Skip to content

WIN! BC Supreme Court rules against dump site at Shawnigan Lake

The Mid-Island and Victoria chapters protesting the dump site near Shawnigan Lake on Jan. 6, 2016.

The BC Supreme Court has ruled that the province erred in granting a waste disposal permit at a dump site near Shawnigan Lake.

CTV reports, “The BC Supreme Court has ruled that a controversial soil dump positioned above Shawnigan Lake’s drinking watershed is not a permitted land use for the site. …The court said that the contaminated soil facility at 640 Stebbings Road is ‘not a permitted use on the property’ under current zoning bylaws, bringing an end to one of two court battles being waged by the Cowichan Valley Regional District. The CVRD had argued the soil dump contravened its land-use bylaws. In the ruling, the judge also slapped the company with an injunction that bars further importing of contaminated soil.”

This means that the dump trucks that have been moving contaminated soil to the dump site must now stop.

The CTV article highlights, “It’s a key victory for residents who have been fighting to stop the site from operating in their community.”

And CHEK News adds, “The ruling comes as people around the globe celebrate World Water Day.”

The Council of Canadians Victoria and Mid-Island (Nanaimo) chapters have been actively opposing this dump.

In March 2014, the Victoria chapter protested outside an Environmental Appeal Board hearing to demand that the BC Ministry of the Environment reverse its decision to grant South Island Aggregates a permit to dump toxic soil near Shawnigan Lake. In May 2015, the chapter joined with 1,000 people at a rally at the BC Legislature in Victoria to protest the dump site. In June 2015, the chapter participated in a blockade of the entrance to the dump site. In Jan. 2016, the Victoria and Mid-Island chapters were at a protest at Shawnigan Lake just prior to the beginning of the BC Supreme Court hearings. And in Feb. 2016, the Mid-Island chapter attended a Sacred Land & Sacred Waters ceremony aimed at stopping the dump.

The chapters, the broader community and the Malahat Nation opposed South Island Aggregates dumping contaminated soil at a gravel pit near Shawnigan Lake given it put at risk the drinking water for 12,000 people. The site would have received up to 100,000 tons of contaminated soil per year for fifty years. The site itself is located on top of an aquifer, beside a creek leading to the community’s drinking water.

Congratulations to all groups and the community who fought so hard to protect their drinking water!