Residents’ Association claims small victory

Success: Judge dismisses security-for-costs request.

It was a small victory but one that’s got the Shawnigan Residents’ Association hopeful for more.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Keith Bracken dismissed an application by Cobble Hill Holdings (South Island Aggregates) Friday that would have seen the Residents’ Association pay, up front, before moving ahead with any more legal action against the companies.

That money would have been used to pay the business’s legal fees of should the Association ultimately lose the case.

“It’s a small step but it’s in the right direction but it definitely helps build on the momentum that we’ve been getting lately,” Shawnigan Residents’ Association president Calvin Cook said Monday.

It’s been two years of setbacks and losses for the Residents’ Association in their battle against the owners of a controversial soil treatment facility in the Shawnigan headwaters.

The Residents’ Association has been busy trying to protect what they see as a major threat to the drinking water of more than 12,000 people.

In 2013, despite pleading from the Association and the greater community, and the hesitation of local governments, the province authorized South Island Aggregates/Cobble Hill Holdings to collect and treat five million tonnes of dirty dirt over the next 50 years at its Stebbings Road facility which sits just above the Shawnigan community’s water supply.

The deal was the company could truck in 100,000 tonnes a year.

Despite vocal opposition from the community, spearheaded by the Shawnigan Residents’ Association, the Environmental Appeal Board upheld the decision to grant the permit this March.

The Residents’ Association hasn’t stopped fighting and on Friday they finally saw progress.

“Judge Bracken, in his decision, did state that there was an opportunity that perhaps if we were forced to raise additional money, that it may impact the pursuit of justice and I think that’s what really he’s after as well as the citizens of Shawnigan Lake and the rest of the province is just to know that justice does prevail here,” Cook said.

The security-for-costs application being dismissed was the Residents’ Association’s first victory on Friday.

The second came when the judge accepted more than 70 additional documents as evidence.

“Judge Bracken did agree to accept that evidence although he hasn’t made a ruling on it, he did agree to accept it,” Cook confirmed.

He said it was believed that all of the relevant documents had been presented during the Environmental Appeal Board hearings but that wasn’t the case.

“When we got the so-called secret agreements in early July… additional documents were presented and that introduced new facts to us and so that’s why we made that application to introduce new evidence,” he explained.

The Residents’ Association believes the documents allege that South Island Aggregates/Cobble Hill Holdings made a pact with the engineers hired to do environmental risk assessment on the project, to share profits over the 50-year lifespan of the operation through two numbered companies.

“It does raise some serious questions in our mind as to what went on and actually what went on even during the Environmental Appeal Board hearings when there was testimony made that absolutely nothing was going on,” Cook said.

South Island Aggregates/Cobble Hill Holdings owner Mike Kelly has maintained the agreement was never acted upon.

“It is simply a copy of a two-and-a-half-year-old abandoned agreement between the directors of CHH and our engineers that was never followed through with, even to this day,” Kelly said.

New documents have emerged, however, suggesting the companies were still working together as recently as 2014. Those documents have been accepted as evidence by the judge.

Cook said council for Cobble Hill Holdings/South Island Aggregates has said the companies can explain.

“Maybe there is a perfectly good explanation, a plausible explanation,” he said. “If there is, we’re looking forward to it.”

Just Posted

DAVID VAN DEVENTER
Cowichan Citizen and Lake Cowichan Gazette announce new publisher

David van Deventer has been with Black Press Media since 2014

Island Health is bringing a vaccination clinic to Lake Cowichan starting June 23. (Submitted)
COVID vaccine clinic coming to Lake Cowichan as area numbers lag

Clinic will operate at arena starting June 23

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New Indigenous treatment centre to be built near Duncan

Centre will help survivors of residential schools

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says re-opening B.C.’s border to the U.S. ‘is not in our best interest’ right now. (B.C. Government photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Government photo)
B.C. records 113 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, four deaths

Vaccination of young people rising quickly, near 75 per cent

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Biden says meeting with Putin not a ‘kumbaya moment’

But U.S. president asserted Russian leader is interested in improved relations, averting a Cold War

Marine biologist Rick Harbo pulls a lid from the Ladysmith harbour, which he uses to monitor the presence of native and non-native species in the Ladysmith harbour. (Cole Schisler photo)
Unidentified sponge may be the latest marine species invading Island harbour

Marine biologist finding dozens of alien species in warm-water Ladysmith Harbour, none threatening

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

Most Read