The Left Side

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Shawnigan’s ‘Dirty Dirt Pit’ Was In Non-Compliance With Permit-Failure To Comply Could Mean Fines And Jail Time.

Originally published in the South Cowichan Echo

Peter Rusland
A soil treatment facility in Shawnigan Lake is now complying with pollution- containment conditions of its provincial permit following last week’s remedial orders from the environment ministry, ministry staff confirms.

Staff supported an Oct.18 statement to CBC News by minister Mary Polak that she was satisfied the soil-treatment operation is complying with its pollution prevention order.

Those orders to pit owners Cobble Hill Holdings and South Island Aggregates came after between 3,000 and 6,000 gallons of untreated contact water spilled Oct. 8 out of its Stebbings Road operation and into the surrounding environment.

Based on that spill and earlier non-compliance — and with the weekend’s storm looming — ministry staff believed more untreated contact water could leave the site and pollute the area.


That’s why staff ordered the Cobble Hill Holdings to ensure, by Oct. 12, it follow its permit regarding covering the landfill against the weather, build or maintain collection ditching, and ensure contingency measures to guard against a spill.

Polak told CBC her staff watched the site during the weekend and observed no more problems. It was unknown if the firm will be charged for the spill.

On Oct. 17 ministry staff said the permittee (Cobble Hill Holdings) “reports today the actions required by the order are still being complied with and there are no significant changes in the status at the site.”

“The ministry continues to share all data with Island Health so they can assess potential impacts to human health for downstream water users.”

Ministry staff continues monitoring the situation “and if necessary will take further action.”

Concerns about the pit operation are explained in an Oct. 12 letter to the firm from the ministry’s A.J. Downie says Rahim Gaidhar, an SIA resource manager, reported a spill of untreated contact water onto the site property.

That day, conservation officer Scott Norris attended and confirmed Gaidhar’s report of the spill, and that heavy rains resulted in erosion of a sand layer on top of the pit’s landfill.


That eroded sand obstructed contact-water collation ditches and about 3,000 to 6,000 gallons of untreated contact water spilled out, mixed with non-contact water, flowed into the settling pond then headed into the environment nearby, Downie explains.

The ministry found the company was in non-compliance with permit 105809 due to the discharge of untreated contact water into the settling pond.

Furthermore, Downie explains contaminated soil remains on site in the landfill without a final cover and with sand on the landfill’s surface.

Failure to comply with those orders could mean fines up to $300,000 or six months jail time.
And failure to comply could also spell an administrative penalty of up to $40,000, Downie says.

Sonia Furstenau- Shawnigan's CVRD Director

Sonia Furstenau- Shawnigan’s CVRD Director

That’s cold comfort to Shawnigan Lake Director Sonia Fursteanau.

“The point is now you have evidence of compounding failures” at the pit.

“Last year it was a breach of non-contact water, now it’s contact water.

“We said from the beginning this site is wholly unsuitable for this activity and had the ministry listened to the (hydrology) experts and the community, we wouldn’t be in this situation right now.”

The pit’s permit, allowing treatment of five million tonnes of contaminated soil over 50 years, is also opposed by the Shawnigan Residents’ Association and the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

Court rulings are still pending in their legal cases against the permit.

SRA, the CVRD and Furstenau simply want the pit’s permit pulled by B.C.’s Liberal government.

“The longer-term story here is in 19 months of operation this company has had ongoing, perpetual non-compliance issues with its permit.

“I want them to pull the permit — it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

Steelhead LNG Make Haste With Their LNG Liquefaction Plans For The Saanich Inlet



Barane McCartney draws attention to the OCP that clearly prohibits LNG.


By Peter W. Rusland, Originally published in the South Cowichan Echo

While South-Cowichanian’s fear development of a floating liquefied natural

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Michael Moore–Is Trump Purposely Sabotaging His Campaign?

Michael Moore


By Michael Moore


Donald Trump never actually wanted to be President of the United States. I know this for a fact. I’m not going to say how I know it. I’m not

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North Cowichan is holding a series of town hall meetings on the 2017 budget from October 24th to 27th.

Rob Douglas

North Cowichan is holding a series of town hall meetings on the 2017 budget from October 24th to 27th. Budget 2017 Town Hall Meetings

Last year North Cowichan Council decided to explore new ways

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Political columnist Mike Smyth has kicked the BC NDP’s controversial ‘Equity Mandate Policy’ into play


Political columnist and pundit Mike Smyth has kicked the BC NDP’s controversial ‘Equity Mandate Policy’ into play, as we enter the period of nominations across BC.

Normally the party members decide and nominate based

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WikiLeaks Says Ecuador Shut Down Julian Assange’s Internet Access


LONDON — New York Times

Ecuador said Tuesday that it had cut off Julian Assange’s access to the internet in his exile in the

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Judge Rejects “Riot” Charges Against Amy Goodman in North Dakota


It is difficult to imagine what the North Dakota prosecutor was thinking when he filed trespassing charges against Democracy Now’s award winning Amy Goodman.

He then dropped those charges and pursued rioting charges against

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‘Julian Assange losing internet access possible US cyber attack’


RT-The Russian state-supported news service puts out a very good product. It may slant from a Russian viewpoint, but it is subtle, certainly less obvious than what we receive from CNN, ABC, NBC,PBS even the

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Christy Clark shows how far she’ll go to close schools in Vancouver

Sullen Christy

VANCOUVER – Christy Clark has created more chaos for students, parents and teachers in Vancouver by having her education minister fire the Vancouver School Board, says New Democrat leader John Horgan.

