Congratulations, Province of BC. You’ve recently acquired a brand new piece of property in the Shawnigan Lake area – the infamous Lot 21.
I’m not sure you’d consider this a dream property, though.
From the upper portion, you do get a nice view of Shawnigan Lake. But that’s pretty much all it’s got going for it.
It’s right next door to a newly permitted contaminated landfill, which is allowed to import soils laden with dioxins, furans, hydrocarbons, phenols, toluene, benzene – not the kinds of things you would want showing up in your soil or water. (By the way, BC – you did issue the permit for this landfill, against the wishes of, well, pretty much everybody, but especially everybody who lives in Shawnigan Lake. Any sober second thoughts?)
There are also some issues about what’s been dumped on your new property – and what’s leaching off of it. In fact, the Shawnigan community has been pretty concerned for quite a while about some particularly colourful and viscous runoff that oozes from the bottom of your brand new property right into Shawnigan Creek. You’ve probably seen some photos.
Of course, orange runoff can be caused by naturally occurring bacteria interacting with iron, but this sludge has been tested several times, and there some worrisome results.
Andrew Weaver, for example, found iron, but also of thorium, niobium, lead, lithium, scandium, tin, magnesium, chromium, cobalt, and more at levels that were between 3 and 18 times higher than upstream. Andrew’s data and his analysis (which have always been public) are easy to find – just click here.
And recent sampling results show cobalt above Contaminated Sites Regulation levels. Oh dear – looks like you may have inherited a bit of a mess.
And how did it come to be that you – Beautiful BC – are the new owner of Lot 21? Well, it appears that the previous owner, 0782484 BC Ltd, didn’t keep up with their tax payments, and so it was forfeited to Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of BC.
And who is this mysterious 0742484 BC Ltd? Well it has two Directors. One named Martin Block, and the other Micheal James Kelly.
By the way, Beautiful BC – just to refresh your memory – these are the exact same two fellas to whom your very own Ministry of Environment issued Waste Discharge Permit 105809 for the adjacent Lot 23.
Funny how things work out, isn’t it?
You give them a permit for a 5-million tonne contaminated landfill facility, and they give you…a piece of land that may very well be contaminated.
(I bet you’re wishing that your records review that you did on this property last summer had been a bit more thorough – remember how they gave you records with the names of other companies on them? And how those records didn’t really tell you what was dumped, where the soil came from, or where it went? See What will it take for more on that.)
As you settle into your new property and get to know some of the challenges, I’d recommend you have a chat with your neighbours on Lot 23. There’s an operating company there now, taking care of the contaminated landfill business.
They claim that they have nothing to do with Lot 21, and that the property is completely dormant. However, there’s been some recent activity you may want to be aware of.
Well, that’s all for now, Province of BC.
Welcome to the neighbourhood, and rest assured we have lots of friendly locals who will be keeping a close eye on your brand new property for you.