Lynn Husted, here seen speaking to council on Nov. 6, 2017 has filed a legal challenge against Saanich over the EDPA. Saanich expects to respond later in January.

Saanich finalizing legal response to challenge of EDPA bylaw decision

Saanich is still finalizing its response to a judicial review that has taken the fight over a controversial bylaw designed to protect environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs) from the political area into the courtroom.

Mayor Richard Atwell said the district will respond later in January to a judicial review that Lynn Husted filed late last year in Supreme Court of B.C.

“We had more time to reply than was initially indicated,” he said.

A judicial review asks the Supreme Court of B.C. to review a decision that an administrative tribunal or administrative decision maker has made — in this case, Saanich’s decision to rescind the Environmental Development Permit Area (EDPA) bylaw.

Husted filed the motion in December after council had voted 5-4 on Nov. 6 to rescind the Environmental Development Permit Area (EDPA) bylaw.

Husted’s submission said this motion was “invalid” because Saanich violated her freedom of expression under Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, when Atwell denied Husted “unreasonably and without justification, her right to speak at the Nov. 6 meeting” as the submisson claims.

The judicial review also accuses Saanich of breaching “its duty of procedural fairness” towards Husted when Atwell “unreasonably and without justification” denied Husted her right to speak at the Nov. 6 meeting.

“I want them to rethink rescinding [the EDPA],” said Husted in an interview last month, when asked about her goals. However, she stressed that this was not her main goal. “My main concern is really an issue with being heard,” she said.

The specific claim centres on Husted’s appearance before council on Nov. 6, when she spoke on behalf of Saanich Action for the Environment (SAFE) to present a submission that asked council to delay its pending decision to solicit meaningful input and await the resolution of a disciplinary citation against Ted Lea dated Oct. 24, 2017. Husted said during the presentation the citation against Lea is public knowledge as per the college and the mediaand that SAFE is not pre-judging the outcome of the hearing.

According to the filing, the disciplinary hearing against Lea bears significance to the fate of the EDPA because the College of Applied Biology of B.C. “had concluded that a discipline panel should conduct a hearing into Mr. Lea’s conduct in relation to the EDPA.”

Atwell, however, warned Husted against disclosing personal information, and “trying to drag” Lea’s disciplinary hearing into an inappropriate forum.

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