Over 120 people were in attendance to witness the continuation of the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) meeting involving the Paradise Shores development on Buffalo Lake.
The proposed project, a 750 lot RV resort on the south banks of Buffalo Lake, has caused major waves in communities residing nearby.
The SDAB meeting was held in the Stettler Community Hall on Thurs. Aug. 16., to go over any procedural problems and determine future plans.
Eight appellants submitted applications against the project and one was received from the developer in favour of it.
The meeting was chaired by Craig Teal. Teal, Greggory Jackson and Blake Chapman made up the appeal board. An appointed lawyer as well as Yvette Cassidy who filled in as the SDAB secretary.
Next door neighbours Rochon Sands Heights Community Association spoke up the most during the meeting.
The party was concerned with collusion involving the Paradise Shores developer Rick Halpern and Stettler County’s developer Johan Van Derbank.
FOIP documents were seized for the 1000 page report outlining each conversation that may have been pertinent to this concern.
Developers have the right to make contact through text or other forms of communication but interactions must remain professional, not social in nature according to Municipal Government Act (MGA) which was highlighted in the community association’s appeal submission.
The texts recovered said things like “Thank you for lunch. Great to meet your family. The food was great. I just sent over that drawing. Have a great evening.” and “This will all still be here on Monday morning. Please go enjoy your family for the weekend. Have a great weekend. That’s as a friend not a developer.”
The SDAB members were also prior Stettler County council members.
“Do any of the board members feel that the previous professional or personal relations with the development authority of the County of Stettler influence your ability to provide a fair and unbiased hearing?” asked Julie Ruttan, Rochon Sands Community Association representative.
The board decided that these interactions and past connections were not enough to change board members and ruled that they were ‘satisfied that they do not have a bias’ which furthered the hearing.
Paradise Shores’ lawyer asked for a grace period of 20 days or less to read through the 1000 page package more thoroughly in claims of ‘fairness of process’.
The board agreed to this but also extended the same courtesy to the appellants.
After 20 days, all final submissions will be taken and added to the package if there is any.
After this deadline, the board will review before the next hearing.
The next SDAB hearing will be held on September 18.
The final bullet point on the board’s agenda pertained to how the hearing will be conducted in September.
After deliberation, the board produced two options; the first being to have each appellant say their piece before the board or to have each appellant speak about a number of specific topics as to avoid repetitiveness.
Each speaker will have the chance for a rebuttal after all topics have been covered.
The Rochon Sands Community Association was in favour of the first option as to make powerful points during their speech but the board chose the option of specific topics to avoid repetition.