APPEAL BOARD: Go ahead given despite stay
Sarah Simpson / Cowichan Valley Citizen
February 14, 2014 12:00 AM
South Island Aggregates's application to dump tens of thousands of tonnes of dirty dirt in the Shawnigan watershed immediately, despite a stay being in place, has been approved by the Environmental Appeal Board.
"The main issue is the stay was varied to allow four allotments of material to come in. SIA is arguing that these are relatively benign," Shawnigan Lake Electoral Area Director Bruce Fraser said, noting the Environmental Appeal Board has accepted that there is enough security on site that if the material does prove to be problematic, it could be dug up without major impact on the surrounding areas.
The Shawnigan Residents Association was both disappointed and concerned after learning the news on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
"As an organization and as a community we are stunned that the Environmental Appeal Board would allow the proponents to dump contaminated soils on their property before this matter is heard next month," said Calvin Cook, the SRA's vice president.
SIA has asked the Environmental Appeal Board to allow them to receive 40,000 tonnes of contaminated soil at their Stebbings Road property ahead of the March hearing of their soil treatment permit, which, if allowed to continue, would allow about five million more tonnes over the next 50 years.
Now permitted are barge loads of dredgate from Esquimalt and Prince Rupert laced with heavy toxic contents including fuel, lead and arsenic.
"Although we have no choice but to respect the board's decision we are in complete opposition and will continue to fight the contaminated soil permit," Cook said.
Fraser noted that the main hearing is only about three weeks away and that the Environmental Appeal Board has stated it will not let the stay variation influence the hearing.
"The ultimate significance of this remains to be seen," he said. "The 25-page decision is again very thorough and clearly differentiates the stay issues from the validity of arguments that must be decided in the main hearing on the permit itself."