Following is the text of a letter sent to NOTL Town Council on Feb. 9:
Dear Lord Mayor and Council:
We note that you are set to meet in camera tomorrow to discuss the Town’s Heritage Act prosecution of the Marotta companies for the Rand Estate clear-cut that occurred in November of 2018.
We thought it appropriate to remind you what this is about and to help educate the new councillors. Enclosed are four pictures which we encourage you to review. SORE hired a drone to take some of these pictures at the time. Some of these pictures were in evidence before the Superior Court during the Marotta companies’ challenge to the legality of the Darte Council’s notices of intent to designate the Rand Estate in the summer of 2018.
The pictures clearly show the extent of the devastation, including with reference to many of the protected heritage features of the Rand Estate. Also included is a picture of a “scarifier” deployed at Rand by the Marotta companies at the time to completely eliminate any trace of this designed and protected heritage landscape.
We have learned that the appeal of the Justice of the Peace’s decision staying the charges for unreasonable delay is now scheduled to be heard on February 22 by Mr. Justice Wolfe. Justice Wolfe is a well-respected jurist and can be expected to pay careful attention to the Town’s argument given that this is a public interest prosecution by a municipality.
The standard of review by Justice Wolfe on this issue is legal correctness- is the JP’s decision legally correct or not? No deference will be accorded to the JP’s decision in this regard by the judge. The decision is entirely Justice Wolfe’s to make based on his review of the evidence. It will be possible for the Town to seek to file “fresh evidence” before Justice Wolfe if appropriate, although that does not appear to be Mr. Hill’s current intention.
As we have previously argued, the impugned conduct in this case was deliberate and outrageous. Council can also take note of the timing-after the 2018 municipal election but before the new Council was seated- and draw its own inference as to the intent and motivation. It is our view and that of our many supporters that conduct so egregious cannot be or be seen to be sanctioned in any way by the Town.
We hope and trust that Council will make the appropriate decision tomorrow. A copy of this letter will be posted on our website and circulated by email blast to our supporters.
- Feb. 16: SORE comments on Town’s Marotta Rand prosecution decision