A judicial review in the BC Supreme Court has found nothing in the provincial Mines Act legislation that would help the Highlands District Community Associations (HDCA) in its fight against a rock quarry.
A verbal decision delivered on Nov. 6, following a three-day review in Vancouver found the HDCA, community members and neighbours are only owed a “low level of procedural fairness” in Mines Act permit applications, according to the HDCA, adding that consideration of the economic impact on adjacent residents or businesses was not enough of a shortcoming to quash the permit.
In 2015, O.K. Industries purchased the 65-acre property from the province and in late 2016 Highlands denied the company’s rezoning application to use the land for industrial purposes. The company then applied to the province for a Mines Act permit in 2017 which was granted in March of this year.
Earlier this year, the HDCA had applied for a temporary injunction, which was dismissed after learning O.K Industries was planning to start clearing trees and building an access road on the land before the judicial review.
The main concern for the HDCA is the “threat to the community’s drinking water supply from extensive blasting on the property that is next door to a CRD toxic waste dump,” reads a statement.
“In essence, the ruling shows there is nothing in the legislation that sufficiently recognizes the legitimate concerns of groundwater-dependent communities,” said Scott Richardson, chairperson for the HDCA.
Other concerns include impacts on the noise and dust the project will generate for almost two decades. Road safety hazards from increased heavy truck traffic, possible negative impacts to the quality of life and house prices for surrounding residents and impacts on biodiversity are also of concern according to the HDCA.
According to Richardson, the HDCA is considering its next steps.