21 August 2013
Shawnigan Residents Association (SRA)
Shawnigan Lake, BC: The SRA is extremely disappointed in the decision by the Ministry of Environment to grant a contaminated soil permit to South Island Aggregates (SIA) within the Shawnigan Lake Watershed.
The BC Government has approved a 50-year plan to allow 5 million tons of contaminated soil to be dumped on SIA property, putting the Shawnigan Lake watershed and its drinking water at risk.
The permit is based on limited scientific study and has no fail-safe plan that can ensure the safety and protection of Shawnigan drinking water. Despite significant scientific evidence against the SIA permit, the Ministry has decided to ignore the concerns of multiple leading experts in the field and proceed in the face of many uncertainties.
"We are deeply troubled by this decision. The short and long term impact on our environment and drinking water has the potential to cripple our community. Clearly the best interests of the people of Shawnigan Lake were not the top priority in this case. We will fight this decision" said SRA Director Calvin Cook.
The SRA has retained Robert Anderson QC and Sean Hern of Farris LLP who will be opposing the permit in front of the Environmental Appeal Board (EAB). "We will be requesting an immediate stay from the Environmental Appeal Board to ensure that no contaminated soil is dumped until this matter is heard and decided. We are hopeful that the Board will see that the risks presented by this project are simply unacceptable in the face of the potential consequences to the watershed and drinking water of Shawnigan Lake," said Sean Hern of Farris LLP.
The SRA calls on the CVRD and the Provincial Health Officer to join the SRA in taking the necessary legal steps in opposing this decision to ensure the safety of Shawnigan Lake's drinking water. The SRA also asks for the public's help to fight the permit - contributions can be made at www.thesra.ca.
Director Administration and Communications
250 588 7973