Judicial review completed, Neskonlith await decision

A decision on the judicial review application against the City of Salmon Arm and SmartCentres may be rendered by mid-April.

A decision on the judicial review application launched by the Neskonlith Indian Band versus the City of Salmon Arm and Salmon Arm Shopping Centres Inc. may be rendered by mid-April.

The hearing for the band’s application, which cites lack of consultation regarding the hazardous areas development permit allowing the SmartCentres development to proceed in the Salmon River delta and floodplain, took place last week from March 19 to 23.

Mr. Justice Peter Leask heard the application in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.

During the hearing, the judge was informed by Salmon Arm Shopping Centres that construction on the site is planned to begin April 15 or 16. It is expected he may keep this date in mind when rendering his decision.

In an email response from SmartCentres to the Observer regarding confirmation of its proposed Nov. 1 opening date and its potential tenants, Sandra Kaiser, vice-president of corporate affairs, replied: “We are continuing to work with staff to meet the conditions of the development permit. Depending upon the outcome of the judicial review, we will proceed accordingly.”

One of the people who has been following the judicial review from Vancouver is Mitch Ward, a UBC student in First Nations studies who grew up in Salmon Arm.

In his studies, he said, he is learning about “how to create a better relationship between native and non-native Canada, respecting sovereign rights and title to the land.”