Manitoba’s Clean Environment Commission (CEC) announced Sept. 5 that public hearings for the Bipole III project will begin on Oct. 1 and run through Nov. 22, with a pre-hearing to discuss hearing procedures on Sept. 11.
The announcement comes less than a week after the panel denied three requests that the hearings be delayed between 60 and 120 days to allow more time for parties to review and digest the significant amount of testimony associated with the case, and to allow the Crown more time for Crown-Aboriginal consultations.
Notably, the dates were announced even though an expected request for a delay from the Manitoba Métis Federation, which identifies itself as the official political representative for the Métis Nation’s Manitoba Métis Community, is still pending. The CEC expects to hear that complaint Sept. 11.
Hearings on the Bipole III project will start Oct. 1 with five days of sessions in Winnipeg. Following those meetings, two-day sessions will be held in Gillam and Thompson, Manitoba. Single-day sessions will follow in The Pas, Dauphine, Portage la Prairie, and Niverville before the hearings return to Winnipeg from Oct. 29 through their expected conclusion Nov. 22.
CEC public hearings are somewhat more formal than similar proceedings hearings in the United States. The secretary to the commission, Cathy Johnson, told TransmissionHub Sept. 5 a CEC panel will hear from representatives of the project’s proponent, Manitoba Hydro and several parties that have been granted intervenor status. Neither the proponent nor the intervenors will be limited as to the amount of time allotted.
Members of the public may also make presentations, Johnson said, but must register at least seven days in advance of the hearings, and will be limited to 15 minutes. Members of the public who do not register to speak will attend the proceedings only as observers.