The Alberta Environmental Appeals Board has denied a developer’s bid to have a stay lifted that limited construction at a proposed RV resort on Gull Lake.
Issued in December, the stay prohibits developer Delta Land Co. Inc. from doing any work that affects the bed, bank, shore or waters of the lake.
That prohibits work on a boat launch, the channel to a proposed 175-slip inland marina and a beach.
Co-developer Lance Dzaman said the stay does not affect work already underway on the inland part of the marina and other RV park work.
Dzaman admitted to some frustration with the board’s ruling.
For the past five years, developers have been working with all governing agencies and met or exceeded all of the stringent requirements to obtain the licence approvals, he said.
The stay was connected to appeals launched last year by the Gull Lake Water Quality Management Society and a pair of local property owners of Alberta Environment approvals for the 1,125-lot RV resort.
Alberta Environment has approved two water licences allowing the resort to draw 62,000 cubic metres of water per year from three wells for the development, which will include a golf course, on the west side of the lake near Bentley.
Approvals have also been granted for a storm water drainage system and the inland marina.
All but the storm drainage approval have been appealed and will go to a board hearing on May 14-15 in Edmonton.
Gull Lake Society president Craig MacLeod said they were pleased by the board’s decision on the stay.
“It’s encouraging because basically they thought between us (the society and the others appealing) enough points were made that were strong enough that the stay needed to remain in place,” said MacLeod.
Appeals board general counsel Gilbert Van Nes said the board was concerned allowing work to go ahead would risk “irreparable harm” being done to the shoreline ahead of a final ruling on the Alberta Environment approvals.
The stay will remain in place until the Environment Minister has ruled on the appeals.
It warns the developer that any construction undertaken now is at its risk. If the approvals are denied on appeal, the developer would be responsible for reclaiming the land to its previous state. Approvals could also be altered, leaving the developer to make any changes necessary.
In its appeal, the society argues the science hasn’t been done to prove the quality of the lake won’t be affected by the resort’s water needs. There also concerns about the impact of the marina on fish and waterfowl habitats.