Cobble Hill Holdings is suing the province over its decision last February to pull the permit for its contaminated soil landfill near Shawnigan Lake. The controversial project was the focus of demonstrations and lawsuits from the community for years. (File photo)

Cobble Hill Holdings sues province over landfill

Owner of contaminated soil landfill near Shawnigan Lake also names Mary Polak in suit.

Sonia Furstenau said Cobble Hill Holdings’ decision to file a lawsuit against the province over the rescinding of the permit for a controversial landfill site is a “surprising development”.

Furstenau is the Green MLA for the Cowichan Valley and a leader in the long but successful fight by the community to shut down the contaminated soil landfill near Shawnigan Lake.

She said that while former Environment Minister Mary Polak pulled Cobble Hill Holdings’ operating permit in February because the company failed to meet financial requirements, the community has always maintained that its main concern with the project was due to the potential that the facility could introduce contaminants to its watershed.

Furstenau said she will continue to work with the government to ensure that the landfill site is properly cleaned up and no longer poses a risk to the health and safety of the residents of Shawnigan.

“We must also take this opportunity to ensure that what happened in Shawnigan never happens to another community,” she said.

“British Columbians deserve to have proper due diligence done on projects that impact them.”

Cobble Hill Holdings filed suit in B.C. Supreme Court earlier this week against the province and Polak, who is still the Liberal MLA for Langley.

The company said it is seeking general damages, special damages, aggravated damages, punitive damages, special costs and any other relief the court “may deem fit to grant.”

No amounts were specified other than “to be assessed.”

No statement of defence has been filed to date, either by Polak or the province.

Mike Kelly and Marty Block, owners of Cobble Hill Holdings, said in an interview with the Citizen in March that the company is out approximately $20 million after Polak pulled its operating permit, and they intended to sue to recover some or all of their financial investment into the project.

“The ministry has caused us lots of damage since we opened, and we’re looking to have those damages compensated,” Kelly said at the time

The company’s permit had allowed the site to receive and store up to 100,000 tonnes of contaminated soil a year.

In a letter at the time from the ministry to Cobble Hill Holdings and South Island Aggregates, the other partner in the project, the companies were given 15 business days to provide three required documents, but submitted only two prior to the deadline given.

Specifically, the ministry claimed the company failed to provide the province with adjusted financial security in the form of an irrevocable letter of credit in its decision to pull the permit.

“Cobble Hill Holdings has been provided multiple opportunities to respond to outstanding non-compliances and has repeatedly missed deadlines with respect to its permit requirements,” the ministry’s letter said.

Robert.Barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Just Posted

N. Cowichan, Duncan considering community “gateway”

Feature would be at the southwest corner of Beverly Street and the Trans Canada Highway

Cowichan Capitals earn first win in shutout style

Team effort helps Jack Grant blank Bulldogs

Seed harvest and planting event at Chase Woods

“This event is a fantastic opportunity to contribute to the radical restoration of local wetlands”

Duncan denies emergency shelter for women on Cairnsmore Street

Will look at a mobile shelter for women instead

Rob Douglas reveals 5-plank re-election campaign in bid for North Cowichan council seat

North Cowichan is making significant progress on a number of fronts.

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Coming up in Cowichan: Arts, charity and health events heading to Valley

Free fitness, self-defence for women begins this month Warmland Women’s Support Services… Continue reading

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

Most Read