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Ministry of Environment approves SIA permit

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By Don Bodger - Cowichan News Leader Pictorial
Published: August 21, 2013 4:00 PM

South Island Aggregates has received the green light from the Ministry of Environment to establish a soil remediation facility within the Shawnigan Lake watershed.

But the Shawnigan Residents Association vows to put a stop to it yet.

A Ministry of Environment press release indicated a statutory decision-maker, kept independent from the political process, approved the permit application.

"The decision-maker looked at the proposed project, including associated environmental concerns and concluded that the proposal adheres to legislation and appropriately manages health and environmental concerns,'' the release states.

SIA is naturally pleased with the decision, allowing treatment and waste soil to be put in a landfill at its Stebbings Road facility.

"The issuance of this permit reflects the rigourous environmental and technical assessment that SIA has undertaken over the past two years, demonstrating that waste can be safely treated and landfilled at this location, within the constraints of an engineered, permitted facility,'' said president Michael Kelly in a statement.

"We appreciate the feedback and comments received during the past year or so of consultation with the public and other stakeholders, and have incorporated this feedback into our final design and monitoring program.''

Upon hearing of the decision, the Shawnigan Residents Association quickly announced it's not done fighting.

"We are deeply troubled by this decision,'' said SRA director Calvin Cook in a media release.

"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.''

The SRA has retained Robert Anderson and Sean Hern to oppose the permit in front of the Environmental Appeal Board.

Kelly says SIA will now be proceeding with construction and intends to be operational in the near future.

"We look forward to ongoing, meaningful dialogue with stakeholders and other interested parties," he said.

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