|Wind Watch is a registered educational charity, founded in 2005.
Protesters granted a partial victory in fight against World Energy GH2’s activity on the Port au Port Peninsula
Judge grants request to adjourn hearing on continuing injunction against them in fight against World Energy GH2, but current injunction still stands.
hat was to be a hearing on the continuation of an injunction against protesters at a World Energy GH2 test site in Mainland on the Port au Port Peninsula took a twist in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook on Friday, March 3.
Three of the respondents, Sheila Hinks, Zita Hinks and Sylvia Benoit Ryan, opted to excuse their lawyer and informed the court they were bringing a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear World Energy GH2’s application on continuing the injunction, to have the matter transferred to an Indigenous tribunal of their choice, that they would be filing a constitutional question and that the injunction be lifted.
Amanda Cornect, another self-represented respondent, later join the three.
After a morning of stops and starts and hearing from those involved, Justice George Murphy took the lunch hour to consider their request.
When court reconvened, he granted it, although reluctantly.
Murphy said whether to grant such a request is a discretionary decision of a judge and one that must balance the interests of the affected parties.
On the timing of the request, “brought at the last possible moment,” and without notifying the other parties, Murphy took into consideration the respondents’ explanation of only recently connecting with the lawyer who will now represent them and make on their behalf arguments challenging the jurisdiction of the court based on their Indigenous status.
As for the issue of prejudice to the parties, both Doug Skinner, counsel for World Energy GH2, and Adam Crocker, counsel for three other respondents, spoke to the wasted costs and expenses incurred preparing for the hearing. Crocker noted the expenses incurred by his clients to attend court.
Murphy also had to consider any prejudice to those requesting the adjournment and said if he denied the request, he would be deciding the issue without them being able to put forward any argument they wish to make.
He said as long as the injunction continues there would be greater prejudice to the respondents as opposed to the other parties.
“That is because as long as the injunction stays in place any other prejudice can be largely dealt with by way of costs,” said Murphy.
Murphy set the matter over to May 4, when a date for a full hearing will be set.
Outside the court, Shelia Hinks said she felt great about Murphy’s decision and that he took their considerations and brought it forward to let them be able to defend themselves.
But the fact the injunction against the protesters wasn’t lifted “was a major disappointment,” she said.
She said the work being done by the company is causing destruction to the water, land and wildlife and to residents’ way of life.
Being involved in the fight is easy for her, she said.
“Because my heart is in this land. I love the Port au Port Peninsula. I love Newfoundland. I’m a fisherman. I love the water. I love the freedom of our areas.”
She’s afraid the activity in the area by World Energy GH2 is going to destroy what the people have.
“It’s going to change our way of life,” she said.
“Hopefully, going forward with our lawyer we can get this resolved and we can take them off our land.”
Sean Leet, managing director and chief executive officer of World Energy GH2, said the company respected the respondents’ request for Indigenous involvement in the process and was pleased to see the court granted them that.
“We’re also very pleased that the injunction stays in place because that is paramount for keeping our people and the community safe. And that’s what this is all about. Nothing more than that, safety.”
The presence of the protesters at the site was costly to the company and Leet said very little work took place before the injunction was put in place.
“We were concerned about the safety of our people and also the protesters’ and the community, so we decided to pause everything in the interest of safety.”
Since the injunction was put in place on Feb. 10 work on installing MET towers resumed.
Leet said two towers are in place and both are operational and receiving data that will be used to determine if the wind that occurs on the peninsula is enough to feed the company’s proposed wind farm project.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding