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BC Greens Looking For A Leg Up Over The Shawnigan ‘Dirty Dirt Fiasco’- BC Liberals Delighted ***Updated***

Richard 'Hub' HughesThere has for years been the illusion that the Greens, BC flavour or federal, are somehow left sorta like the NDP with a green tinge.

The common ground is that neither party are Christy Clark Liberal  backers, although BC Green leader Andrew Weaver benefitted from their financial  advertising support in the last election.

The BC Liberals love the Greens according to Vancouver Province columnist Mike Smyth.

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark loves the Green Party.

BC Premier Christy Clark loves the Green Party.

He is onto the Clark-Coleman duo who repeatedly provide setups to advance Green fortunes past the NDP.

This is something the BC Liberals desperately need in hopes of re-electing the worst provincial government in our province’s history.

Actually the many conservative leaning BC Greens have combined with disgruntled former NDP’ers producing a lo-brid offering that just does not seem to gain the traction needed to climb the political ladder to power and effectiveness.

Cowichan NDP MLA Bill Routley

Cowichan NDP MLA Bill Routley

Once past the immensely supportable concern for our environment, the ‘Greens’ political value system becomes murky and inconsistent lacking a belief system that ties it all together in a recognizable force.

That may in the short term may seem attractive making it easier to bring people in on green value issues.

However transferring that to electoral impacts has rarely accomplished more than  splitting the vote to the benefit of the BC Liberals who have delivered the worst environmental record ever.

This is of course is recognized and exploited by the BC Liberals. In purely political terms, who can blame them?

Alistair McGregor-NDP MP Cowichan Malahat Langford

Alistair McGregor-NDP MP Cowichan Malahat Langford

This is especially the case with games and posturing that continue over the contaminated soil controversy that has plagued Shawnigan residents since spring 2012. The Green forces arrived late but are still hanging on in hopes of elevating their political fortunes.

Cowichan NDP MLA Bill Routley has fought for the Shawnigan residents from day one and he has done it in an effective workman like fashion, not fancy, but consistent and dependable.

Alistair McGregor NDP MP- Cowichan-Malahat-Langford introduced a bill recently in the House of Commons  to help protect Shawnigan Lake.

Understand this, the Greens cannot claim any credit for the recent court victory. They simply have tried to run to the front of the parade.

Andrew Weaver and Director Sonia Furstenau-'No problem with these soil samples'

Andrew Weaver and Director Sonia Furstenau-‘No problem with these soil samples’

Some ambitious Shawnigan Green Party types brought up their Oak Bay based leader Andrew Weaver who took soil sample samples and then very publicly reported that his samples were found not to be polluted  and did not pose a threat to Shawnigan residents.

This was a comfort to SIA who ridiculed Weaver for his unprofessional approach that was hardly of assistance to those fighting to protect Shawinigan’s water.

In Shawnigan the issue is and has always been a question of land use authority and jurisdiction. The BC Supreme court ruled that this is in fact the domain of the Cowichan Valley Regional Distict.

Former CVRD Director Bruce Fraser

Former CVRD Director Bruce Fraser

The bitter irony is that they did not just win that jurisdiction, they always had it, but under the past Director Bruce Fraser and the past ‘BC Liberal Friendlies’ that dominated the CVRD Board chaired by Rob Hutchins they refused to act to protect their residents, the watershed, the lake, the creek and the souce of drinking water for over 12000 residents.

Truth is that then Director Bruce Fraser and past BC Liberal candidate Rob Hutchins met early on with SIA’s Mike Kelly and Marty Block at a private meeting in a Mill Bay restaurant. There Hutchins advanced a plan, backed by Fraser, to stall for a year so that the ‘BC Liberal Friendlies’ could soften up the alarmed residents.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 5.07.00 PMHere is a report from a private meeting that was secretly taped by Mr. Kelly and given to Times Colonist reporter Sandra McCulloch.

Millions of dollars later the BC Supreme court decision upheld the CVRD authority over zoning and permitted land use policies has brought this issue back to where it belongs.

It is now back in the lap of our local government that abandoned it for years before they begrudgingly took legal action to confirm what they had turned their back on since spring 2012.

None of this had to happen if the CVRD had simply enforced their now, court confirmed, bylaw authority.

 

Richard 'Hub' Hughes

Richard Hughes

 

Sonia Furstenau’s clarification is most illuminating and welcomed.

It contrasts significantly with the comments from BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.

Director Sonia Furstenau–I feel the need to correct the record.

March 30th/2016

Director Sonia Furstenau

Director Sonia Furstenau

A year ago, on Easter Monday, I, along with Georgia Collins and Blaise Salmon, met with John Horgan and John Heaney in John Horgan’s office to discuss the situation we were facing in Shawnigan. John had kindly agreed to a meeting with us on a holiday.

We spent close to an hour in the meeting, discussing a variety of aspects. Mr Heaney, who has a background in law, provided some insight into both the CVRD zoning case and the judicial review process. Much of our conversation was focused on ways in which the overall process had not served the Shawnigan community, and around our frustration with the Ministry of Environment.

