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Still Confused-CVRD Says No to Federal Minister over Contaminated Soil

Richard Hub Hughes-Political Blogger

A curious and confusing ‘Strong Letter’ has been sent by CVRD Chair Rob Hutchins to the Hon.Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services regarding yet more contaminated soil looking for a home in the Cowichan Valley.

The Minister may be somewhat interested but the jurisdiction is provincial and generally the work is put out to tender.

Even more curious is the lack of meat on the bones of the CVRD opposition to the dumping of contaminated soils.

The CVRD has a bylaw that has been shelved for reasons that are hard to imagine. This is especially the case when the Environment Ministry is almost begging the CVRD to exercise their authority over land use in the Valley.

Administrator CAO Warren Jones writes to various groups saying that the CVRD has no jurisdiction and it is up to the province. There is something terribly askew with that argument. The CVRD owes it to the resident taxpayers to come clean quit stalling and tell us exactly why they have failed to enact bylaws to protect residents from the threats posed by contaminated soil.

Game of Chicken

Is the CVRD engaging in a game of chicken with the province? Why haven’t they enacted a new bylaw if they for reasons unknown unwilling to enforce or at least advance the existing bylaw? The slow bicycle race continues and that is most puzzling indeed.

With all the spin about protecting the watersheds we have seen absolutely nothing from the CVRD that would in fact do that very thing?

Why is this? Don”t they get it? Do they want the province to grant permission in absence of land use bylaws prohibiting such activity? It is strange behaviour at best.

CVRD Chair Rob Hutchins

CVRD Chair Rob Hutchins has written a clear “Not in our backyard” letter to the federal

government over plans to remove and treat almost 150,000 cubic metres of contaminated

materials that will be dredged from waters below the Esquimalt Graving Dock at CFB Esquimalt.

The letter to Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada Rona Ambrose said:

“The CVRD Board is strongly opposed to the relocation of any further contaminated soil to lands

within domestic water supply watersheds within the Cowichan Valley. We ask for your

assistance in ensuring that contaminated soils coming from the Esquimalt Graving Dock project

do not become destined for the Cowichan Valley.”

The project is part of a $44-million project to dredge up and remove decade’s worth of

contaminated sediment at Esquimalt Graving Dock. Work includes dredging 149,630 cubic

metres of contaminated material to be disposed of at a permitted land-based disposal facility.

“…the Cowichan Valley has found itself increasingly becoming a dumping ground for soils

emanating from Southern Vancouver Island,” Hutchins wrote in the letter. “Our citizens are

growing tired and frustrated with the thousands of truckloads per year of contaminated and

other soils coming over the Malahat to be dumped in the Cowichan Valley.”

A copy of the letter has also gone to Rear Admiral Bill Truelove, Maritime Forces Pacific, CFB

Esquimalt, officer in charge. Esquimalt personnel are in the process of tendering the work of

sediment removal and treatment.

- 30 -

For Further Information Contact:

Tom Anderson, General Manager

Planning & Development Department, CVRD
250 746 2601

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