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Lucy Fleming declines seat on EIA tribunal; Minister plays down Waterloo suit

Posted: Tuesday, March 21, 2023. 9:09 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: On Monday, Minister of Sustainable Development Orlando “Landy” Habet confirmed that owner of Chaa Creek Resort and his pick to replace Business Community Senator Kevin Herrera on the review tribunal for the Waterloo cruise port and cargo expansion project, Lucy Fleming, has declined the post.

Fleming had been named along with Judge Patricia Farnese and environmental consultant Professor Terry Hughes but she wrote on Facebook that “I realized that in fairness to the Tribunal role, the Foundation, and myself, I did not have the energy, resources, and overall capacity to properly fulfill the demand required to do the role justice.” She was referring to the Justice for Laddie Foundation founded in the wake of his passing in July of 2021; the trial against his accused killer, former Police Corporal Kareem Martinez, concluded just last week with a decision set for April.

Fleming added that she was honoured by being considered for the position.

Waterloo has filed a fixed date claim challenging both the constitution of the tribunal under amended regulations that they claim put them at a disadvantage as well as the alleged bias of Fleming and Hughes potentially impacting the tribunal’s work. Among other things, they are asking for the regulations as amended to be quashed and for findings of Government’s bad faith, alleged bias, and others.

On Monday Minister Habet said Fleming’s decision points to the need for further revision of the regulations: “We see from here now that even when we do further amendments to the legislation these things have to be taken into consideration, somebody can pull out, something can happen and somebody can get sick. So there has to be in that legislation time allotted so that sufficient time so that then you can accommodate some of these changes that can happen without your really being involved or not knowing what these things can, things like these that can happen. So, I think that having sufficient time put in there, that would be very, very important.”

As for the Waterloo suit, Minister Habet says that once he has named the members of the tribunal, the law says he must get out of the way: “As you know, the way the legislation is framed, the minister doesn’t make a decision. So, for that reason, during the former administration, those amendments were made so that then the tribunal is formed in collaboration with the ministry, the minister, but the minister has no say in that actual decision-making process, but the final decision is left up to the tribunal.”

No date has been set either for the claim to be heard in court or for the composition of the tribunal to be completed.

 

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