An unconventional merit hearing was held at the County of Paintearth building for the Halkirk 2 Wind Project as proposed by Capital Power.
For two-days, parties went back and forth on scope, interpreting and understanding the rules set out by the Alberta Court of Appeal, and determining the Regional Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) powers.
Approximately 30 people participated in support of the appeal including 10 appellants sharing their passionate, heartfelt and real stories and experiences surrounding the project.
Tears were shed as well as laughs throughout the two long days.
An echo amongst many was the sentiment of “None of us are against wind development, we just want it done properly” as said by Brenda Anderson, one supporting the appeal.
The Alberta Court of Appeals ruled earlier this year that appellants were not given a fair chance by being denied a merit hearing which was the reason for this one.
The appellants are appealing 10 of 72 proposed turbines of Capital Power’s Halkirk 2 Wind Project.
In terms of participation, many were either there in person in council chambers of the county building, were situated outside of the building in the parking lot or were able to listen and participate via teleconference call.
A private company was utilized to make the hearing run smoother with the use of microphones connected to their phone system.
“Today is quite unusual for all of us,” said Chair Karen Howley referring to the fashion the proceedings taking place in.
W.L. McEllhaney and Alexander Yiu represented the appellants while Gavin Fitch represented Capital Power and Jeneane Grundberg represented the County of Paintearth.
As per the preliminary hearing, Chair Howley announced that all sitting SDAB members had no affiliation to the county, largely outside of the east central region or at least two municipalities away.
No objections were raised either time.
The board is said to have 15 days to make a final verdict after hearing each representative or person as well as review hundreds of documents that were submitted.