During this past week, there were a number of notable developments as Cambrian Watch continues to seek ‘Friend of the Commission’ party-status in the forthcoming Act 250 hearings for the Cambrian Rise development project. While the District #4 Environmental Commission had initially indicated that it would convene to determine its final ruling on party status requests Wednesday morning of August 2nd, it has since been announced that these determinations will be finalized early next week. Prior to Tuesday’s deadline to deliver additional documentation and information to assist the Commission in making its determinations, Cambrian Watch submitted a letter to the Commission outlining its desired form of participation in the upcoming hearings. In turn, Cambrian Watch also submitted an itemized account of citizen concerns pertaining to the project, which were collected via online petition, a series of general open house events, and the Old North End Ramble held on July 29th.
On the 19th of July, BC Community Housing LLC circulated its Applicant’s Response To Petitioners’ Request for Party Status And Participation notice to the District #4 Environmental Commission and the petitioning parties from the July 10th Pre-Hearing Conference. In this notice, the applicant announced that it would not object to Cambrian Watch’s participation as a ‘Friend of the Commission’. The applicant did however request that Cambrian Watch’s participation in the forthcoming proceedings be limited to the filing of memoranda, proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and argument on legal issues. Under such an arrangement, Cambrian Watch’s participatory role would be limited to mere observation. According to the Act 250 statute, entities seeking ‘Friend of the Commission’ party status are eligible to request that their participation be expanded to include the provision of testimony and filing of evidence to the Commission, should the Commission deem its grounds for doing so adequate. While Cambrian Watch as an organization is willing to forego an attempt to gain formal party-status and thereby the right to appeal any final rulings reached by the Commission, the unprecedented scale of the proposed Cambrian Rise development and the numerous impacts it will have on arguably every citizen in the city of Burlington and the surrounding ecosystem would seemingly constitute adequate grounds. As such, it is the belief of Cambrian Watch that the testimony provided by the organization would be integral in ensuring that transparency and science inform the Commission it is reaches an ultimate ruling on the project.