“This is a

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John Pilger: Why Hillary Clinton Is More Dangerous Than Donald Trump


Let me be clear. Donald Trump is a disgusting human being on many levels, but the carefully orchestrated attack on his character and morals being fanned by the corporate media, eclipses the threat of a

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North Dakota Prosecutor Seeks “Riot” Charges Against Amy Goodman For Reporting On Pipeline Protest


This is both a disturbing and significant development that underlines the dysfunctional state of justice in the USA.

It smacks of the state government accommodating the oil and gas forces while simultaneously slapping any journalists

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Rick Mercer Rants About Nestle Taking Our Water


Rafe: How our “democracy” really works – the charade of party politics and whipped caucuses


Rafe’s ‘Dick and Jane’ version of how democracy works is both cynical and timely in its’ irreverence and accuracy.

Does it have to be this way? No, it does not.

How do we change it?

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Shawnigan: safeguards or spills

Susan Down

Susan Down

What makes more sense: enforcing a clean-up after pollution or ensuring proper planning and safeguards are in place before it ever happens? On Oct. 12, the provincial government issued a pollution

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The rains, the winds, the stupidity. Stay up to date with Shelagh Bell-Irvings ‘Live Reports’ from the Shawnigan Contaminated Pits


Well Shawnigan, the rains, and winds are upon us.

The BC Liberal government and their pretend Ministry of Environment have failed us mightily.

The efforts to contain the contaminated toxic runoff would be hilarious if

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Bernie Sanders Just Asked President Obama to Halt the Dakota Access Pipeline


Here’s the powerful letter signed by Sanders and four other senators.


The Dakota Access pipeline currently hangs in a state of uncertainty. On October 9, a federal appeals court dismissed

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Pollution risks found at quarry near Shawnigan Lake


This is the sort of headline that has been placed at the top of most news stories about Shawnigan over the last few years.

Christy Clark’s BC Liberal government have shown a callous and utter

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Washington Hits Back at Putin’s Humiliation

Russian President Vladimir Putin

The USA has gathered through surveillance, much of it illegal, massive amounts of personal information on American citizens, politicians, and foreign government leaders.

Edward Snowden has shone a light on their scandalous behavior and so

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Edward Snowden Explains Who Really Rules The United States – It’s Not The Russians…

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden is a hero treated like a criminal by the corrupt US government who have been tracking the private lives of citizens without any justification whatsoever.

This above the law behaviour threatens any

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***Updated*** European parliamentarian & CETA critic Jose Bove denied entry into Canada- Then decision reversed


Prime Minister Trudeau has some explaining to do and should apologize and invite him back.

So much for sunny ways. We wanted so badly to believe that Trudeau would be different.

Turns out French

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Truth Is That Hillary and Donald Really Do Care About Each Other-Satire


Republican rebellion against Trump unprecedented in modern campaign history, experts say


By Alexander Panett-Canadian Press-

WASHINGTON — An internal rebellion has erupted against Donald Trump, knocking out support from longstanding pillars of the Republican party and threatening to turn his presidential campaign into ruins.

Election historians

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An Open Letter To Donald Trump From Some Angry Women.


This post was originally posted from Alice Machado’s blog ‘Drifting Through My Open Mind ~ Random thoughts and musings‘


Dear Mr. Trump… can I call you Mr. Trump? Is that ok? I want

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‘Welcome To Cowichan Bay’ Composed and Choreographed By Susan Rankin.


I came across this amazing post of Susan Rankin’s Image Music on Facebook this morning,

Enjoy, appreciate and pass it on.



Welcome to Cowichan Bay, the first song on Pagan Lullabies, was

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Obituary: ‘Old Leather Lungs,’ one of B.C.’s most colourful politicians


Old time Socred MLA and Cabinet Minister Don Phillips was from another era, a time of flamboyant speakers and keen as hell debaters.

On the Socred side, Phillips, Rafe Mair and Grace McCarthy would square

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Seven Spanish Angels-Ray Charles & Willie Nelson


We have had lots of politics lately. Sometimes too much.

Music is, too many of us, as essential as air and water.

Bluegrass, Jazz, Folk, Blues, Country, Big Band, Rock and Roll and then crossover

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Province will accept court ruling on Shawnigan Lake contaminated soil


It is hard to imagine how this could take so long to decide, but at the least, the injunction has been reinstituted allowing for some relief, but without independent monitoring what is taking place

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Cowichan Valley chapter screens Josh Fox film, inspired by Pacific Climate Warriors


The Council of Canadians Cowichan Valley chapter screened the Josh Fox documentary How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can’t Change on September 29.

As noted on the

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Pumps readied for Cowichan River life support


The third drought in 3 years has forced Catalyst, operators of the Crofton Pulp Mill, to spend a reported 500 thousand dollars to build pumping facility to assure adequate water to keep the Mill running.

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Climate Change Hits Home in Cowichan Valley Where High-volume Water Pumps will Prevent Cowichan River from Running Dry



The following release has been sent out announcing an attempt to counter the drought conditions that threaten the Cowichan River.


Cowichan Lake, (B.C.) – The Cowichan Tribes, Catalyst Paper, the Cowichan Valley

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