Pointe Estates: Opposing sides reach settlementWednesday, October 02, 2013 by: Darren Taylor
A group of Pointe Louise Drive residents, known collectively as the Pointes Protection Association (PPA), the Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority (SSMRCA) and local developer Jeff Avery have reached a settlement in a matter brought before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice by the PPA.
It is expected the legal matter will be officially dismissed by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Sudbury within the next few days.
Details of the reason(s) for the dismissal are not yet known.
The dispute can trace its roots to a 3-2 recorded vote by the Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority Board at its December 13, 2012 meeting, despite opposition from the PPA, in which it approved an application by Avery to construct a large subdivision north of Pointe Louise Drive and south of Pointe Aux Pins Drive.
While that 102 hectare (252 acre) area is not officially classified by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) as provincially significant wetland, the PPA felt certain Avery’s proposal posed considerable risk to the area’s watershed and in March 2013, Sault Ste. Marie lawyer Helen Scott, representing the PPA, filed legal documents which stated the Conservation Authority Board failed to meet its own bylaws (176/06) aimed at protecting wetlands in its December 2012 vote.
Neither Avery nor his lawyer Orlando Rosa was available for comment Tuesday.
However, we were able to contact Scott and PPA President Peter Gagnon.
Scott told SooToday.com Tuesday: “They (all the parties involved) have basically come to an agreement to end the matter.”
However, Scott told us: “Dismissal of the case before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice simply means the court will not be making a ruling whether or not the Conservation Authority made a mistake in its ruling of December 2012.”
Because of an upcoming Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing, Scott told us: “There will still be an opportunity for a thorough review of the proposed development (by Avery) in front of the Ontario Municipal Board.”
Sault Ste. Marie City Council, in a 7-4 recorded vote, rejected Avery’s Pointe Estates subdivision application at its July 15 meeting.
Avery has filed an appeal of Council’s decision with the OMB.
Any evidence presented at the OMB hearing by Pointes Protection Association President Peter Gagnon and other PPA members will be evidence based on scientific data, with no reference made to the soon-to-be-dropped legal matters involving the Conservation Authority.
Gagnon told SooToday.com Tuesday the PPA looks forward to participating in the OMB hearing.