A trip by some Vancouver Island residents who oppose a controversial contaminated soil dumping facility in the Shawnigan Lake watershed turned into a victory celebration outside the Langley City constituency office of MLA Mary Polak, the provincial environmental minister, on Tuesday (March 22).
The day before the 40 people boarded the bus for the World Water Day Rally in Langley, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that the contaminated soil landfill is not a permitted use next to the community in the Cowichan Valley.
The Cowichan Valley Regional District went to court after the provincial environment ministry issued a permit for a “contaminated soil treatment facility and a landfill facility” that many Shawnigan Lake residents fear will contaminate their drinking water.
The court victory made for an upbeat mood on the trip over, said protester Roger Chin, a Duncan resident.
“It was the party bus,” Chin said.
The protestors staged a polite noon-hour demonstration outside Polak’s offices on the one-way, holding signs that called for stronger regulations to protect water quality.
The court ruling against the Shawnigan Lake watershed soil dumping said it was “not a permitted use on the property” under current zoning bylaws.
The judge also issued an injunction that bars further importing of contaminated soil, but stopped short of ordering removal of the soil dumped to date.
South Island Resources Management, the company that operates the site, said its legal team is reviewing the implications of the court’s decision.
Land owner Cobble Hill Holdings Ltd. said it is considering an appeal.
– with files from CTV news