Supreme Court Decision
March 21, 2016
Petition to the House of Commons
Download and print this petition, then mail completed copies (no postage required) to:
Alistair MacGregor, MP
House of Commons
519 Confederation Building
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Updated Action – December 8
It is time to turn our efforts to the federal ministries – Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada. Here is the new Action Sheet – pleas write your letters as soon as possible.
Breaking New Ground
Backgrounder on Allterra
Unanswered questions sent to the Ministry of Environment about SIA non-compliance and the response to CVRD and SIA(Cobble Hill Holdings)
Combined SF and MoE resp Dec 3 – The above three documents combined
Reports to CVRD, December1, 2015 re SIA
What can I do to help?
Get informed and write letters, report any violations that you witness. Use the form attached for information and contacts: Updated contact information for letters,reporting violations (November 2015)
Send copies of your letters and any replies you get to [email protected]
The Shawnigan Residents Association, August 6, 2015, filed a Notice of Application to the BC Supreme Court
for leave to introduce further evidence relating to the business arrangements between South Island Aggragates Ltd. and Active Earth Engineering Ltd.
Shawnigan Watershed Citizen Action – July 16, 2015
Shawnigan Lake is a thriving community with a promising future. Our future does NOT include a contaminated dump in our drinking watershed.
Three years ago, the people of Shawnigan Lake were informed of a proposed plan to turn a quarry, located on Stebbings road, at the top end of the Shawnigan watershed, into a contaminated soil site.
The proposal would allow South Island Aggregates (SIA), a gravel company, to bring in 100,000 tonnes of contaminated soil each year for 50 years and dump it on their site, while still operating as an active quarry. The contaminants listed in the permit include dioxins, furans, phenols, hydrocarbons, arsenic, lead, chlrorides, and a myriad of other toxins and chemicals known to be harmful to human health.
The people of Shawnigan have been united and vocal in their resistance to this plan, but their opposition has been consistently and steadfastly ignored.
Over the course of the Environmental Appeal Board hearings, which lasted 32 days, a significant volume of evidence was presented from experts, including geologists, hydro-geologists, engineers, and a water treatment specialist. The experts agreed that the information presented by SIA’s engineers, Active Earth, was inaccurate, insufficient, and at times misleading. One expert, on the record, commenting on the proposed site stated, “this is crazy.”
Active Earth, the engineers whose survey and design of the site formed the basis upon which the Ministry of Environment issued the permit, did not testify during the hearings. Indeed, there were no experts testifying on behalf of SIA to defend the site or the plans.
It was also revealed that SIA owed Active Earth $540,000 – the engineers have not been paid for the work they have done. This of course raised questions about the Active Earth reports, given they had considerable financial ties to SIA and an interest in the outcome of the permit process.
Most importantly, the experts who testified were unanimous in their concerns about the location of this proposed contaminated soil site. It became clear that this is indeed an inappropriate site for this type of dump, and that the contaminants present a clear risk, not just to the environment but to the long-term safety of the drinking water. It also became clear that in the process of granting this permit, the protocols for selecting a site for contaminated soil were ignored.
The Environmental Appeal Board – despite the lack of testimony from Active Earth and the numerous errors and flaws in Active Earth’s Techincal Assessment Report – chose to uphold this permit.
The people of Shawnigan Lake do not accept this decision, do not accept this risk to our community, and we will continue to fight until the permit is revoked.
The Provincial Cabinet has the jurisdiction to overturn this permit, and protect the drinking water of 12.000 people. They must do the right thing.
On the Wisdom of Dumping Contaminated Soils in the Shawnigan Lake Watershed
by Andrew Weaver MLA
A wise alternative to SIA already exists.
What can I do to help?
Get informed and write letters: click here to download the action sheet
Sign the petition – available in Shawnigan Lake Village at a variety of businesses and in the watershed office.
Volunteer to go door-to-door with the petition – go to thesra.ca for more information.
