecessarily increased their costs while failing to contribute to the positive solution of the case for the City among other things.
We’ve been busy since we last talked…
Spring has truly sprung and we hope that the snow and cooler temperatures will soon be behind us for a long while. Bulbs and trees are sprouting and budding across our greenspaces. It’s greening up all around and so beautiful to see, especially given the restrictions of Ontario’s tightest Covid-19 lockdown yet. One day at a time as we all work to cope.
To that end, we offer up this article by Hannah Hoag published recently in the Globe and Mail This is Your Brain on Trees: Why is Urban Nature so good for our minds, and what happens when a pandemic isolates us from it? We hope you find it interesting and informative.
We have a couple of updates in the fight to Save our Greenspace. Let’s get to it.
ClubLink demands legal costs from the Coalition
In our last e-news we told you about ClubLink’s costs submission to the court claiming $50,000 due from the Coalition citing our misguided efforts as an intervenor at the 40PA hearing. They suggested we unnecessarily increased their costs while failing to contribute to the positive solution of the case for the City among other things. We submitted our costs submission to Justice Labrosse in response, who is again charged with a review and a decision. The Coalition countered the various ClubLink claims and also requested reimbursement for our costs for what we suggested was an unwarranted application. Should the judge disagree and decide that ClubLink is fairly entitled, we raised several cracker jack arguments to suggest that a reduction in the size of their claim was required. There is no timeline for Justice Labrosse’s decision. Rest assured, we will update you when it arrives.
It is hard to see this action by ClubLink as anything other than punitive. It appears they want to strike at our ability to stay the course by driving up our costs. Perhaps they just want us to go away. It struck a chord with you for sure – many wrote, clearly incensed! In the end, we thank you for positively channelling your anger and frustration … you generously donated over $4,200 in one very busy 24 hours after our e-news was published! THANKS SO MUCH!
The ClubLink Appeal of the 40PA decision
Also out recently is the ClubLink factum (14 Mb) supporting its appeal. The next required step is the filing of the reply factum by the other party, the City, in response. It is due at the court by May 14. We also remind you that the Court of Appeals has agreed to a request by both parties for an expedited hearing and set June 17 as the date. There is to be video access to the hearing. We’ll update you on the details when they become available.
Given that the Coalition does not have automatic party status, we have been assessing the best path forward to ensure the community’s specific legal concerns are before the Court of Appeals when it hears ClubLink case. As was the case last year with the 40PA, we must either seek and be granted intervenor status to allow our counsel to participate or, rely on the City and its party status to refute the ClubLink appeal. We’ve been weighing our options.
At the outset, the Coalition agrees with both parties in wanting to avoid a delay in the appeal hearing date and does recognize that seeking intervenor status might do just that – by how much is unknown. Why is delay such an issue? In the late summer, all sides (including the Coalition) must start preparations for the upcoming January 2022 LPAT hearing. There will be no need for the very large financial investment in LPAT if the ClubLink appeal be denied in June. A second issue – the path to intervenor status may be an uphill battle. ClubLink has already stated its intent to oppose our efforts; there will be no obvious City support for our intervenor status (they expect we will not be successful); its costs would be substantial and could run beyond $40,000 if we factor in costs claims against us should we be unsuccessful. A third larger issue to consider is the complicating restrictions of intervenor status which will restrict the arguments our counsel can bring which could limit our chance of success. While our arguments are not frivolous, this path appears to head uphill.
In the alternative, our legal counsel has had a discussion with the City’s legal team as it builds its reply factum. The issues at stake in the appeal are far less broad than those in the original 40PA hearing. We have confirmed that the City legal team can produce a fulsome reply to the ClubLink appeal addressing the important issues of concern. As a result, the Coalition has concluded that the community’s needs can be met and the Labrosse 40PA decision defended by the City, and that it is the preferable route given the risks of pursuing intervenor status and the limited chance of success for the Coalition. We will watch for the City reply factum on or before May 14.
We want you to know that the KGPC remains committed to defending the 40 PA as the definitive step to protect our greenspace. Should ClubLink succeed at the Court of Appeals, we will continue on and move forward at full speed. We will begin our preparations for the January 2022 LPAT hearing in the summer. We will continue to fundraise. Rest assured, there is more to be done.
When you’re spending money…. you should be fundraising!
Our events team took some downtime in April after a few really successful events in March. We are currently financially prepared to take on all of the above issues. But, we must plan for tomorrow… to ensure we protect our greenspace. If you value those great spring trail walks and access to our open and green spaces, your donation however small or large, whether by e-transfer, cheque or credit card is welcome!
Thank you again for your support and your time. Reach out if there is something else you would like to know or better understand. We’ll do our very best to stay on top of it all!
Take good care and be safe.
Barbara Ramsay, Chair
Kanata Greenspace Protection Coalition
P.S. And sometimes, we need to stop and think about it all…
The Ballad of the Soccer Mom by Janet Mark Wallace was included in a recent Walkable Ottawa blog . This article has been circulating through the email lists of the thousands of folks who volunteer on behalf of our Ottawa neighbourhoods on environment, planning, and all of the other important issues that help make our city more liveable. It is pretty hard to miss its point. Enjoy!