CVRD files application to BC Court of Appeal

On March 21st, 2016, BC Supreme Court Justice MacKenzie ruled that the contaminated landfill located at 460 Stebbings Road in Shawnigan Lake is not a permitted land use, and he imposed a number of injunctions that prevent the importing of contaminated soil to the site.

The landfill site, which is also an active quarry, is owned by Cobble Hill Holdings (CHH) and operated by South Island Resource Management (SIRM), a subsidiary of Allterra Construction.

Justice Kirkpatrick of the BC Court of Appeal heard the stay application on April 6th, and issued a ruling on April 15th that granted a partial stay that would allow SIRM to complete six contracts – a total of 106,000 tonnes.

On April 27th the CVRD filed a court application to discharge or vary Justice Kirkpatrick’s April 15th order – it will be heard at the BC Court of Appeal in Vancouver on May 9th.

Discharge Vary Order News Release

Where are we at?

There has been a lot of discussion of the ruling that came down on April 15th from Justice Kirkpatrick, and it seems to have created confusion.  Did we win?  Did we lose?
 
The ruling allows SIRM to complete the contracts that were in place as of March 21, 2016. According to the documents submitted to the court, the volume of soil in those contracts is 106,000 tonnes. The company intends to resume hauling soil, and they have been actively working at the site and returning equipment.
Contracts allowed under the stay
 
How, exactly, could that be construed as a win?
 
Yes – it is only a partial stay of the injunction – but a stay that allows them to essentially double the volume of contaminated soil at the site.
 
Yes, the injunctions from Justice MacKenzie remain in place after the contracts from the stay have been fulfilled – but the company has permission from Justice Kirkpatrick to import soil until the contracts are complete or until the appeal is heard in August. That means four more months of truckloads of contaminated soil being dumped in our watershed.
 
For all of us in Shawnigan, every truckload of soil brought to that site is the opposite of a victory.
soil mountain
 
As I said many times after the MacKenzie decision, we have many more victories that we will need before this fight is over.
 
We await the Sewell decision on the Judicial Review.
 
We await action from the provincial government, which has ignored our community for four years.
 
We await the appeal hearing of the zoning decision in August.
 
The truth is that we are plunged back into uncertainty as a community, and that we face the grim reality of trucks continuing to haul – for now – contaminated soil to Stebbings Rd.
 
And we we continue to work hard, as a community. The teams we formed in December have continued to work together. We continue to support each other and take care of each other. We continue to act with kindness, generosity, and compassion towards each other.
 
And these are the most important things that we can do. We have won respect and admiration as a community for the ways in which we have chosen to pull together and care for each other throughout this horrible ordeal, and we’ve created a strong, loving community. A trusting community. Let us not allow that trust or compassion to be eroded.
 
We are all weary from this fight, but our greatest strength is each other – let’s remember to value what we’ve created in Shawnigan, and fiercely protect it.
 
We have known from the beginning that this will be a long fight, and it will be a hard fight. We are going down all avenues available to us, because we value our water so much that we do not intend to let the outcome hinge on a single court decision.
 
I intend to never give up with my efforts to protect our watershed, and throughout this entire ordeal, I have drawn my strength, my courage, and my determination from this community.

Not the news we were hoping for, but we will stay strong, Shawnigan

BC Appeal Court Justice Kirkpatrick has given a stay to two injunctions put in place with Justice Mackenzie’s March 21st ruling.

Her decision can be read here: Kirpatrick Decision to allow more dumping – Apr 15 2015

This is not what we had hoped for, but let us not forget that this is only a limited setback – the judge ruled the company can only proceed with contracts already in place, and not seek any further contracts.

This afternoon, I gave a speech at the opening of Shawnigan Lake School’s Model United Nations.  Here is an excerpt:

And so three years ago – when the Ministry of Environment issued its draft permit to South Island Aggregates, the question became, how do we think locally, and act locally?

We’ve done a lot of thinking, and we’ve also done a whole lot of acting.

We’ve written letters.

We’ve gathered vast amounts of information.

We’ve attended rallies.

We’ve generated hundreds of media stories.

We’ve attended protests.

And we’ve done things that I consider to be revolutionary, including:

We’ve gotten to know each other.

 We’ve decided to care not just about the water, but about each other, and about our whole community.

We’ve rooted our efforts in kindness, compassion, and love.

We’ve stood in front of trucks together.

We’ve sat in courtrooms together.

We’ve organized and attended fundraisers together.

We have imagined the celebration we will have – together – when this was all over.

In standing up against a company, against the government, and against a great injustice, we found ourselves standing together, and cultivating tolerance, compassion, and dignity while we affirmed our own human rights – and in particular, our right as a community to have safe drinking water.  All of those lofty goals from the UN charter – being worked hard for in our little community of Shawnigan.

Don’t forget, on a hard day like today, all that we have already accomplished.  And remember that our compassion and kindness for each other is essential.  Let’s support each other through this backwards step, and remember never to give up hope – indeed, we must insist on feeling hopeful, as that is what is required of us if we are to maintain the strength and determination that we need at this time.

10007034_10154081592430258_734563052138783918_n