At no time did Mr Horgan say that he could not or would not help, nor did he say that he was concerned about appearing anti-business. And I have not said this about Mr Horgan.

A few weeks later, Elizabeth May and Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi came to Shawnigan Lake. Elizabeth was at that time traveling around the country discussing the dire ramifications of Bill C-51. Fran was launching her federal campaign. Andrew Weaver came for Fran’s launch, and the discussion turned to the situation in Shawnigan – he showed a clear interest, and agreed to come back later in the week for a tour of the perimeter of the SIA site, and to collect water samples.

Soon after Andrew took a tour, John, along with Bill Routley and Gary Holman, came for a tour with about a dozen local residents.

Over the course of the entire year, Andrew Weaver and John Horgan shown solidarity and support for the people of Shawnigan. I am grateful to both John Horgan and Andrew Weaver for all that they have done for Shawnigan over the course of this last year. I know that both of them were motivated by a desire to see the best possible outcome for our community.

Many others in the political realm have shown support and solidarity. Here is an excerpt from a piece I recently posted on my website:

“During the 2013 provincial election campaign, the four Cowichan candidates – Steve Housser, Kerry Davis, Bill Routley, and Damir Wallener all agreed on one thing: that Shawnigan’s watershed is no place for a contaminated soil landfill. Over the past year, NDP MLA Bill Routley has stood shoulder to shoulder with Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver, and been joined by MLAs Doug Routley, Gary Holman and NDP leader John Horgan on Stebbings Rd, all standing in solidarity with the people of Shawnigan Lake. Bill Routley has given 25 (!) speeches in the Legislature on Shawnigan’s fight to protect our water; and both John Horgan and Andrew Weaver have asked several questions during Question Period over the last year, and repeatedly raised the issue in the media.

Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and both past and current MPs, Jean Crowder and Alistair MacGregor, have stood as allies with the people of Shawnigan Lake. During the federal election campaign, Green candidates Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi and Paul Manley, Liberal candidate Maria Manna, and NDP candidate Alistair all showed support and stood in solidarity with the Shawnigan community. Alistair has recently taken his support right to the House of Commons, where he has introduced a private member’s bill that would protect Shawnigan Lake.

These political allies all agreed on one thing – that the protection of a community’s water source is essential, and far more important than politics. The Shawnigan effort to protect our water has not only transcended political lines and political boundaries, it has also been an example for how we can move beyond political divisions and recognize that we can indeed all work together for the greater good.

I am deeply grateful to all who have stood with us, and I hope that we will soon be coming back together for a momentous celebration.”

For the people who have committed their lives over the past year, or the past four years, to this effort, this should be a time of celebration and relief. I have incredible admiration for the Shawnigan community, which has shown extraordinary determination and tenacity. And we have navigated this year with kindness, compassion, respect, and love for our community and for each other.

We have much work to do in Shawnigan, and – as ever – we invite and welcome anyone who would like to help.

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52 comments to BC Greens Looking For A Leg Up Over The Shawnigan ‘Dirty Dirt Fiasco’- BC Liberals Delighted ***Updated***

  • Chloe Beam

    We have some problems here in BC as exemplified in this post, leg up – greens vs ndp.

    We have a liberal/socred extractivist government destroying our natural resources in a hellbent fire sale fury, brandishing the credo jobs, jobs jobs.

    Glaring environmental fiascos abound across the province and still more are in the works, (Mount Polley, Site C, northeast fracking, lng and close to home Steelhead lng and Shawnigan Lake contaminated soil dump.)

    Meanwhile the progressives are divided and taking shots at each other. This is all very worrying because we have an archaic electoral system, (fptpost) which means the Clark government could win another majority in 2017 because of vote splitting.

    I applaud Sonia’s whole hearted gratitude on behalf of our community of Shawnigan Lake, to everyone across the political spectrum, for the help shown in protecting Shawnigan Lake.

    She is setting the right example here.

    Ok, the ndp are confused about not wanting to seem anti business.

    Damien Gillis has it right here, just embrace the new economy of renewables. Ok, the greens are more centrist. Theory at this point is counter progressive.

    We have a major problem globally with climate change. There is hope we can save ourselves from a disastrous future with the signing of emission commitments in Paris of this year.

    BC’s ghg emissions have been going up and will skyrocket if fracking expands and lng plants are built. This is huge. The Paris agreement only works if we all do our bit. We are entering a new era. We are and must transition to renewables.

    In the upcoming provincial election, we should seek out the candidate in each riding who, has commitments to an energy renewable future and who can defeat the fossil extractivist opponent.

    Sometimes that candidate will be ndp and sometimes she/he will be green. Good! Then we will push them, when they get in, to form a coalition to pass proportional representation in this province.

    No referendum this time. When proportional representation is enacted then diversity of political parties is no longer a threat. No vote splitting with fake majorities.

    It is an enrichment of democracy. Lots to do. Let’s work together and move forward.

  • I feel the need to correct the record.

