Supreme Court of Canada to decide on soil dump issue

Court expected to decide on whether to hear the case on zoning jurisdiction within CVRD

The Cowichan Valley Regional District will learn on April 13 if the Supreme Court of Canada will hear its case against the controversial contaminated soil landfill above Shawnigan Lake.

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 at the time.

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 landfill, owned by South Island Aggregates and Cobble Hill Holdings, announced last month that it is permanently closing after Environment Minister Mary Polak decided to pull its permit to operate.

But Jon Lefebure, chairman of the CVRD, said the case is still important to the regional district, and all other local governments in the country, despite the closure of the landfill.

“There are more wide-reaching issues at stake here for all local governments,” he said.

“We want to see our right to zoning upheld on properties within the CVRD’s jurisdiction. The regional district is arguing that a landfill of this type is not allowed to operate on that piece of property under our zoning, and that can’t be ignored. All local governments have a stake in the outcome of this case.”