Following the decision of the Minister of AESRD to reverse the approval of the permit the County received to cross a wetland on RR 104, Council has been presented with 3 options to proceed:
- Do nothing - therefore not proceed with the building of the road
- Reapply for a permit to cross a wetland - outlining the reasons that the County cannot avoid the wetland
- Pursue Judicial review of the Minister's decision
Doing nothing and not proceeding with the road does not meet Council's strategic direction. Nor does it deal with the complaints of volumes of traffic and safety concerns in the hamlet of Owlseye.
Reapplying for a permit and including in the application why avoidance of the wetland is not an option allows Council to work towards their strategic goals and reduce the safety concerns in the hamlet of Owlseye. Indications from AESRD is that they are willing to receive another application regarding the crossing of this wetland, as long as it includes the avoidance issues. This option, should the County again receive a permit to cross the wetland, may be appealed by the public and the County could experience the same types of costs associated with the mediation and appeal hearings held regarding the last permit. These costs were approximately $25,000.
Judicial Review of the Minister's Decision would incur additional legal costs estimated up to $12,500. In order to succeed before the Court, the County would have to establish not only that the Board's decision was incorrect but that it was unreasonable. While the County may have some good arguments to support a Judicial Review, the Court would likely show some deference to the Board. If a Judicial Review is unsuccessful, and the County is still interested in pursuing the building of this road to meet our strategic direction, we would need to reapply for a permit as outlined above.