Community group in Rocky View County hit with $100,000 costs bill, aims to raise $200,000 for bill for judicial review

Community group in Rocky View County aims to raise $200,000 for bill for judicial review by Kristen Spruit, October 21, 2013, Rocky View Weekly
The Springbank Community Planning Association (SCPA) was hit with a $100,000 bill after the first of two judicial reviews was not ruled in the group’s favour by Court of Queen’s Bench presiding judge Justice Ron Stevens. The community group is now in the process of fundraising for “the worst case scenario” to cover legal bills and costs if the second judicial review is not successful, said SCPA Resource Director Gloria Wilkinson and former Springbank councillor between 1989 and 1997.

“We’re still in the process, we’re still engaged, we’re still very hopeful,” said SCPA member Doug Bulger at a special community group meeting called for Oct. 17 that focused on where the group currently stands with its legal action against Rocky View County (RVC) regarding the Bingham Crossing development. In 2012, two Springbank residents filed for a judicial review of a RVC public hearing about the Bingham Crossing commercial development project. The proposed Bingham Crossing development, is located immediately north of the TransCanada Highway and east of Range Road 33 in Springbank and will include a shopping area and senior housing development.

During the first judicial review, the residents’ legal representative claimed council violated procedural fairness during the public hearing and dismissed written objections to the project. The second judicial review will explore the issue of whether council should have expanded the notification area to inform a wider scope of residents about the proposed project. The group is aiming to raise $200,000 and Wilkinson said 55 per cent has already been achieved through individual and community donors. …

The case was presented before Court of Queens Bench Judge Stevens on April 26 and he rendered a decision not in favour of the SCPA on Aug. 29. Costs of $69,000 were awarded to the developers of Bingham Crossing, which Wilkinson said has already been paid. Additional costs amounting to $39,000 were awarded to RVC which is still being negotiated.

Wilkinson said the group is appealing Judge Stevens’ decision and is not expecting the case to be heard until next spring, but is hopeful they’ll have a positive ruling. “The appeal process is different in that it’s a very narrow approach, all the information in front of three judges, not one. When we have three people, you can hope that at least two of them will know what’s going on,” added Bulger.

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