New witness statements on endangered species delays Amherst Island appeal
“I don’t want to short-change any witnesses,” says Tribunal chair Robert Wright in extending the hearing
The Whig-Standard, February 2, 2016
By Elliot Ferguson
STELLA — A late influx of witness statements from Amherst Island residents had lawyers appearing before the Environmental Review Tribunal manoeuvring to find a way to incorporate them into this week’s hearings.
On the weekend, 14 more factual witness statements were submitted by lawyers representing the Association to Protect Amherst Island. They joined 30 other statements already filed.
Many of the statements include descriptions of sightings of the endangered Blanding’s turtle.
Additional expert witness statements and disclosure from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change were also submitted.
“We haven’t even had the chance to read these,” association lawyer Eric Gillespie said.
The tribunal had scheduled three days of hearings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday to deal with the resident witnesses, with the first residents to testify Tuesday morning.
The delay caused by the added witness statements, however, meant no residents took the stand Tuesday. Instead, Gillespie and Arlen Sternberg, a lawyer for Windlectric Inc., agreed that the tribunal would start an hour earlier on Wednesday and Friday to make up the lost time.
What was not agreed upon was the exact procedure for questioning and cross-examining so many witnesses in the shorter time frame.
Tribunal member Robert Wright encouraged both sides to figure out a way to both speed up the process and allow the witnesses to testify.
Please read the full story by Elliot Ferguson here.