A CROWN HYDRO SURPRISE – BAIT AND SWITCH
At the May 4, 2011 Park Board meeting the commissioners voted 6 to 3 to move agenda item 4.7 on the regular meeting to the May 18 meeting agenda to allow for more thorough review of the terms. Agenda item 4.7 was consideration of Crown Hydro’s Letter of Intent for its controversial hydro electric facility to be constructed on park property that was brought to the commissioners at the last minute at the May 4 meeting. For this reason, it was voted to be moved to the May 18 meeting. Following is the resolution under 4.7 that was voted to table by six of the commissioners at the May 4 meeting: Brad Bourn, John Erwin, Anita Tabb, Scott Vreeland, Liz Wielinski and Annie Young. The three commissioners who opposed tabling were the three perennial unwavering supporters of Crown Hydro, Bob Fine, Carol Kummer and Jon Olson.
VI. REPORT OF PLANNING COMMITTEE
4.7 Crown Hydro
Resolution Approving the execution of Letter of Intent, attached hereto as Attachment 1, to enter into an Agreement with Crown Hydro, LLC for the use of Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (“MPRB”) land for the construction and operation of a Hydroelectric Facility, Approves holding Public Hearings Regarding the potential Hydroelectric Facility on May 18 and June 1, 2011; and Authorizing and directing Superintendent Miller to negotiate with Crown Hydro, LLC in an effort to bring to the MPRB a proposed draft of a definitive Agreement with Crown Hydro, LLC for Review and Approval.
The preceding resolution is what was expected to be moved to the May 18 agenda, but that is NOT what is on the May 18 agenda. Instead, an entirely new resolution has magically and mysteriously appeared on the agenda. It is an agreement for a joint venture with an unknown third party–not Crown Hydro–to build on MPRB property at Mill Ruins Park a hydroelectric facility that would siphon water from the historic St. Anthony Falls. Here is the new, out-of-the blue resolution: It is 8.1 under Unfinished Business on the regular May 18 meeting agenda:
VII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
8.1 That the Board adopt resolution 2011-095 captioned as follows:
RESOLUTION APPROVING THE EXECUTION OF LETTER OF INTENT,
ATTACHED HERETO AS ATTACHMENT 1, IN ANTICIPATION OF A JOINT
VENTURE OF MINNEAPOLIS PARK AND RECREATION BOARD (“MPRB”) AND
THE PURCHASER OF CROWN HYDRO, LLC’S INTERESTS FOR THE
CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION OF A HYDROELECTRIC FACILITY,
APPROVING HOLDING PUBLIC HEARINGS REGARDING THE POTENTIAL
HYDROELECTRIC FACILITY ON JUNE 1 AND JUNE 15, 2011; AND
AUTHORIZING AND DIRECTING SUPERINTENDENT MILLER TO NEGOTIATE
WITH CROWN HYDRO, LLC IN AN EFFORT TO BRING TO THE MPRB A
PROPOSAL IN THE FORM OF A JOINT VENTURE AGREEMENT WITH THE
PURCHASER OF CROWN’S INTERESTS FOR MPRB REVIEW, CONSIDERATION
Related Files: Staff Report
So the Park Board is now scheduled to vote at the May 18 Park Board meeting on an agreement for a joint venture with an unknown third party. How did this occur? Apparently this complex, risky, over-the-top new agreement that would create a joint venture with an unknown third party–not Crown Hydro–is a result of the private discussions that MPRB President John Erwin had with representatives of Crown Hydro after the May 4 Park Board meeting. But now, because the original agreement has been transformed into a new agreement, the new agreement has to go back to the Planning Committee for review and approval BEFORE coming back to the full board for a vote. Therefore, 8.1 can not be voted on at the May 18 Park Board meeting.
Co-Founder of Park Watch