Shawnigan Lake residents win court battle over contaminated soil dump

Click to play video 'Shawnigan Lake residents win fight against tainted soil dump' Shawnigan Lake residents win fight against tainted soil dump
WATCH: The B.C. Supreme Court rules a contaminated landfill is not a permitted use of the land at the quarry in Shawnigan Lake. Kylie Stanton has more on the decision and what it means for the contaminated soil that's already there – Mar 21, 2016

After a legal battle that lasted years, opponents of a controversial dump site located above the Shawnigan Lake watershed celebrated a victory on Monday.

“Today is our day,” Cowichan Valley Regional District area director Sonia Furstenau said after a court decision ruled the contaminated soil facility at 640 Stebbings Road is “not a permitted use on the property.”

Just last year, the operators of the facility received a permit to turn the area into a dump site that would allow them to truck in 100,000 tonnes of contaminated soil per year.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice B.D. MacKenzie ruled the contaminated soil being brought in was not in accordance with current bylaws and zoning rules and slapped the site’s operator with an injunction.

READ MORE: Shawnigan Lake residents claim industry is threatening their health

“It means it’s got to stop,” Furstenau said.

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In recent months, residents have gone to great lengths to try and shut down the site, even going as far as to block trucks at the site’s entrance.

Tests on runoff were conducted and a temporary water advisory was issued but the operation continued until now.

Fursteneau told a crowd of supporters Monday that “South Island Resource Management is complying with the Supreme Court decision.”

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In a statement, South Island Resource Management said it is considering an appeal.

It went on to say:

“It is important to understand this decision deals with only one aspect of our operation. We continue to operate the mine and manage the material already on site.”

“Our legal counsel is reviewing the implications of today’s decision and once we have a full understanding of the impact to our operation, we will release a further statement.”

The judge declined to order the removal of the contaminated soil already brought in to the landfill, leaving it up to the Ministry of Environment and Environmental Appeal Board to make any future decisions.

– With files from Justin McElroy and Kylie Stanton