Baffinland community hearings – Who are the community representatives?
DID News Alert May 28, 2012. With the July community hearings coming soon, Baffinland presented a document called “"What to Expect When You Are Expecting," on May 3rd in Iqaluit. In this document, the company explains how the public hearings will take place. At the community hearings, there will be TWO types of intervenors.
1) Formal Intervenors: According to this document, formal intervenors must present a written submission to the NIRB by May 30th and wait to be approved. If approved, then these formal intervenors will be able to present their documents to the full NIRB board on the first day of community meetings, which is the technical presentations. These presentations, and the NIRB’s response, will be put on the official publicrecord.
2) Informal Intervenors: This is everyone else. People from the community who have not filed a written submission to be a formal intervenor will still be able, according to the NIRB, to speak to some members of the board and ask questions and raise their concerns about the project. This is what is called the “community roundtables.” They will take place on the second and third day of the hearings. They will be open to anyone, so people do not have to be approved in order to come and talk.
What does not seem clear from the NIRB guidelines, is whether the community roundtables will be recorded or put on the official public record. The formal intervenors will, and their questions will be put on record. But for the rest of the community, those who have not made written submissions but still have lots of questions or concerns they want to express to the NIRB board, it is not clear if any of what they say will be recorded in the official transcript. Will their opinions and concerns be lost?
It is also not clear what the NIRB means by “community representatives.” In the document “What to Expect When You Are Expecting,” it says on page 14 that "The NIRB will be soliciting up to five (5) representatives from each of the 11 communities to attend the Final Hearing in Iqaluit." Some sources say there are 7 communities that will be represented at the final Iqaluit hearing, not 11. This is confusing.
ALSO, this document does not explain how the NIRB will be selecting these representatives, or where they will be coming from. If they are not selected by the NIRB, then what organization will be selecting them? The Mary River Projects Committee? The Hamlet Council? QIA?
This last question is important, since the people of the communities should know who will represent their town at the final Iqaluit hearings.
Look to your left (under "attached files") to download a PDF version of the Baffinland presentation "What to Expect When You Are Expecting"