Judge rules against McLean Lake residents

The McLean Lake Residents’ Association has lost its latest bid to protect its neighbourhood from development.

The McLean Lake Residents’ Association has lost its latest bid to protect its neighbourhood from development.

On Tuesday, Yukon Supreme Court Justice Leigh Gower released his decision in favour of the city.

The residents’ group argued the city erred when it rezoned the four-hectare lot next to McLean Lake as Quarry because there would be no Quarry — only a cement batch plant.

Also, council didn’t respect the concerns of the large number of people who were opposed to the application, they argued.

Gower didn’t agree.

“Neither of the residents’ grounds for challenging bylaw 2007-39 can succeed,” he wrote in his 23-page decision.

“Therefore, the petition is dismissed.”

The Official Community Plan designated the land around McLean Lake for natural resources “to allow resource extraction and related activities,” wrote Gower.

Concrete plants can be considered a related activity to gravel extraction and, therefore, the area was properly zoned.

As well, Skeeter Miller-Wright, who represented the residents in court, failed to present convincing evidence there was a large outcry against the batch plant.

“Objectively, it appears that there were no more than five submissions opposing the application, which would seem to be a relatively modest number, given the city’s rather extensive efforts at providing notice to the area’s residents,” wrote Gower.

The residents fared much better in their first court case last August, when Justice Ron Veale quashed the city’s decision to allow both a batch plant and gravel quarry next to the lake.

Detailed water testing needed to be completed before allowing a gravel quarry in the area, ruled Veale.

The proponent, Ron Newsome, returned to council — this time with an application for only the batch plant.

That was passed easily and now, thanks to Gower’s ruling, it looks as if Newsome will get his batch plant.

However the McLean Lake residents haven’t given up yet.

Where does the fight go from here?

“The short response is, I don’t know yet,” said Miller-Wright on Thursday afternoon.

“We’re studying the decision and considering what options are available to us for any future action.”

These options aren’t limited to the courts, he added.

The residents are also collecting signatures for a petition to create a park around McLean Lake.

The proposed park would be surrounded by a 500-metre buffer, which would include the area where Newsome is proposing to build his batch plant.

“It’s been going really well,” said petition organizer Marianne Darragh.

“The judge said that there was no proof that people were against the concrete plant as well, but I think it’s obvious from the reception that we’ve been getting that that’s not the case.”

The petition requires more than 2,000 names to force the city to hold a referendum on the issue.

“I think I can safely say that there’s no doubt that we’re going to have them,” said Darragh.

However, that doesn’t mean that the city will hold a referendum.

After a legal review, city officials declared the petition questions invalid and threatened to take the petition to court to have it quashed.

This hasn’t stopped Darragh.

“I think there’s reason for council to be concerned about their public consultation process,” she said.

“Because, to me, it seems obvious that they’ve missed something.”

The McLean Lake Residents’ Association will submit its petition to council on Wednesday.