Justice Ron Veale rushed through the civil court docket Tuesday afternoon before turning his attention to Faro’s eviction battle against two town residents.
“Now for the main event,” he said.
Angelika Knapp and Eric Dufresne, a couple who run a seasonal outdoors business on the outskirts of Faro, walked to the defence table with two heavy binders.
After a four-year court battle concerning the zoning of the land they live and work on, the couple can no longer afford a lawyer and are representing themselves.
But today Faro was going to plead it was broke.
The town’s lawyer, Lori Lavoie, was accompanied by a senior lawyer from her firm, Debbie Hoffman, who did most of the talking during Tuesday’s hearing.
“We could deal with the petition today,” said Hoffman, referring to the request Faro filed early last month stating that Knapp and Dufresne must file for a special land-use permit or leave the property.
Faro has spent too much money on this court case, she said.
“The town has a small tax base,” she said.
Knapp and Dufresne were visibly upset and they followed Hoffman’s comments with their own claim to poverty.
Veale decided the petition wouldn’t be decided during yesterday’s hearing.
He extended the petition deadline until January 4.
The town’s ultimatum, initially presented to the couple in early November, demands they apply for a special kind of zoning or face eviction.
The original deadline was yesterday.
But Faro switched tactics midway through November.
The original petition called for Knapp and Dufresne to send a letter requesting the special zoning.
That was after the couple took Faro to task in court because there was no application form for the zoning.
But on November 23, Faro sent the couple a formal development permit application to be used for the zoning request.
Knapp and Dufresene complained to Veale on Tuesday about Faro constantly moving its targets.
Veale told them Faro was trying to make things easier for their application.
But because of the change, the deadline was slotted for January 4.
Knapp and Dufresne tried to prolong a followup court hearing after the town’s deadline until the spring.
Dufresne does seasonal work in the Northwest Territories for the latter half of the winter and would be gone by early January, they said.
But Faro began this petition in early fall so that a resolution could be reached before the summer 2011 business season, said Hoffman.
If the hearing were put off until May, as the couple requested, they might already be handling customers, she said.
Veale agreed it was a long wait and set a follow-up hearing to evaluate the results for January 13.
Contact James Munson at