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2nd December 2015
A call to arms.
“We need all the help we can get. This is a survival issue for our community.”

The issue at hand is the recent Environmental Appeal Board ruling upholding a permit issued by the Ministry of Environment allowing for five-million tons of contaminated soil to be trucked in and processed in a quarry near the Shawnigan Lake water shed.

Cowichan Valley Regional District area director, Sonia Furstenau says this is not just a Shawnigan issue, or a Vancouver Island issue, but a provincial issue.

“The implications go beyond Shawnigan. So, if the government proceeds and does not revoke this permit this means that any mine site in BC could potentially become a contaminated soil dump. And I think the implications for that are terrifying.

Fustenau is drawing comparisons to recent protests on Burnaby Mountain, where she says protesters acted to protect a community’s assets: their environment, and ecosystem.

She’s expecting a similar reaction in Shawnigan.

Furstenau says “they are already hearing the vast majority of residents will stand in front of trucks if it comes to that,” including, a number of local grandmothers who were asked “if they would be out in front of the trucks, and they all said yes.”

Furstenau says they are rallying troops from across the province.

“We are reaching out to all the communities in BC. We’re going to reach out to as many different organizations that are committed to protecting water to protecting the environment.”

In August of 2013 the BC Government approved the permit. The community challenged it, and the Environmental Appeal Board upheld the it last Friday.

A letter writing campaign is underway to the provincial cabinet demanding that they revoke the permit, which Furstenau says “they have the power to do.”