    A year ago, on Easter Monday, I, along with Georgia Collins and Blaise Salmon, met with John Horgan and John Heaney in John Horgan’s office to discuss the situation we were facing in Shawnigan. John had kindly agreed to a meeting with us on a holiday.

    We spent close to an hour in the meeting, discussing a variety of aspects. Mr Heaney, who has a background in law, provided some insight into both the CVRD zoning case and the judicial review process. Much of our conversation was focused on ways in which the overall process had not served the Shawnigan community, and around our frustration with the Ministry of Environment.

    At no time did Mr Horgan say that he could not or would not help, nor did he say that he was concerned about appearing anti-business. And I have not said this about Mr Horgan.

    A few weeks later, Elizabeth May and Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi came to Shawnigan Lake. Elizabeth was at that time traveling around the country discussing the dire ramifications of Bill C-51. Fran was launching her federal campaign. Andrew Weaver came for Fran’s launch, and the discussion turned to the situation in Shawnigan – he showed a clear interest, and agreed to come back later in the week for a tour of the perimeter of the SIA site, and to collect water samples.

    Soon after Andrew took a tour, John, along with Bill Routley and Gary Holman, came for a tour with about a dozen local residents.

    Over the course of the entire year, Andrew Weaver and John Horgan shown solidarity and support for the people of Shawnigan. I am grateful to both John Horgan and Andrew Weaver for all that they have done for Shawnigan over the course of this last year. I know that both of them were motivated by a desire to see the best possible outcome for our community.

    Many others in the political realm have shown support and solidarity. Here is an excerpt from a piece I recently posted on my website:

    “During the 2013 provincial election campaign, the four Cowichan candidates – Steve Housser, Kerry Davis, Bill Routley, and Damir Wallener all agreed on one thing: that Shawnigan’s watershed is no place for a contaminated soil landfill. Over the past year, NDP MLA Bill Routley has stood shoulder to shoulder with Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver, and been joined by MLAs Doug Routley, Gary Holman and NDP leader John Horgan on Stebbings Rd, all standing in solidarity with the people of Shawnigan Lake. Bill Routley has given 25 (!) speeches in the Legislature on Shawnigan’s fight to protect our water; and both John Horgan and Andrew Weaver have asked several questions during Question Period over the last year, and repeatedly raised the issue in the media.

    Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and both past and current MPs, Jean Crowder and Alistair MacGregor, have stood as allies with the people of Shawnigan Lake. During the federal election campaign, Green candidates Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi and Paul Manley, Liberal candidate Maria Manna, and NDP candidate Alistair all showed support and stood in solidarity with the Shawnigan community. Alistair has recently taken his support right to the House of Commons, where he has introduced a private member’s bill that would protect Shawnigan Lake.

    These political allies all agreed on one thing – that the protection of a community’s water source is essential, and far more important than politics. The Shawnigan effort to protect our water has not only transcended political lines and political boundaries, it has also been an example for how we can move beyond political divisions and recognize that we can indeed all work together for the greater good.

    I am deeply grateful to all who have stood with us, and I hope that we will soon be coming back together for a momentous celebration.”

    For the people who have committed their lives over the past year, or the past four years, to this effort, this should be a time of celebration and relief. I have incredible admiration for the Shawnigan community, which has shown extraordinary determination and tenacity. And we have navigated this year with kindness, compassion, respect, and love for our community and for each other.

    We have much work to do in Shawnigan, and – as ever – we invite and welcome anyone who would like to help.

  • Loren Duncan

    As I understand it mining is under the Ministry of Energy & Mines
    authority.(From gold to gravels)
    Processing such materials is Local Government jurisdiction with zoning.(many court cases support LG on this)
    Environmental rules dance above all activities…sort of, depends.
    (That is why many citizens ponder why and how The Ministry of environment has become the enemy of the people so often)
    Mine reclamation is proscribed/mandated, and a good idea if not corrupted by mischievous agendas, bureaucrats and people.
    And then there is the Provincial contaminated soils legislation,
    specifically prohibiting local government from making any Bylaws
    which infringe on this clearly defined Provincial jurisdiction.
    Has this Provincial prohibition against Local Government Bylaws
    in regards to contaminated soils and materials changed recently?
    Has the SIA court case changed anything, or has it simply skated
    around or closely by the Provincial domain, and authority.
    Lucky for us?
    My point is that the CVRD may not be able to easily, and effective, make such proposed Dirty-Dirt regulatory Bylaws in that they affect proscribed, and legislative Provincial jurisdictional territory,and legally need to be sent to the Province for vetting, and may, or may not be allowed to legally get fourth reading at the local government level.
    I could be confused here? Perhaps things have changed…somehow.
    Please explain in regards, if you know this affair in detail.
    What are the boundaries around proscribing regulatory mechanisms for Dirty-Dirt at local government levels?
    The problem may be that in most cases the authority and responsibility for Dirty-Dirt matters resides Provincially most often and occasionally Federally, but seldom if at all at the local Government level.
    The Local Government will may be quite strong, but the authority is weak or non-existent.
    And if not, then how not?

