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Heads should roll at Alberta Environment over misguided Domtar land strategy

10 10 477

Incorrect and unreasonable.

The phrase appears 17 times in a new Environmental Appeals Board ruling, describing the behaviour of the provincial government to stymie a housing development on the former Domtar industrial lands in northeast Edmonton.

If anything, the words are an understatement.

While professional in its language, the board’s report is scathing in the details, outlining an overzealous misuse of authority by Alberta Environment in pursuing a series of cleanup orders for the site.

As the report makes clear, the department’s multi-year campaign against two companies was based on a number of faulty premises and misinterpreted rules.

Competent management this was not.

To her credit, Environment Minister Shannon Phillips accepted the board’s recommendations and quashed her department’s orders. And did so before the election, which was the right thing to do even if wasn’t necessarily the politically astute thing to do.

But Phillips also has some work ahead to find out why this cleanup crusade was allowed to happen in the first place.

Frankly, heads need to roll in Alberta Environment, because the damage toll from the department’s actions is considerable:

Millions of taxpayer dollars wasted on lawyers and consultants (Phillips won’t say how much);

Considerable worry to area homeowners........

© Edmonton Journal