Salt Creek strata backs off bias charge

Contrary to previous reports, it appears there is no evidence that Environment Minister Dwayne Seymour had a conflict of interest in a Cabinet decision approving a dock project in Salt Creek.

An application for judicial review of the contested dock has been amended and strikes out the portion of the complaint that said Seymour was “a business associate” of Marcus Cumber, the property owner who wants to build the dock, and thus had a bias in his decision-making as a member of Cabinet.

Cumber, owner of Island Air, said he’s never had business dealings with Seymour.

“Not at all,” Cumber said. “I’ve never owned anything with him.”

Minister Dwayne Seymour issued the following statement: “I was pleased to note that earlier in May apparent cause was removed as a cause in the application for a judicial review of Cabinet’s recent approval of a coastal works application by Mr Marcus Cumber.

“As stated in my previous comment on the case, and as Mr Cumber independently confirmed, there has never been a business relationship between us. I am happy that the applicant has acknowledged this by submitting an amended filing. Government looks forward to defending the procedures involved in the grant of the coastal works application as the judicial review process moves forward.”

The Salt Creek Strata issued a statement Monday saying, “If appropriate, the strata will seek to add additional grounds of challenge at a later stage.”

The court action is in response to Cumber’s plans to build a 128-foot dock off of his Salt Creek property to accommodate his 38-foot Fountain yacht. He said two similar docks already exist on neighbouring properties. Those docks both appear to be less than 100 feet in length.

“I wasn’t trying to be unreasonable,” he said, “I just wanted access to my land.”

He said he was told when he bought the property that building such a dock would be possible.

The court application cites concerns by the Department of Environment, the agency Seymour oversees, and the Planning Department regarding construction of the dock. It says the DoE noted impacts on protected sea grass, while planning officials had concerns about how the dock might impact navigation and future development.

Despite those issues, the Cabinet approved the project 27 Dec. The appeal was first filed 27 March and amended 13 May. No court date has yet been set for arguments in the case.

Comments are closed.