Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau has been fighting for the government’s professional reliance model to be replaced. (File photo)

Cowichan Valley officials welcome review of way environmental assessments conducted

Government announced it will review professional reliance model.

Officials in the Cowichan Valley are pleased that the new NDP government will review the current practice of relying on professionals who work for companies to also provide environmental assessments of the companies’ projects.

Environment Minister George Heyman announced this week that the government will reassess the province’s controversial professional reliance model.

During the past 10 years of Liberal rule in B.C., the government has increasingly relied on professionals hired by companies to provide environmental assessments of the projects instead of the past practice of having independent professionals provide the information.

Sonia Furstenau, the Green MLA for Cowichan Valley, welcomed the government’s review.

She had taken issue with the use of the model to allow operations at the now closed contaminated soil dump near Shawnigan Lake to proceed, despite the community’s concerns about impacts to their drinking water.

“Before professional reliance, government relied on independent in-house experts to conduct environmental assessments to ensure the health and safety of B.C.’s communities,” she said.

“Under professional reliance, the responsibility for this necessary due diligence has been shifted to industry. While qualified professionals are absolutely integral to the environmental assessment process, professional reliance as it stands lends itself to conflict of interest as proponents of projects receive no independent oversight when conducting these vital assessments.”

FOR RELATED STORY, CLICK HERE

Jon Lefebure, mayor of North Cowichan and chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, said he is also pleased with the planned review.

Lefebure and a delegation from the Valley met with Heyman on the issue at the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting in Vancouver.

“Having professionals who work for the applicants of projects also do the environmental assessment of them might see the professionals make decisions to make the project work, rather than what is right,” he said.

“The professionals may see it as their job to approve projects, even if they are not environmentally sufficient.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Under new ownership, Cowichan’s Isles prepare for 2020-21

The Isles have gone through some ups and downs in recent seasons

Cowichan Valley Regional District will reopen three arenas in August

Ice will go back in at Lake Cowichan, Cowichan Community Centre and Kerry Park

Business notes: Salt Spring Therapeutic Riding Association launches program for front-line workers

A sample of what’s happening in Cowichan’s business community

UPDATE: RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

Motorcyclist airlifted after collision in Cobble Hill

Residents describe intersection of Telegraph and Hutchinson as “dangerous” and “problematic”

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

RCMP looking for missing teen in Comox Valley

Jenessa Shacter was last seen going for a walk in downtown Courtenay

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

T-Rex earns big bids at B.C. dino auction

Over 500 dino-themed lots sold to buyers from across North America

Remembering Brent Carver: A legend of Broadway who kept his B.C. roots strong

Over the years, the Cranbrook thespian earned his place as one of Canada’s greatest actors

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Canada ‘profoundly concerned’ over China death sentence for citizen in drug case

Police later confiscated more than 120 kilograms of the drug from Xu Weihong’s home

Most Read