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9th May 2017
EDITOR
Shawnigan quarry owner awarded more court costs in contaminated-soil battle

Lindsay Kines / Times Colonist

May 8, 2017 10:43 PM

The owner of a rock quarry near Shawnigan Lake has been awarded increased court costs in an ongoing legal battle with the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

The ruling comes after Cobble Hill Holdings Ltd. succeeded last year in overturning a B.C. Supreme Court decision that found the quarry was violating a district zoning bylaw by operating as a landfill and storing contaminated soil at the site.

The Court of Appeal ruled, instead, that the quarry is a mine and that the province — not the regional district — has exclusive jurisdiction to regulate mining activities, including reclaiming the site by filling the quarry cavity.

The regional district has sought leave to appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.

In the meantime, the B.C. Court of Appeal has awarded Cobble Hill Holdings Ltd. increased court costs. In a ruling released Monday, the court found that Cobble Hill Holdings has “paid a heavy price for the complex litigation, which was commenced by a state actor to address an issue that could only have been effectively resolved at the political level or at the [Environmental Appeal Board].”

The court said that awarding ordinary, instead of increased costs, “would create an unjust result for [Cobble Hill Holdings].”

The court added that the CVRD had been advised by its own staff about the “exclusive provincial jurisdiction over mining.”

Victoria lawyer John Alexander, who acted for Cobble Hill Holdings, said the appeal court essentially said the company is “entitled to as much as is possible for every step in both courts.” The exact amount still has to be worked out between the parties, he said.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District declined comment until its board of directors has had an opportunity to review the ruling.

The battle between the company and CVRD was overshadowed this year when the provincial government cancelled the company’s permit to store contaminated soil in the quarry. The government said the company failed to provide the province with adjusted financial security in the form of an irrevocable letter of credit. The company says the government decision was “unlawful and unreasonable.”

The owner of a rock quarry near Shawnigan Lake has been awarded increased court costs in an ongoing legal battle with the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

The ruling comes after Cobble Hill Holdings Ltd. succeeded last year in overturning a B.C. Supreme Court decision that found the quarry was violating a district zoning bylaw by operating as a landfill and storing contaminated soil at the site.

The Court of Appeal ruled, instead, that the quarry is a mine and that the province — not the regional district — has exclusive jurisdiction to regulate mining activities, including reclaiming the site by filling the quarry cavity.

The regional district has sought leave to appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.

In the meantime, the B.C. Court of Appeal has awarded Cobble Hill Holdings Ltd. increased court costs. In a ruling released Monday, the court found that Cobble Hill Holdings has “paid a heavy price for the complex litigation, which was commenced by a state actor to address an issue that could only have been effectively resolved at the political level or at the [Environmental Appeal Board].”

The court said that awarding ordinary, instead of increased costs, “would create an unjust result for [Cobble Hill Holdings].”

The court added that the CVRD had been advised by its own staff about the “exclusive provincial jurisdiction over mining.”

Victoria lawyer John Alexander, who acted for Cobble Hill Holdings, said the appeal court essentially said the company is “entitled to as much as is possible for every step in both courts.” The exact amount still has to be worked out between the parties, he said.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District declined comment until its board of directors has had an opportunity to review the ruling.

The battle between the company and CVRD was overshadowed this year when the provincial government cancelled the company’s permit to store contaminated soil in the quarry. The government said the company failed to provide the province with adjusted financial security in the form of an irrevocable letter of credit. The company says the government decision was “unlawful and unreasonable.”

- See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/shawnigan-quarry-owner-awarded-more-court-costs-in-contaminated-soil-battle-1.18955237#sthash.rnZ4F30X.dpuf