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article imageSuperior Court grants both injunctions in Guelph's HCBP case

By Stephanie Dearing     Aug 13, 2009 in Environment
Guelph, ON - In a 25 page decision handed down earlier today, Justice Gray granted the City its injunction against the protesters who have occupied the construction site since July 27th. The protesters were also granted their injunction against the City.
Justice Gray gave the protesters their injunction against the City of Guelph, which means that the City cannot proceed with any construction work for a period of 30 days. Justice Gray gave Donna Cansfield, Ontario's Minister of Natural Resources 30 days to step in and take steps to protect the endangered Jefferson Salamander, should she see fit to do so. In the meanwhile, the City of Guelph says it is prepared to act on its injunction and have protesters arrested should they stay on the site. Should the Minister choose not to act within the 30 day period, the land falls back to the City to develop as it pleases. The decision by Justice Gray was posted by the protesters on their blog.
The protesters pulled together a press conference today to announce the decision. Yesterday Dr. James Bogart, Ontario's Jefferson Salamander expert, told the Guelph Mercury that no further work should be done on the site until at least next year, and searches for the elusive salamander should be continued.
The City has been tyring to do some damage control after letters from the Ministry of Natural Resources were presented in the Ontario Supreme Court as evidence against the City on August 10th. Specifically, Ian Hagman from the Ministry of Natural Resources said in his July 31st, four page letter to the City "...the Ministry is concerned that the continued development of municipal services within the HCBP [Hanlon Creek Business Park] potentially may lead to a contravention of s.9 (1) and/or s.10 (1) of the Act. This concern originates from the fact that development is proceeding despite the recent discovery of the species on the subject lands, and in the absence of due consideration of the species habitat. ...The Ministry notes that the construction of Culvert A, adjacent to Blocks 3, 5, 6 and 8 of the HCBP engineering design, was initiated on July 6, 2009. In review of the Ministry's preliminary recommendation to the City (May 25, 2009), the Ministry recommended that the development of Culvert A should not proceed until the site was further examined for Jefferson Salamander habitat and the implications of the ESA (2007) had been considered."
The Mayor of Guelph, Karen Farbridge said on her blog on August 11th, "There has been some concern in the community about the Ministry of Natural Resources’ position about the Hanlon Creek Business Park, stemming from coverage of the injunction hearing and a July 31st letter from MNR requesting further study on the Jefferson salamander habitat. In response to the letter, the City met with MNR on August 5. You can read the minutes here. There are five action items, which outline a process to to mitigate any potential impacts of the culvert construction on any potential Jefferson salamander. The MNR affirmed that the culvert construction does not contravene any existing legislation."
The protesters have reported their lawyer, Eric Gillespie as saying that the order was unprecedented. They also say "Above all, the struggle to defend this land is not over. For now, we are asking everyone possible to contact the Donna Cansfield, the Minister of Natural Resources. Please call her, email her, and/or send her snail mail – and tell everyone you know to do the same – urging her to maintain and enforce the prior position of the Guelph MNR, which is that the HCBP should not proceed."
The City of Guelph has graciously given the protesters until noon Friday to clear out of the site. The City has also said that there are three businesses interested in locating in the Hanlon Creek Business Park.
More about Hanlon creek business, Jefferson salamander, Old growth forest, Guelph
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