Back Bay lease, round two
New application submitted for controversial Back Bay proposal

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 01/99) - A controversial application that included a request to extend the shoreline of a Back Bay lot 30 metres out into the bay is back to square one.

A federal government official said Fisheries and Oceans Canada said no infilling should take place in front of the lot because the bay there is important fish habitat.

Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development lands administrator Annette McRobert said del Valle has submitted a new application to change the terms of a federal lease for a small strip of land in front of property he owns.

del Valle was considering building a 48-room tourist lodge on the property.

The process of assessing the application will start anew, said McRobert. How the public will be involved in the process remains unclear.

"It's the city's responsibility, not DIAND's," said McRobert of soliciting public input. The government, she said, is prohibited by the Privacy Act from releasing information about existing leases or change applications. But the Act did not seem to apply when a member of the Back Bay Community Association came knocking after hearing of the initial application.

"I went up there and asked for a copy of the application for the lease extension and I was given that by DIAND," said Lois Little.

The association has written DIAND asking it to do the same this time.

At a meeting held earlier this month, the association also requested that the city notify it of any changes proposed in the area. No input was solicited on del Valle's initial request.

"We're hammering the city for a commitment to talk to us," said Little.

Review of the application to amend the lease includes sending it to the city for comment.

McRobert said the city is free to release the information if it chooses.

del Valle managed to win the support of enough councillors for his initial application to overturn a staff recommendation that the city object to the infilling and other changes he was requesting. As a result, the city sent a letter to DIAND expressing its support for del Valle's application.

That support will stand unless the city says otherwise, said McRobert.

"If they make comments we'll take them," said McRobert. "If not, we've got their previous comments on file."