    • Gord hall

      The cvrd neglected to enforce it’s bylaw until now. Plain and simple.do not look for tough environmental legislation within the not so ivory towers of the provincial legislature. Remember, this is a province borne from clear-cut logging and commercial fishing.

      If you want to access strong environmental legislation seek the truth in the federal government. Harper may have watered down the Fisheries act but it’s still a stiffer drink than the smoothie environment al legislation ordered from the province.

  • matt wellington

    The dysfunction of senior staff and naive directors led us to dirty dirt.

    the dysfunction of the current CAO and land use manager is leading us to LNG (dirty water)

    Blackwell is over his head and probably in hot water with the planning institute ( a semi professional organization unlike a professional geologist or biologist)

    We need to rid ourselves of these senior staffers.

  • Loren Duncan

    Now for a second post on a closely related matter.
    Just like dirty politics, Dirty-Dirt exists out there.
    Should it simply stay within the jurisdictions where it was created? The dirt that is.
    Are there better and safer sites elsewhere? For treatment and containment?
    How do you make a receiving community not feel like a dumping ground?
    Are there better places and methodology than simply finding gravel pits and rock quarries wherever, randomly, and calling them opportunity knocking?
    I think so. Dirty-Dirt in all it’s manifestations is still a problem looking for, if not better said begging for a solution.
    A big problem.
    Professional environment consultants trained in matters of Dirty-Dirt are trusted even less, well actually a lot less than the politicians, and Ministries generally involved is such maters. The perception being the reality.
    And for good cause and reasons, history and track records a
    given.
    How about Industry and Business itself? How about the dozens of illegal dirty-dirt dump sites stewan across the landscape
    with unknown contents? Who put them there? Who hired bandits to simply truck stuff away? Away where? Tough to find clean hands in the Dirty-Dirt business.
    The Provincial Ministers and Ministries that enabled the illegal sites, through blind eyes, still have dirty-dirt showing under there bureaucratic fingernails…tough stuff to clean up…

    Soooo…here’s my point, the dirty-dirt, or contaminated soil disposal problems remain, a solution needed, desperately.
    Politicians at all levels have at it, show us your stuff, your wisdom, your leadership. Find the right site(s), the right site operators, the right regulatory regime. The right solution(s). Not more self inflicted problems.
    Is anyone up to this challenge?

    • The provincial regulatory regime driven by bureaucrats obedient to the government of the days direction can only play when the local elected political bodies, in this case the CVRD fail to enact their own protective bylaws as was the case with the SIA contaminated dump in the Shawnigan watershed.

      This could have and should have been the case but the CVRD failed to tell the SIA crew and the province that this was in contravention with the CVRD’s bylaw authority and would not be allowed. Four years later the neglected bylaw was upheld in the BC Supreme Court. Four years of turmoil and cost lands at the feet of the CVRD first and the province second.

      The larger challenge is to be careful with the products that we produce and have strong regulatory guidelines in place to dispose ot the byproducts where they are produced. That should be factored into the costs of production. If that increases the cost beyond profitability then it should not be proced in the first place.

    • gord hutchinson

      The Earth currently cannot afford the human species that are overpopulating this world. We have been here for a very short while.
      Europeans invaded north America disrupting the Balance that First Nations had with their natural environment.

  • Loren Duncan

    Party politics is not what brought the SIA fiasco to the present reality.
    About ~80% of the credit goes to the local community organizing against the debacle.
    Maybe about ~17% rightfully goes to Sonia Furstenau and her
    firm guidance at and away from the CVRD Board table.
    The remainder? The remaining stakes being so small the fight over it all will certainly be the most vicious.(see above comments)
    What still needs some explanations, some atonement is what exactly past Director Bruce Fraser and CVRD Chair Rob Hutchins were actually up to?
    Did things just go horribly wrong for them? Or otherwise?
    Was the initial strategy and following tactic of collaboration with the Provincial Liberals just completely wrong headed? Or did the collaboration include the SIA principals as well?
    What exactly were the objectives of the coffee shop settings
    for CVRD/SIA meetings?
    And I say that with a CVRD Directors mandate at the time, but
    as much as an outsider as could be made of me.
    Soooo…anyway, the other CVRD Dirty-Dirt landfill at the Evans site on Koksilah Rd. which predates SIA and was the, and still is the first Provincial licensed contaminated soil dump is more than enough territory for the Federal and Provincial party politicians and hanger on types to fight over going forward.
    Go getem tigers…show us your stuff.

    • I agree it was not party politics that brought us the SIA fiasco. It was CVRD dithering and incompetence. The bylaw that was in place and recently upheld by the BC Supreme was shunned by the CVRD controllers. Why?

      The bylaw is what stopped it and the residents standing up was also an important, but not decisive factor.

      As far as the private meeting in the coffee shop with Chair Rob Hutchins and Directors Fraser, Walker, Planning GM Tom Anderson and SIA reps Mike Kelly and Marty Block goes the Times Colonist article by Sandra McCulloch revealed that Hutchins and Fraser were happy enough with the proposition but concerned that the residents were up in arms and wanted SIA to back off for a year so that they could manage down the riff raff’s emotional response to 5 million tonnes of contaminated soil being dumped into their watershed.

