The owners of 140 Garner Road East are asking the Ontario Land Tribunal to overrule the Hamilton Conservation Authority and allow for the relocation of a wetland.

The application was denied by the HCA Board of Directors in a close vote, despite having the full support of HCA Chair City Councillor Lloyd Ferguson.

Environmental Defence attended the first OLT hearing and sought party status in the hearing. Developer ONE Properties Limited Partnership opposed the application.

In a decision released this week, the OLT granted Environment Defence full party status.

“Environmental Defence has a genuine and direct interest in the proceeding, its work will likely be impacted by the Tribunal’s decision, and it will assist the Tribunal in making its decision,” reads the ruling by OLT Members Hugh S. Wilkins and Warren Morris.

The OLT granted participant status to 22 individuals. OLT participants are able to make written submissions that the Tribunal will consider when making its decision.

ONE Properties, Environmental Defence, and the HCA are directed to negotiate to create the issues list for the OLT to consider.

The OLT will hold a Case Management Conference on Monday, May 9, 2022, commencing at 10 am to finalize the issues list and set dates for the full hearing to occur.

As a Party, Environmental Defence must agree to any settlement proposal between the developer and the Hamilton Conservation Authority.

OLT settlement negotiations are held in secret, with politicians and developers able to reach deals with no public input.

In effect, the wetland now has its own lawyer to protect its interestings.

More information, and videoconference link, on CanLII.