15 November 2013
Shawnigan Lake, BC: In a decision released today by Mr. Alan Andison, Chair of the BC Environmental Appeal Board, "...the application for stay are granted" against Cobble Hill Holdings (CCH) known also as South Island Aggregates (SIA). Soil will not be moving to the SIA contaminated soil dump until such time as the matter is heard by the board.
In their decision, Mr. Andison stated that "...the Panel finds that the balance of convenience weighs in favor of granting a stay of the portions of the permit that authorize the Permit Holder to receive and landfill contaminated soil, pending a decision on the merits of the appeal." As well, it was noted that "Given the serious risks to the environment and water resources if a stay is denied and an escape of contaminates occurs, the Panel finds that any inconvenience or harm to the Permit Holder's financial interests, if a stay is granted, does not outweigh the risk of harm to water resources and human health if a stay of the Permit is denied..." The Board goes further to order that "any soil that was received at the facility before this stay decision was issued is subject to the full requirements of the Permit".
The Shawnigan Residents Association is pleased with the EAB's decision and notes that "This decision reaffirms the significant risk to our drinking water and environment that the CCH permit has been issued by the MOE. We maintain that the serious flaws in the permit and risks associated with the contaminated landfill in our drinking watershed identified by experts in the field of environmental science must not be overlooked. The risk to the public in this matter far exceeds any acceptable level. We applaud the EAB for supporting the application for stay and look forward to the matter of the appeal being heard before the board." Calvin Cook, SRA Director.
This fight is far from over. The SRA and CVRD continue to work together to ensure that the best interests of the public and the safety of our water supply that is drawn upon by over 12,000 residents of Shawnigan Lake is protected.
As this matter continues to unfold, the SRA will continue to use all resources at its disposal to fight for the best interests of the public and will continue to push for the CCH permit to be overturned at the appeal board. Robert Anderson QC and Sean Hern of Farris LLP represent the SRA.
The SRA is making a public appeal for funds to help us continue this process to the next level. We need your help! To contribute please visit our website thesra.ca.
SRA Director Administration and Communications
250 588 7973