      As far as the Evans pit being used that is insane as well. I take it that the zoning was not on your side but everything else pointed to the reckless nature of such a decision.

      Here is the report from a private meeting that was secretly taped by Mr. Kelly and given to Times Colonist reporter Sandra McCulloch.

      http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/potential-shawnigan-lake-soil-solution-caught-in-a-quagmire-1.864455

  • Patrick Swan

    When Andrew Weaver decided to take samples at the site it was deemed to be a political move as opposed to a scientific act of investigation.

    His findings found no deleterious substances emanating from the site.

    Water sampling must follow strict protocols and trained professionals carry out these investigative sampling events.

    There are many people on staff at the CVRd who have the ability to take such samples but unfortunately senior staff did not direct them to do so.

    A sampling protocol for this type of site requires more than just a days work. It must be done over time, under the same conditions with photographic evidence, as if you are investigation a Fisheries Act infraction.

  • Carl schmidt

    Any decisions that impact the entire region, not just one area must be argued before the board. These meetings were undemocratic and did not follow due process.

    Roll ahead to present, when we heard Blackwell and Caruthers met with directors outside the board meeting, to discuss the ramifications of a unanimous vote against lng.

    Directors should have told staff, if they had an issue, put it in a report so the board can review it together.

    Many of us remain concerned that these staffers are circumventing the Democratic process in favour of an lng proposal.

    If we continue to deal with the legacy of shawnigan fiasco, then we can expect, under the current management, that more undemocratic conversations and results will continue.

  • Bob walker

    It is apparent that the elite have a predisposition to vote green. It’s a recreational votevof sorts that gives them bragging rights at dinner partys and coffee shops. They are a one issue party that glazes past the social and economic issues in a holy grail search for the elusive environmental formula that they believe will solve economic and social issues as a result.

    As far as the shawnigan lake fiasco, well, this is in the hands of the cao and the land use manager.

  • Bob walker

    Unfortunately the Greens will continue to split the vote until we adopt proportional representation. That’s a fact.

  • Astro

    The most enlightened policy of the environment came from the BC NDP. Here is the site:

    https://www.bcndp.ca/sustainablebc

  • Lavonne Huneck

    Dr. Weaver: Marilyn Venturi said it. We enact laws. We elect people to do our public business. Once elected, we expect our representatives to follow those laws. Regional Districts are authorized by the PROVINCE WIDE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT to control LAND USE. This has been proven in court. I am sick of cheap excuses by elected officials who are unable to interpret the law and/or hire competent people who are smart enough to do this for them. You are spending tax dollars taken from people who have trouble paying their day-to-day expenses. Shame on all of you.

    • May squires

      Seems to me that the next round of hires, which I hear will be occurring very soon, should be done through an executive search . I believe they hastily hired these fellows without a proper vetting process.

  • Hello Richard, I cannot control what the Liberals or NDP do but I can control what I do. Let me be very clear, I had no intention of getting involved in the Shawnigan Lake issue initially despite the fact that a number of my constituents contacted me about it as they had property there. I only got involved when Sonia Fursteneau called me out of desperation.

    She had met with Spencer Chandra-Hebert, John Horgan and John Heaney (Horgan’s Chief of Staff at the time) pleading for them to get involved. They told her they couldn’t and wouldn’t as they did not want to be viewed as anti-business.

    Let me repeat that. The Leader of the Official Opposition an their Environment Critic did not want to get involved as they didn’t want to be perceived as anti-business.

    When Sonia phoned me I told her that I would walk around the site to get a sense of what the issues were. I was the first provincial politician to actually do this! I took the opportunity to collect some water samples. You can read about it here. http://www.andrewweavermla.ca/2015/04/18/shawnigan-watershed/

    Throughout this Bill Routley and I worked closely. I wanted to keep him a abreast of everything I did.

    Only after my April 18th piece appeared on the web did John Horgan suddenly show any interest. He saw the fact that I got a lot of media attention and so quickly arranged a tour of the area.

    Shawnigan Lake residents shortly thereafter (May 14) held a rally on the lawn of the legislature. I was asked, but declined, an invitation to speak as I felt it was important for the residents to be heard and for me, as a legislator, to be there to listen to their concerns. John Horgan chose to speak.

    I have worked tirelessly behind the scene on this file for months. I attended a number of the court sessions as a spectator (didn’t see Horgan there). I have met with ministry staff to discuss water, sediment and soil samples.

    The difference between the BC Greens and the BC NDP is very clear. We are principled, we take action on issues that are important not because we might get a media hit from it, and we put people first.

    The behaviour of John Horgan and the BC NDP (Bill Routley excluded as he has been a champion of this all along but unfortunately was not given the profile) initially on this file convinced me that they are simply incapable of governing. Their behaviour was really not that dissimilar from what we have come to expect from the BC liberals. It was all about sound bites and spin and not about getting involved because it was the right thing to do.

    The outline of events above is factual. It is a bit rich for you to claim that he BC Greens are trying to take credit for something. I never have and I never will. To be absolutely blunt, the only folk who deserve any credit are remarkable community of Shawnigan residents.

