The application by David McKinnon to have an injunction granted against construction of the Red Lily Wind Farm west of Moosomin has been adjourned to this Thursday, Sept. 23.
Lawyers for Red Lily filed their materials in the case last week. A hearing had been scheduled for last Wednesday, but was postponed in order to give McKinnon’s lawyer, Bradley Jamieson of Saskatoon, a chance to file materials in response.
McKinnon’s lawyer has applied to have the application heard as a class action on behalf of the 12 people who live within two kilometres of any of the wind turbine towers. The case has not been certified as a class action, and the lawyer for Red Lily is opposing the certification.
“A plaintiff can propose a class action, but has to apply to the court and have the court certify it. Until then it is not a class action,” Red Lily lawyer Doug Hodson explained.
“The court will take in a number of factors in determining if this is a class action. We do not think it is. Mr. McKinnon has issued a claim in his own name and asked to be appointed by the court to represent the other land owners. In this case there are 12 people. We take issue with that. We have no information to suggest they are on side with Mr. McKinnon.”
Work was stopped for six days on the Red Lily Wind Farm just west of Moosomin as a temporary injunction was granted against any further construction on the wind farm, then lifted a week later. The $60 million 25 megawatt wind farm is being built in the RMs of Martin and Moosomin. The project has been in the works for several years. It has passed all environmental reviews, and construction was approved by the two RM councils earlier this year.
A petition against the development was taken to the RM of Martin council earlier this year, which struck a committee to study the issues raised before the RM council approved the development.
Much of the site preparation work has been completed and work continued on the concrete foundations for the towers last week.
An ex parte order issued by the Court of Queen’s Bench in Saskatoon on Wednesday, Aug. 25 granted McKinnon an interim injunction preventing further construction on the project. The defendants in the case were not informed of the court proceeding in advance and were not represented before the judge.
Red Lily’s lawyer applied to overturn the injunction and one week later, on Wednesday, Sept. 1, the judge lifted the injunction after hearing from both sides, and ordered McKinnon to pay the defendants’ legal costs.
McKinnon’s application to the court asks for a 2,000 metre—or two kilometre—separation between wind turbines, which would rule out the current project.
Saskatchewan has no legislated setbacks between wind turbines and homes. Ontario has legislated setbacks of 400 metres. The Red Lily turbines are all more than 500 metres from any home.
RM of Martin Reeve Mark Bateman said he is frustrated with the legal action by opponents of the wind farm, who he said constitute a tiny minority of local residents.
“At the first open house on the wind farm, 87 per cent were in favor, three per cent were opposed, and the rest had no opinion,” said Bateman. “I suspect those numbers haven’t changed.”
He said it’s frustrating to face the court challenge after going through a long process that followed all the rules.
“Anything that the RM has had to do, it’s all been done,” he said.
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