October 30, 2015
Ostrander Point ERT in Demorestville Day 3
The ERT re-convened at 10 am today at Demorestville Town Hall. After much procedural wrangling about the documents that were disclosed by Karen Bellamy finally Ms. Bellamy’s cross examination was begun in the late morning. There was a discussion about how to deal with the vast amount of material that had been disclosed. Normally each item would be entered as an exhibit as it was discussed with the witness, but this was deemed to be a cumbersome method in this case. It was decided to get started and see how things went. Mr. Wright was quite insistent that it was necessary to get on with the cross examination. Eric Gillespie started through the 1500 documents that were disclosed. Most of the information that Eric was taking Ms. Bellamy to was about the process of how the Endangered Species Act was to be implemented and the plans for the Impact Management Plan. It became obvious that the approach of going through 1500 documents one by one was not a productive exercise. Eric suggested – with the agreement of Ms. Davis and Ms. Kromkamp that the documents could be grouped into categories and that a representative document or two from each category would provide the information he wanted to relay to the Tribunal. Over the lunch break we went through the three volumes of documents and categorized them into groups such as: articles that could be removed from the record; articles that had been previously referred to, and a broad category of newspaper articles, power points, draft ESA permits and EBR postings and a group of unclassified emails.
The gist of Eric Gillespie’s argument was that the documents showed clear indications that Ms. Bellamy’s role was to coordinate and promote the Ostrander Point development. The written notes that were released through a freedom of information request included a communication between Ms. Bellamy and Mike Lord of Gilead regarding a CBC interview that took place in 2011. It was revealed that the “House Notes” about Ostrander Point that were delivered to assistant deputy ministers and deputy ministers were reviewed and approved by her. There were 31 newspaper articles in the released documents that showed that she was regularly receiving media stories about Ostrander Point.
The final argument was about which documents would be entered into the record as exhibits for the Tribunal to consider when making their decision on the case. Ms Kromkamp continued to assert that none of the documents were relevant to the remedy case. Eric Gillespie’s argument was that although some documents were not relevant most of them were and these documents went to the determination of credibility of Ms. Bellamy as a fact witness. In his final submission’s he pointed out the lack of information about the Blanding’s Turtle in any of the documents. The organization of documents that Eric Gillespie proposed was accepted because it allowed for the tribunal to have context of the arguments presented. All the documents he proposed that the Tribunal accept as exhibits were accepted.
Two witnesses remain to be heard. There will be a teleconference on Wednesday Nov 4 to determine further timing for the Ostrander Point Environmental Review Tribunal hearings.