Shawnigan Area Director’s Update
The Community was well represented at the CVRD board meeting on Wednesday April 24th; everyone from frontline protestors, to letter writers, to soil dump site monitors, to documentary photographers and other active community members filled the gallery in support of the long awaited Soil Relocation Bylaw. Many of you have probably noticed the endless stream of dump trucks headed up the Malahat everyday and wondered where all that dirt was going. Well, with this new bylaw, the CVRD will now know where the soil is coming from and where it’s going. Hopefully this much needed regulation will help reduce turbidity (from erosion) in our lakes and streams, protect the beauty of our natural landscapes and reduce the volume of heavy trucks on our roads.
The Community came together to celebrate “what NOT to do” with guest speaker Doug Griffith, author of 13 Ways to Kill Your Community. The satirical presentation was well received. It was upbeat, inspiring and the perfect start to many more conversations on the future of our village and where we see it going. It you want to join the conversation, please reach out so I can connect you with the ThinkShawnigan movement.
We are blessed to live in a beautifully forested area, but with our forests comes the unfortunate risk of wildfire. The best protection against loss, damage or injury due to wildfire is prevention. As we head into another long hot summer, I am pleased to host the Shawnigan Lake Fire Department at my next community meeting. They will present valuable information on how you can help to protect your family, property and neighbours from the risk of fire. Mark your calendar and see you at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre on Tuesday June 11th at 7pm.
Recently I attended a crucial meeting with our team, the Shawnigan Residents Association (SRA), the SRA’s legal counsel and our MLA, at which the Ministry of Environment (MoE) staff made it clear that the Contaminated Soil Dump is a landfill and, as such, it requires a closure plan. The MoE is preparing to present a closure plan created by Sperling Hansen Associates (SHA) to the Minister of the Environment, the Hon. George Heyman. The plan entails trucking another 70k tons of soil up the Malahat to bury the 100k tons that was already dumped. This despite the fact that Justice Sewell’s ruling called into question the legitimacy of the entire permitting process. This despite evidence that the site is already leaking. This despite the fact that there is already a huge amount of fill sitting on the adjacent lot that was supposedly intended for this very purpose. When it comes to the contaminate soil dump, it appears the bureaucracy at the Ministry of Environment (MoE) is not interested in making a decision based on facts and logic. At the moment they are simply presenting the Minister a closure plan for approval and he will have to decide if the plan is “reasonable and necessary to protect the environment.” Removal of the soil is not even on the table!! It is clear now that this decision will ultimately be a political one; no amount of facts will change the outcome. Our pleas go out to our friends in the BC NDP and the BC Greens to once again stand up for Shawnigan Lake.
In Community, Sierra Acton
Monday May 6th 7pm Director’s Meeting at The Hub Cowichan Station
Tuesday June 11th 7pm Director’s Meeting at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre