Sarah Simpson / Cowichan Valley Citizen
August 30, 2013
Shawnigan Residents Association members aren't taking the granting of a permit to dump contaminated soil at a proposed remediation facility in their watershed lying down.
As promised, on Monday, Aug. 26, the SRA filed an appeal of the permit issued to South Island Aggregates by the Ministry of Environment.
Fearing for the worst the residents' group retained the services of Sean Hern and Robert Anderson QC of Farris LLP prior to the permit being issued. It meant the appeal could be filed without delay.
"We expect this to be a tough fight given government's support of this project, but on our side we have the overwhelming support of a community opposed to this facility," said SRA director Calvin Cook.
But at least one level of government is on the side of the residents.
The SRA is not alone in their appeal, as the Cowichan Valley Regional District has also retained counsel.
"The residents of Shawnigan Lake have clearly indicated extensive concern for the security of the Shawnigan public water supply and the lack of support for taking additional risks. The Ministry has made the wrong decision and the CVRD will be appealing directly to the Environmental Appeal Board," Shawnigan Lake area director Bruce Fraser said.
Together the CVRD and SRA will argue that the risk of the landfill failing to contain the contaminants and thereby poisoning the watershed and lake is too high.
"Our concern is that this high-risk decision was not made with the interests of our community in mind, and that inevitably there will be leakage into our drinking water, the health and economic impact of which will be devastating," Cook said.
The next step for both groups is to apply for a stay that would see South Island Aggregates unable to move forward with their work until the appeals are heard.