VICTORIA B.C. -- After years of community members fighting their government over the safety of their drinking water, the B.C. Minister of Environment has cancelled the waste discharge permit for Cobble Hill Holdings, effective immediately.
“I'm glad the Minister has finally pulled the permit, but it is completely unacceptable that it took this long. It is egregious that the people of Shawnigan had to take their government to court simply to receive representation,” Andrew Weaver said, Leader of the B.C. Green Party.
Weaver first visited the site with community members and Shawnigan Lake Area Director, Sonia Furstenau, on April 2nd, 2015. During that time Weaver collected water samples which were tested for contamination at the University of Victoria. His initial analysis of the case can be found in a report posted to his website on April 18th, 2015. Weaver made subsequent visits to the site to collect new samples over the course of the following year.
Furstenau, B.C. Greens candidate for Cowichan Valley and Deputy Leader of the B.C. Green Party, added, “While I’m thrilled that the Minister has done the right thing and cancelled the permit, I remain committed to holding the government to account to ensure the contaminated soil is cleaned up safely. The residents of Shawnigan should be proud of what we accomplished today, but they deserved to see action from their government much sooner.”
Weaver continued, “Sonia Furstenau has shown outstanding leadership on holding the government to account over their dereliction of duty on this file. I’m incredibly proud to have her on the B.C. Greens team. This is the kind of principled representation is what communities across B.C. deserve and can expect from the B.C. Greens.
“The situation that has unfolded in Shawnigan shows why the government’s professional reliance model is completely inadequate for environmental protection and community safety. Instead of drawing on the technical expertise of the civil service who serve the public interest, the government cut these experts and now relies instead on the judgement of experts hired by corporations with vested interests.
“The Minister does not have a plan for how or even if the contaminated soil will be removed. Who is going to deal the contaminated soils now? Where is it going to go?”
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