Send copies of your letters and any replies you get to [email protected]
At the community meeting on Monday, March 23rd, the key strategy for helping, at this point, is for the community to be informed of the Environmental Appeal Board’s Ruling, and to begin a letter writing campaign.
Become informed of the key communication points and write often and to as many addresses as possible.
Key Communication Points
- This permit poses serious risks to Shawnigan Lake and other BC Communities:
- Community bears 100% of the risk and endures a negative impact – zero benefit to Shawnigan – benefits go to a corporation.
- Risks are environmental, health, and economic – fundamental risk to drinking water and an assault on property values for everyone.
- An engineering failure cannot be remediated in a watershed, especially in an aquifer.
- Company is responsible for self-monitoring; this is shown not to work (Mt Polley, for example) and the MOE has demonstrated over the last 14 years that they do not have the capacity to monitor or to enforce remediation.
- There are no plans in place to deal with a failure on the site, either by the company or the minist
- Engineering failures are commonplace and to be expected in a mining operation lasting 50 year
- Mining licenses throughout the province become potential fill sites for contaminated soil, a precedent that affects every community, not just Shawnigan.
- There are serious oversights, errors, and omissions in the Ministry process:
- The process is flawed and does not serve the people of BC or protect the environment.
- All of the experts who testified during the hearings agreed that the site is not suitable for a contaminated soil dum
- It is unheard of to dump contaminated soil on a site in a community watershed where no contamination exists and there is an active quarry with ongoing blastin
- Victoria and Vancouver drinking watersheds are protected, as all drinking watersheds in BC should be.
- The Statutory Decision Maker erred in a number of ways in issuing the permit
- Did not consider expertise, competency, ethical conduct, and financial viability of the company.
- Did not consider the financial impact on the community.
- Flaws with the Environmental Appeal Board decision include:
- Reliance on SIA’s engineering report, even when their qualified professional did not testify and the report was demonstrated to be full of errors during the hearings.
- CVRD offered to work together to find a suitable site in the region –this offer was ignored by the Ministry of Environment. It remains on the table as an honourable and practical alternative. The Tervita site is an example of an existing alternative dump site within the CRD.
- Decision assumes Ministry of Environment is competent and able to do the monitoring when in practice the Ministry is understaffed and unable to deal with problems that arise (eg. Mt Polley). This is demonstrated in the illegal soil dump sites already in the CVR
- A significant amount of information was omitted from the decision that was presented during the EAB hearings.
Appeal to BC Provincial Cabinet by writing letters requesting that the permit be revoked and that the province take up the CVRD offer to search for a suitable site that does not compromise a community watershed:
o Use key points, but also make your letter personal – how does this affect you? Why does it matter to you and your family?
o Always be respectful in your communication
o Send all letters and replies to [email protected]
Write letters to the editor – try to keep these under 250 words and link them to other current stories in the papers (eg. World Water Day, Nestle controversy, drought conditions and the need to protect dwindling sources of drinking water).
- Monitor www.soniafurstenau.ca for communications, action plans and status updates. Send an email to Sonia at [email protected] to be added to a distribution list for email updates.
- Support SRA’s legal action plan through donations – www.thesra.ca
Letters to the Editor – Email Addresses
Shawnigan Focus: [email protected]
Victoria News: [email protected]
CBC Radio: [email protected]
Provincial Cabinet Email Addresses
(All addressed as “Honourable”)
Premier Christy Clark: [email protected]
Mary Polak, Minister of Environment: [email protected]
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource: [email protected]
Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture: [email protected]
Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines: [email protected]
Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier: [email protected]
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations: [email protected]
Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education: [email protected] Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Families: [email protected] Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development: [email protected]
Terry Lake, Minister of Health: [email protected]
Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade: [email protected]
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training: [email protected] Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice: [email protected] Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation: [email protected]
Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation, and Citizens’ Services:
Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Deputy House Leader:
Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business:
Mailing addresses can be found at www.gov.bc.ca/premier/cabinet_ministers/