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The November 3, 2016 BC Court of Appeal decision regarding a contaminated soil facility in Shawnigan Lake has raised a number of questions about the effect of the decision on the Shawnigan Lake quarry and the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD).
The BC Court of Appeal has determined that the facility at the Stebbings Road quarry is not considered a landfill, which is a land use that is subject to local government zoning, but rather mine reclamation that is essential to restoring the property, which is under the sole jurisdiction of the Ministry of Mines. Therefore, the CVRD has no ability to regulate the facility under its zoning bylaw.
The BC Court of Appeal did rule that contaminated soil treatment is independent of mine reclamation and is prohibited by the CVRD ‘s zoning bylaw. Cobble Hill Holdings (CHH), South Island Aggregates (SIA) and South Island Resource Management (SIRM)have indicated that contaminated soil treatment is not taking place on the property at this time.
The BC Court of Appeal dismissed the CVRD's cross-appeal to have the facility removed from the property.
The effect of this decision is that the operators of the quarry are permitted to continue to operate the current facility at the Stebbings Road quarry in accordance with their Mines permit and their Environmental Management Act Permit. The operators are not permitted to undertake treatment of contaminated soil on the property.