On January 24th, the British Columbia Supreme Court released a judgement in favour of Farris’ client, the Shawnigan Residents Association, setting aside a decision by the Environmental Appeal Board to allow a landfill for contaminated soil to be operated near Shawnigan Lake. A stay preventing any further dumping of contaminated soil has been reinstated and the case has been referred back to the Environmental Appeal Board for reconsideration. The case is a major public issue in the Shawnigan Lake area, which includes the world famous Shawnigan Lake School.
Robert S. Anderson, Q.C. and Sean Hern first represented the Shawnigan Residents Association in a 30-day Environmental Appeal Board hearing seeking to overturn the Ministry of Environment’s granting of a permit for the contaminated soil landfill. The Board upheld the permit but the Farris team brought a judicial review of the Board’s decision on behalf of the Shawnigan Residents Association. The judicial review included allegations of procedural unfairness and also allegations that the company to which the landfill permit had been issued had materially misled the Board by failing to disclose that it had a joint-venture type of profit-sharing arrangement with engineers who prepared the Technical Assessment Report submitted to the government in support of the landfill permit’s issuance.
The judicial review and injunction application were heard by Mr. Justice Sewell of the BC Supreme Court in a four week hearing in early 2016. Mr. Justice Sewell held that there were defects of procedural fairness in the Board’s handling of expert evidence at the hearing and that the errors required the Board to reconsider its decision. The Court held further that the landfill proponents provided false and misleading evidence to the Board and that the Board should hear the new evidence of the engineers’ conflicting interests and in light of that evidence, reconsider its decision as to whether the landfill permit should be cancelled.
For the decision, please click here.