It’s all over but the lawsuits.
With council’s approval of the development and hazardous area permits after a marathon four-and-a-half hour hearing on Monday, the stage is set for the controversial SmartCentres development to proceed with construction.
Mind you, the developer still needs the Ministry of Transportation approval of their road right-of-way. They also need Ministry of Environment to sign off on setbacks from watercourses for a proposed extension of 30th Street. These items don’t appear to be a significant hurdle, however, as the company’s target for construction is August. After all the debate surrounding the development, we are sure the developer is anxious to break ground before any other impediments crop up.
The most likely appears to be the potential for a legal challenge from the Neskonlith Indian Band, who have commissioned their own expert to challenge the findings of SmartCentres’ consultant on the potential for flooding of the area. The band’s property is immediately adjacent to the SmartCentres land. This course of action may also depend on how deep the pockets of the band will extend. We all know SmartCentres has the cash and clout to defend themselves in court — remember they are still doing that to prevent the release of government documents regarding the placement of fill on their property.
But court challenges are protracted processes, which likely won’t be resolved until years after cash registers are ringing at the shopping centre.
For good or ill, the decision is now made and this community will live with the results.
-Salmon Arm Observer