Question Period
(19 April 2018)

From Hansard - 19 April 2018

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Irrigation Project Approval Process

Mr. Meili: — Mr. Speaker, we’ve obtained an email from June 5th from a director at the Water Security Agency to the agency’s president and CEO [chief executive officer] and cc’d to their general counsel. The email reads in part, and I’ll quote:

Just an FYI on the Bill Boyd irrigation project we’ve been working on. We’re in a position to issue our approvals based on modifications to the plans previously submitted. On Friday the Ministry of Agriculture asked us to hold off on issuing until they discussed the project with the Ministry of the Environment, as it was learned that WHPA-designated lands adjacent to Mr. Boyd’s property had been broken in contravention of The Wildlife Habitat Protection Act.

Mr. Speaker, the permit that the Ministry of Agriculture asked to be held off on was issued two months later, with full knowledge of the violations with which Bill Boyd was later charged and for which he was convicted.

Mr. Speaker, what role did the then minister of the Environment play in addressing the Ministry of Agriculture’s concerns in ensuring Mr. Boyd’s permits were issued?

Hon. Mr. Stewart: — The pump site was intended to be constructed on private land, but the boundary of the land was incorrectly surveyed due to the surveyor using a deflection from the survey pin of 90 degrees rather than 93 degrees. Construction of the pump site and supply line began before the error was discovered. A special lease was issued to cover the pump site and the supply line. This lease was subject to the Crown lessee agreeing to surrendering the land, including the special lease.

That cultivation was discovered on June 6th, ’17. And special leases are issued in circumstances where land use or land acquisition does not fit within normal day-to-day operations of the Ministry of Agriculture lands branch, and to date 148 such special leases have been issued.

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