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6th January 2017
By Robert Barron - Cowichan Valley Citizen

Shawnigan Lake posted Jan 5, 2017 at 2:00 PM updated Jan 5, 2017 at 4:58 PM

The Cowichan Valley Regional District is taking its case against the controversial contaminated soil landfill above Shawnigan Lake to the highest court in the country.

The CVRD filed an application with the Supreme Court of Canada on Dec. 29 to appeal its case in regards to the landfill, located on Stebbings Road and owned by South Island Aggregates and Cobble Hill Holdings.

The regional district is asking that the Supreme Court review the decision made by the BC Court of Appeal on Nov. 3 that allowed the landfill to continue operations.

That decision reversed a ruling made by the BC Supreme Court on March 21 that found that the landfill is not a permitted use of the property under the CVRD’s zoning bylaws.

The CVRD is arguing that the BC Court of Appeal erred in setting aside “key factual findings” of the case, and that the court incorrectly determined that provincial mining decisions take exclusive precedence over the regional district’s land-use bylaws.

The regional district is also arguing that the court erred in finding that the CVRD’s authority to regulate soil-deposit facilities restricts the district’s ability to regulate land use.

“We are concerned with the future implications of the [BC Court of Appeal’s] decision on Shawnigan Lake residents, the CVRD and other local government jurisdictions,” said CVRD chairman Jon Lefebure.

“The board is committed to protecting the district’s ability to control land use through our zoning bylaws, and felt it was important to have Canada’s highest court review the BC Court of Appeal’s decision.”

The CVRD also gave notice that if its case is successful in the Supreme Court of Canada, it will be seeking an order requiring the removal of the landfill facility.

The landfill’s owners now have 30 days to respond to the CVRD’s application to the Supreme Court of Canada, after which the court will decide whether it will hear the appeal.