Despite rumours circulating in the Valley Wednesday, April 23, South Island Aggregates is not closing down.
Marty Block, owner of the company that is hauling contaminated soil to its Stebbings Road site in Shawnigan Lake, said April 24 that his company is still going strong.
The Citizen received an email from a Shawnigan Lake resident who was following an Environmental Appeal Board hearing online about SIA’s permit. The email claimed the company had gone out of business and was selling equipment.
"Absolutely not," Block said Thursday. "It’s unfortunate that we’ve actually had to go through some layoffs of our key people but it’s just a matter of economics and the economy. It’s just very, very slow up there right now."
Constant protests about the trucking in of so-called dirty dirt from Victoria into the Shawnigan Lake watershed has stirred up the Shawnigan Lake population to the point where they’ve rallied at the Legislature as well as holding many protests closer to home.
Block admitted the furor is being felt at SIA.
"It’s mainly to do with our permit," he said. "There are contractors that don’t want their trucks picketed, they don’t want to be in the news. And it’s really, really hurting us. So, like any prudent business, we had to downsize a bit. We’re definitely not closed. We are open for business, on a limited basis of course.
"We’ve gone down to a skeleton crew and we’re just going to hunker down, if you will, and get through this appeal and then we’ll see where the wind takes us," he explained.
The company has argued and continues to do so at the EAB hearings into an application to haul even more material to its Shawnigan site, that it is following all the provincial requirements.
SIA is selling off some equipment. "We are taking some stuff to the auction. We have a lot of gear. But, we’re also keeping a lot of gear. We are still going to have 10 employees. We’re not going anywhere," Block said.