    Let’s also be clear. It isn’t over yet. The recent decision has been appealed (although it’s hard to appeal the facts). Cabinet could also step in and over ride the CVRD on the land decision. And the judicial review decision will be forthcoming soon.

    Andrew Weaver
    MLA, Oak Bay Gordon Head
    Leader, BC Green Party

    • Kevin Logan

      Ok so the critique on Horgan is that he did not take the bait from the local greens and as a politician at an event he spoke up on the issue? That is supposed to be enough to render him unfit to govern?

      Horgan and Routley led the charge in the house and supported the activism that resulted in the court case that succeeded in ending the threat and winning the day. As was clearly outlined at this blog – much of which occurred in real time as the issue unfolded.

      Everyone appreciates support and broad recognition on such fundamental issues as drinking water, but quite contrary to your claims Andrew the NDP is who drove the issue since its inception in 2012 right through to the end.

      Also contrary to your claims it is indeed the end. No more soil is permitted to be dumped as the local zoning has been upheld. Strawmen such as the threat of an OIC overruling the court in this instance is utter hogwash.

      And while an appeal has been filed it is simply a desperate legal maneuver at the eleventh hour designed to bolster the notion of potential compensation over the debacle.

      Its a win win win, the contaminated soil threat is over, the guys up there can still have jobs as they run the other aspects of their operation and the good folks of Shawnigan can celebrate the coming together of their community to defend their water and in so doing registering a precedent setting win.

    • Dara Quast

      Andrew Weaver, it is commendable that you and Bill Routley worked together. It is also nice that you acknowledge that you are late to the game and Bill has been supporting his constituents from day one.

      Bill worked tirelessly to forward the now proven position that the contaminated soil issue was the pervue of the local government. He even went so far as to host an informational meeting on the issue for Directors, including Director Fursteneau.

      When Director Fursteneau contacted you why did you not explain to her the position that the local government had to take? Minister Lake, Minister Polak, John Horgan, Bill Routley, and countless community members had been saying it for years. Instead you decided to go for a walk about the property and take soil samples.

      You could have helped her and the people of Shawnigan if you had used your knowledge and influence to assist her in understanding her role as an Area Director and explained how the legislation worked.

      • Marilyn Venturi

        Touché! Reminds me of the saying “can’t see the forest for the trees”, only in this case it was not being able to see the tree for the forest. The solution was in the details and the tree was the land use bylaw.

    • Hello Andrew,

      Thanks for taking the time to respond.

      Onward

      Richard

    • Keith A. Williams

      Andrew Weaver; thank you for your version of clarifying things a bit. I am sorry that you felt the need to take the bait dangling on this NDP-saturated blog. The NDP supporters here are fighting over the SIA political spoils like crows at the dump. As a Green Party supporter, i really hope that you and other Green leaders can stay above this nonsense. Many of the NDP supporters are still frustrated over the federal crash, and are simply trying to bait Greens into some pre-election softening up. I think Rafe Mair’s interesting piece on the potential of Ms May focusing on a provincial Green strategy has set off panic in the NDP crowd, and they are swinging wildly right now. Green supporters; i humbly suggest that we just keep our composure, and let that other party continue to self-destruct.

      • Dara Quast

        Keith I do not appreciate your crow reference. You will find it impossible to impeach my statements about this legal victory and I can assure you that this was forwarded by NDP members, supported by the NDP MLA and confirmed by the NDP Leader from day one.

        No New Democrat needs to “fight over political spoils”. There are however some Green and Liberal affiliated Area Directors who have some explaining to do.

        What you see as crows fighting over spoils at a dump could be better attributed to the horror of the hypocrisy that we are now witnessing from your Green brothers and sisters.

      • I agree Keith, there is a revisionist history happening on this thread. I just felt it was important to correct the record. I was appalled and frankly disgusted that the Leader of the Official Opposition and their Environment Critic did not want to get involved as they didn’t want to be perceived as anti-business. To see the NDP clamber for some sort of credit for all the hard work of the Shawnigan residents is positively shameful.

        I think you nailed it. The BC NDP probably just got back the same polling information as we did and are in spiral panic mode. They are finished in British Columbia. If they couldn’t win in 2013, they haven’t got a hope in 2017. And they know this.

        They are several million dollars in debt; they have no new ideas; their track record this session is pretty shameful; and it’s the same gang from the 1990s running the show. As my friend, colleague and deputy leader of the BC Green Party Matt Toner said, the BC NDP are 1990s politicians worrying about 1960s problems. He should know, he ran for them in Vancouver False Creek in 2013.

        The upcoming Saskatchewan and Manitoba elections will almost certainly be bad news for the NDP. I honestly feel for Rachael Notley. I think she is doing a fine job. But the sad reality is that the BC NDP, the Alberta NDP, the Federal NDP, the Saskatchewan NDP and the Manitoba NDP are all one party. There is only one NDP. If you’re a member provincially you are also federally etc. That is not the case for the Federal and Provincial Greens. We are separate political entities (like cousins) much like the Federal Liberal are our cousins too (Today’s BC Liberals are nothing more than Yesterday’s Harper Tories).

