The pot calling the kettle black
Re: “Cowichan Bay company making waves over derelict, abandoned boats littering water”, (Citizen, Jan. 11, 2019)
Pacific Industrial & Marine owner, Brian Thacker, has once again rescued vessels adrift in the Cowichan Bay Estuary. Kudos to him and his staff. We read his concerns that “there are no penalties in place to hold boat owners accountable”, and thought this to be somewhat ironic.
PIM’s heavy metal construction activities at the Terminal have been conducted in our vulnerable estuary in direct contravention to existing bylaws for years, as well as building and massive expansion without permits, and this has gone unchecked, while the CVRD has turned a blind eye. This in spite of community plans which emphatically claim to be designed to protect the environment, the habitat, and the wildlife that depends on it.
The collective industrial activities that take place at the Terminal site around the clock have resulted in intrusive noise from machinery and equipment, glaring nighttime spotlights that shine across the entire bay, potential and suspected pollutant discharge from toxic waste and chemicals into the air and water of the estuary which never has been assessed in the past, not to mention the intensive heavy transport trucking that takes place daily and stresses our fragile road system. There have been no independent environmental impact assessments conducted, but it’s easy to imagine that PIM’s activities have a far greater negative impact on our estuary environment than a few derelict vessels ever could.
Now, it seems, that the CVRD is about to amend the zoning bylaws to allow the hitherto illegal industrial operations at the Terminal to be permitted, and likely expanded. The operators assure us that no expansion of industrial activities will take place in the future. But how can we trust that business owners who have blatantly violated existing bylaws, engaged in on-going illegal expansion with impunity for many years, will suddenly operate within the new bylaws? Furthermore, how can we be assured that the CVRD will be more diligent in enforcing the amended bylaws, when they have not seen fit to enforce the existing ones?
The request for rezoning will be brought up at a public hearing of the CVRD in the upcoming weeks. We urge all concerned citizens to attend.