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Soils Management Roundtable Established
Duncan, BC – For anyone who regularly travels the Malahat Highway, the large volume of soil being trucked into the region from the Greater Victoria area is obvious. The potential impacts from large-volume soil dumping on private lands are prominent in the Shawnigan Lake area and can include siltation and turbidity in creeks and water courses, riparian area damage, leachate from contaminated soils as well as damage to roads and traffic safety. To address and mitigate a number of these impacts, the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is currently developing a Soil Deposit Bylaw that will regulate and manage the deposit of soil on lands within the regional district.
In the meantime, in response to a number of immediate concerns with soil transportation and soil dumping practices, a meeting was held with various agencies that have jurisdiction over soil transportation and the impacts of poor dumping practices. Participants included the CVRD, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement Branch, Ministry of Mines, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Capital Regional District, Malahat First Nation and the Municipality of North Cowichan.
“This group looked at the complex nature of soil management within the region and acknowledged that each jurisdiction has a big part to play in how soil is regulated,” explains Robert Blackmore, Manager Bylaw Enforcement and Building Inspection. “We all have a responsibility to align and standardize our approach to addressing soil deposits in the region.”
Outcomes of the meeting included the creation of a Soil Management Roundtable that will meet regularly to discuss ongoing and emergent soil dumping issues within the region as well as the establishment of a triage team to better coordinate responses to major incidents associated with soil dump sites.
“Soil dumping is a major challenge facing the Shawnigan Lake community and we are hopeful that implementation of a new soil deposit bylaw, combined with a coordinated enforcement response, will help to protect our local environment from the impacts of poor soil dumping practices,” says Area B Director Sierra Acton.