Due to a January 24, 2017 court decision, the dumping of toxic soil near Shawnigan Lake has been suspended. The Shawnigan Lake Association distributed the following release, and BC Environment Minister Mary Pollack has also released a statement.
In the order they were received, here they are.
Judicial Review: Justice Sewell Decision Released
–The Shawnigan Residents Association, Jan 24, 2017
The decision of Mr. Justice Sewell of the British Columbia Supreme Court was released today, setting aside the decision of the Environmental Appeal Board (the “Board”) and reinstating the stay of the permit that allows Cobble Hill Holdings (CHH) to operate a contaminated soil landfill in the Shawnigan Lake watershed. See paragraph 199 below:
 As the Decision has been set aside, the stay of the Permit previously issued by the Board is reinstated until further order of the Board, but nothing in this decision affects the power of the Board to set aside the stay on the application of any party before it.
The Court has held that the evidence provided to the Board by CHH was false and misleading in respect of the financial arrangement between CHH and its engineers Active Earth Engineering Ltd., and that the Board should reconsider its decision in light of new evidence on that subject. The Court also found that CHH filed misleading evidence before the Court in the judicial review. See paragraph 179 below:
 I also find that CHH filed misleading evidence in this Court.
In addition, the Court held that the Board did not fairly apply its rules of expert evidence resulting in a hearing that was procedurally unfair to the SRA. The Court has directed the Board reconsider the expert evidence tendered at the Board’s hearing in light of the Court’s findings in that regard. See paragraph 110 below:
 Accordinginly, I find that the BOard did not act fairly with respect to the expert evidence which was before it. The appeal before the Board was essentially a contest among experts over the safety and engineering of the project. The rules with respect to the admissibility of and procedures for tendering that evidence were therefore of central importance to the conduct of the appeal. I conclude that the decision of the Board must be set aside on that ground.
Justice Sewell’s full ruling can be read here.
“This is a huge win for the community”, said SRA President Calvin Cook. “We commenced this judicial review process with the conviction that the Board process had not been a fair one and when the evidence of the ownership interest of the engineers surfaced, we said that the Board had been misled. Today, the Court agreed.”
Mr. Cook stated further, “The case is not over, but this is a huge step forward for the community and we will continue to oppose this project every step of the way as we firmly maintain this project is inappropriate and dangerous for our community and its drinking water.”
Environment Minister responds to BC Supreme Court decision
-January 24, 2017 4:38 PM
Minister Environment Mary Polak has issued the following statement regarding the BC Supreme Court ruling on Shawnigan Lake judicial review:
“Justice Sewell’s decision regarding Shawnigan Lake judicial review means no contaminated soil will be received at the Shawnigan Lake site until further notice.
“This particular case was about the Shawnigan Residents Association alleging the company engaged in fraudulent behavior. The allegations are not against the Province.
“The Province is concerned around Justice Sewell’s findings with respect to the way evidence was presented to the Environmental Appeal Board . The ministry will take time to review the decision to determine how this impacts the Province’s role in permitting the facility.
“In a separate process, as noted in my correspondence to the company on Nov. 4, 2016, I am considering suspending or cancelling the company’s Environmental Management Act permit specific to a review of whether the company is satisfying the conditions of its permit.”
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