NDP leader John Horgan is calling on the government to suspend the permits for the South Island Aggregates contaminated soil dump…
Issues around the facility near were front and center in Victoria, after Island Health’s advisory against using or drawing water from the south end of Shawnigan Lake, because of a suspected overflow from the site.
Horgan says that situation, and court challenges from the CVRD and the Shawnigan Residents Association, are reason enough to stop the operation.
“The CVRD is in court. The Shawnigan Ratepayers Association is in court. The right thing for the government to do, while these issues are before the courts, is to suspend the 20 to 30 trucks a day that are bringing contaminants to an empty mine site and affecting the lives of thousands of citizens,” he said. “Surely to goodness it’s time for the minister to put people first, stop the trucks and let these people get on with regular lives.”
Environment Minister Mary Polak says politicians shouldn’t interference while the Ministry’s independent scientists do their work.
“Firstly, permits of this nature are issued based on the decisions of independent scientists free from interference from politicians. Compliance and enforcement recommendations are made in the same way. Politicians do not direct those scientists to make their recommendations,” she told the Legislature, in response to Horgan’s questions.
Polak also said a first round of testing did not turn up any threats to public health. The rest of the test results are expected sometime Tuesday.
Green MLA Andrew Weaver’s attempt to get an emergency debate on the situation was set aside by the Speaker for the time being.