        Finally, The BC Greens do not split the vote. We are the vote. We are the only centrist option in BC. The only way to ensure the BC Liberals don’t form yet another majority government is to support the BC Green Party.

        Too often British Columbians vote for the BC Liberals not because they like what they stand for, but rather because they dislike what the BC NDP stand for. Too often British Columbians vote for the BC NDP not because they like what they stand for, but rather because they dislike what the BC Liberals stand for. Too often British Columbians don’t vote at all as they dislike the dichotomy of dysfunction embodied in the BC Liberal/BC NDP narrative.

        The BC Greens will offer British Columbians candidates, ideas and policy that they can vote for, instead of vote against. It’s time for us to create a third viable option.

        And the biggest demographic of voter is the non voter — the BC Greens are a real choice for them as we offer real leadership and a real vision.

        There’s a reason why the three highest voter turnouts in BC in 2013 were the following:

        1) Oak Bay Gordon Head —> 70%
        2) Saanich North & Islands –> 69%
        3) Delta South –> 68%

        People came out to vote for a third option (me, Adam Olsen, Vicki Huntington). So don’t be fooled for a second by this ‘vote split’ narrative. It didn’t work so well for Mulcair either.

        • Well look at this the ‘Easter Bunny’ came early this year This really is special. I think that I will go watch Wolf Blitzer explain how Hillary was the really big winner in Washington and Alaska now. Feel the BERN! LOL!

        • Kevin Logan

          Andrew,

          The only polling you share is in the backrooms with the BC Liberals to decide which ridings your party will focus on in a bid to split the vote to ensure the BC Liberal Grip on power.

          Your support and stumping for the BC Liberals goes back a long time. Listen to Andrew Weaver robo calling in support of Gordon Campbell here.

          As Michael Smyth points out, you’re simply a BC Liberal lap dog with a green blazer who has never stopped supporting them since the robo call days of Gordon Campbell.

          And if you are not spinning yarns to split the vote in key ridings such as ours, you run around putting out fires for BC Liberals, as evidenced in the damage control you did in the Liberal riding after Mt Polley occurred. Which was a sharp contrast to your activism in our riding Andrew and many people have noticed that.

          That said I do agree the NDP is hurting Federally and the BC and federal parties are somewhat attached – however they differ when you read the preambles of the parties. Moreover the BC NDP is not affiliated with the other Provincial parties as you claim and is well positioned to replace the current government according to all the polls (with the exception of that one you and the Liberals are building your strategy on.)

          The Federal NDP crashed and burned as you and Keith point out, and I stated on this blog during the election and well before that it would happen that way. Why it happened that way is important for you to know Andrew. Mulcair collapsed the NDP because he is a right leaning, green-washing, Thatcher praising opportunist who shred the principles of his party in the service of power.

          Precisely your political path, and no polling you and the Liberals pour over will help you avoid the same outcome.

          I do not expect you will spend 100k more than other leaders in the coming race, as Elizabeth did, however I do expect you will see the same results as her. But that is ok with you I am sure, as long as the BC Liberals stay in power and you have your cushy green perch to chirp from.

  • Patricl swayze

    Well, they are appealing and they are looking for a stay so dont throw away the cork. Its going to cost the taxcpayer alot more before this is done.

    • Unfortunately the dysfunctional has become the norm. Politicians need to learn the ropes and the issues before they even run for office, as much as is possible. In far too many cases the elected officials arrive knowing very damn little about the office they won in the election. This is when the senior staff can and do often move in and teach them their ropes. We have seen how that works out.

      • Pat Jung

        If senior staff continue to advise them this way, they will soon become obsolete . Many people are wishing for the next election.

  • Carl schmidt

    When an moe minister personally visits staff and directors, one has to wonder. The cvrd lacks accountability and transpareny and the charade continues. We should not be duped again. Time for some resignations

  • Marilyn Venturi

    Yes – none of this had to happen if the CVRD (by vote of its directors) had simply enforced its bylaw authority. I don’t care whether a director is an NDP, Liberal, Conservative, Green, Marxist-Leninist or any other supporter. I’ll admire anyone committed to doing the right thing. But it’s not just a matter of good intentions (or lack thereof, given the secretly taped private meeting), it’s a matter of knowing how. What stopped them back in 2012 and 2013?

  • Keith A. Williams

    Wow, Richard, your disillusionment hiatus from the NDP was very very brief indeed. Or was that just a federal-level break? Seems like maybe you are laying the foundation for an “if you vote Green you are voting for Christy Clark” strong-arm style campaign soon? A provincially remodeled version of the Green vote equals a Harper vote push that was so misguided and offensive? Seriously?

    • So where do you agree or disagee with the post Keith?

      • Pat shleke

        I think the Onbusman needs to be involved with the lng scenario.

