Victoria passes motion asking B.C. to pull soil dump permit
Protesters handed out bottles of filthy brown water labeled "Polak Springs" complete with B.C. environment minister Mary Polak's photo near a controversial contaminated soil dump in Shawnigan Lake, B.C., Wed., Jan. 6, 2015. (CTV Vancouver Island)
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Friday, January 15, 2016 11:50AM PST
The City of Victoria will call on the province to revoke the permit of a contaminated soil dump in Shawnigan Lake that has stirred up fierce opposition in the community.
Councillors unanimously passed a motion Thursday to support the Shawnigan residents in their fight to pull the permit of the South Island Resource Management site, which sits on a slope above the town’s drinking watershed.
Cheers erupted in council chambers when it was passed.
Coun. Jeremy Loveday, who put forward the motion, said he felt Victoria needed to stand up for its neighbouring municipality.
“I think it’s appropriate and I think it’s necessary for the City of Victoria to go on record, opposing the contaminated soil dump and asking the province to pull the permit,” he told CFAX 1070.
Mayor Lisa Helps said the situation in Shawnigan Lake is a reminder that local government must be consulted when it comes to significant land use challenges and changes.
"The City of Victoria supports the residents of Shawnigan Lake, Cowichan Tribes, and the Cowichan Valley Regional District in calling on the Province of British Columbia to invoke the precautionary principle and revoke the permit for the property at 460 Stebbings Road in Shawnigan Lake," the motion reads.
It also cites significant "conflicting hydrogeological and technical opinions about the risk the facility poses to the natural environment and to people's drinking water."
The resolution will now be forwarded to the province for consideration.
Very grateful to Victoria coucil for unanimously passing motion calling on Minister Polak to revoke the permit... https://t.co/AJ5W4prtGF— Sonia Furstenau (@SoniaFurstenau) January 15, 2016
Residents have opposed the dump for years over concerns contaminants in the soil could leach into the town’s watershed.
SIRM maintains it has systems in place to prevent leakage and says the site has passed ongoing government testing, and an intensive environmental appeal.
A judicial review is currently underway of a decision made by B.C.’s Environmental Appeal Board last May to uphold the site’s permit.
With files from CFAX 1070