ROBERT BARRON CITIZEN
The fight over the controversial contaminated soil dump on Shawnigan Lake continues in the courts.
In the latest chapter in the ongoing legal saga, the Cowichan Valley Regional District has filed an application to the BC Court of Appeal to set aside a ruling made by the court’s Justice Pamela Kirkpatrick on the soil dump operations last month, and suspend the importation of soil to the site.
The application will be heard by the BC Court of Appeal in Vancouver on May 9.
Kirpatrick decided to temporarily stay injunctions that prevented the further importation of soil at the site that were imposed on Cobble Hill Holdings and South Island Aggregates, the project’s owners, by the BC Supreme Court in March.
The CVRD had argued that a contaminated soil treatment facility and landfill are not permitted uses of the property, located on Stebbings Road, and the BC Supreme Court agreed with the regional district in its ruling made in March.
The court ordered that no further soil could be imported to the site until the company’s appeal of that decision is heard in August.
But that ruling was set aside by Kirpatrick, who decided to allow the importation of soil to continue until the appeal is heard.
In its application to set aside Kirpatrick’s ruling, the CVRD is arguing that the ruling is “not capable of protecting the CVRD’s success in the lower court and the statutory injunctions requiring compliance with the (regional district’s) bylaws.”
Alternatively, if the court decides not to set aside the ruling, the CVRD is asking that the owners and operators of the dump site be required to post a security of $12 million to cover the costs of removing any waste material imported to the property as a result of Kirpatrick’s decision.
As well, the regional district is also asking that if the ruling is not set aside, the directors of the companies involved with the site must agree to remove any waste materials imported to the property as a result of the stay, and pay any damages or costs to the CVRD arising from their failure to do so.
Brian Carruthers, the CVRD’s CAO, said the reason for the last request is to hold the actual directors of the companies responsible for the clean up of the site.
Jon Lefebure, chairman of the CVRD, said the regional district is “very concerned” about the importation of more contaminated soil between now and the appeal hearing in August.
“Allowing more soil to come to the site just increases the size of the problem,” he said.
“The clean up at that location will be costly so we’re trying to ensure money will be set aside should more soil be allowed to be imported to the site. It should be said that we’re not trying to shut down the quarry part of the project. It’s the increase in the amount of soil coming to the site that concerns us because it doesn’t fit our zoning.”
A statement from South Island Resource Management, which runs the soil dump on behalf of its owners, said the company is currently reviewing the documents filed by the CVRD in regards to its appeal.
“We will file our response by the deadline (today),” the statement said.