      • Keith A. Williams

        Well, Richard, your question to me is a big one, with many doors of debate and discussion opened. To try and simplify a little: First; i have not seen Greens really trying to steal credit for the SIA shutdown. I think you are just pumping that one up as an awkward way of introducing the inevitable ‘don’t vote Green or you are voting for Christy’ that you and i both know is coming. Second; i think that any truly unbiased performance review of Crowder/Routley/(i guarantee zero improvement with)McGregor, speaks for itself in terms of rendering your whole post/agenda just misguided, and wrong. My own union inundates me with NDP propaganda, and i have asked them in what i promise you are no uncertain terms, to stop it. I would rather spend my vote and pin my hopes on a person and party who is not grotesquely indebted. If you or anyone else still wants to settle for least-worst, ok, i get it. But can you not at least let your least-worst party stand on its own merit? It seems not.

        • I never said that the Greens were trying to steal the election. Keith I love the outdoors, but do not beat around the bush. Did you read the column from well known unabashed ‘Liberal Friendly’ columnist Michael Smyth?

          As far as your Crowder/Routley bashing and your guarantee of zero improvement for Alistair McGregor it reminds that sometimes you really don’t realize how intelligent someone is until you read their writing.

          • Keith A. Williams

            Richard, i am happy now. Finally, in the last half of the last sentence of your last reply, there is a statement that i totally agree with…generally speaking of course. Thank you for that confession. Also, sincerely, have a nice Easter weekend.

      • Marilyn Venturi

        This is your blog and your article, Richard, so you are free to express your biases. I’m quite happy to see Liberal-bashing because I believe that they are happily taking huge risks with our environment while putting all their eggs in non-renewable resource extraction revenue sources, mostly for foreign interests. I’m not happy to see Green-bashing introduced into the contaminated soil issue. It feels like a preamble to the tone of the upcoming provincial election campaign. The Federal NDP campaign on Vancouver Island was very successful, quite possibly because of the “a vote for the Greens is a Vote for Harper” mantra, but it didn’t help the party nationally. For me, the ends don’t justify the means. Call me naive, but I find this kind of political manipulation undemocratic. I was definitely not impressed that I was told by a campaign worker over the phone that Andrew Weaver is a Nobel Peach Prize winner when it was the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that won (shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore) and Dr. Weaver was just one of hundreds of scientists who contributed to the panel. None-the-less, he is a respected scientist with a passion for the environment. We need more of those, regardless of political party affiliation.

        • Marilyn, yes it is my blog and as such I am free to expresses my biases. That alone is quite limited on its own. It is the interesting and valuable comments that make it informative and sometimes even combative. That is where readers can express their views and biases. That includes poking me in the umm eye. Thank you for sharing views.

          When it works then it is a Cowichan Conversation.

  • Lavonne Huneck

    Thanks to Dara, our unpaid, generous one-person researcher who got it right from the beginning. Shame on the people we elected to do our business.

    Unless we intend to do this on another issue, yet again, we need answers, we need accountability and we need immediate action.

    1. Why did the CVRD file a law suit (Reg 133547) and then hold it in abeyance from October 2013 to June 2015? Who made this decision? When? Who approved reactivating the law suit? What did this cost the taxpayer?

    2. Why, and on what date, did the Ministry of Environment issue the permit that was in contravention of the Local Government Act and who approved it? How many tons of contaminated soil were deposited between October 2013 and March 2016?

    3. Why, meantime, did CVRD give Shawnigan Ratepayers Association $400 to help with their failed lawsuit when the CVRD had the authority to stop the deposition of contaminated soil?

    4. Are we now expected to use our property taxes or privately raised funds to hire our own lawyers to ensure various enactments and authorities given to us, by law, are respected by the various levels of our government? Is this the new normal?

    • Kevin Logan

      Well said.

    • Marilyn Venturi

      Well said indeed. I look forward to the answers to those four questions. Please forward them to the CAO.

      • deidre Matheson

        Unfortunatley the CAO is probably trying to decide how to dig himself out of this mess he finds himself in. he can either blame his land use manager as a scapegoat or they both will go down with the ship.
        Either way, the electorate is not pleased with their meddling into the political arena.

        Mistakes happen and most can be forgiven but when due process is shifted in favor of LNG we should be concerned. Thats the perception, right or wrong.

        The OCP is incredibly clear on how we deal with LNG.

        The unanimous vote was clear.

        That should have been the end of it and we could have avoided all of this controversy. Instead the electorate finds itself in another battle with the process, or lack thereof.

    • Patrick Swan

      Its one controversy after the next.

      The residents in this region are not politically static. They are intelligent and deserve an intelligent senior staff. The directors need to understand their role to the electorate, first and foremost-to do otherwise is to ignore us.

      Two things need to happen here- senior staff need to humbly step down from the political arena and; Directors need to think on their own or as a collective.

      I am utterly shocked by the back peddling exhibited by some directors after their unanimous vote. After reading some of the comments here it looks like senior staff met with some of them individually to warn them of their actions. If this is true, then staff need to be reprimanded by the Chair and other directors.

      If staff had an issue with this they should have drafted a staff report outlining their concerns rather than holding individual meetings. It turned out very badly for them and for the electorate.

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