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The Halalt First Nation Sue Crofton’s Catalyst Pulp Mill For 2 Billion Dollars For Polluting Their Land And Water

Don MarocRichard Hughes

By Don Maroc and Richard Hughes

The Halalt First Nation has had enough of the Crofton pulp and paper mill polluting their land and water, damaging their fisheries.

The Mill has knowingly polluted the environment, especially the ocean waters between Crofton and Vesuvius on Salt Spring Island since 1957.

Sure, they filtered, scrubbed and adjusted somewhat when under pressure, but just try and go fishing out there and see how you do.

It is surprising that it has taken this long, but it is an understandable challenge for a small band to take on a huge corporate entity.

They are not alone now and they are moving forward with conviction and purpose. The Halalt lawyers claim the Catalyst Paper mill is trespassing and they want the 59 year old mill permanently shut down, plus $2 billion in cash for accumulated damages.

The Halalt, along with their business partners Sunvault Energy Inc. and Aboriginal Power Corp. are also asking the court for $100 million, plus a permanent order to stop Catalyst from building or operating an anaerobic digester on the Crofton mill’s site.



The legal action may be prompted by the rumours swirling among Bay Street financial circles that Catalyst has put together plans for permanently shutting down the Crofton mill within eighteen months. It may be hard to get blood out of the Crofton stone after it figuratively sinks below the waters of Osbourne Bay.

new-halalt-logo2The Municipality of North Cowichan, which depends on Catalyst for a large chunk of its income from property taxes, is currently conducting public meetings on their 2016 budget and had better make plans for living on a much reduced income.

The North Cowichan Mayor and council members will have to come up with some very creative ideas for reducing expenditures because if they try to raise residential property taxes by 30 or 40 percent to cover the loss of money from Catalyst they’ll have a real live taxpayers’ revolution on their hands.

NorthCowichanLOGOThey will also have to take cost cutting action at the Cowichan Valley Regonal District where North Cowichan taxpayers contribute over 30 percent of the budget.

We’ll see if the politicians have the intestinal fortitude to do what needs to be done.

This is going to be a very significant court case with ramifications far beyond Crofton.


9 comments to The Halalt First Nation Sue Crofton’s Catalyst Pulp Mill For 2 Billion Dollars For Polluting Their Land And Water

  • Pat williams

    “sustainability” is the old and the new buzzword but its a red herring. The true problem is human population growth. As soon as a human is born it takes , consumes and is born into a market economy.

    Governments give us or spoon feed us gifts and promises of an environmentally friendly world. A great promise and it wins votes but corporations have to buy in. the sad reality is tht corporations wont buy in and history continues to show us this fact.

    So get your backyard chickens, hang your clothes on the line and pat yourself on the back knoing that your efforts make you sleep at night but thats as far as your efforts go.

  • half dead

    Make people the industry more people would stay in bc if there was housing seniors have the homes and few years left in them co op living

  • Diana Haenen

    When we look over to Crofton from Salt Spring Island all that we see and smell is this eyesore of a polluting mill belching poisons into the air we breathe and spewing slug and poisons into our otherwise pristine waters. How does this continue to insult and endanger all that lives..humankind,wildlife, oceanlife? Let’s wake up and make the change that is long overdo so our children can inherit a respectful future.

  • Since 1957. Catalyst has owned the mill since… when? Before that who owned it? WFP? and before them? So Catalyst also purchased the ongoing process of polluting the place. What about the leftover tailings/residue from the mining and smelting that continues to contaminate Osbourne Bay?

  • People think short term when it comes to their wallets. Sad.

  • Chris Crowther

    Losing Catalyst Crofton would be a major hit in the short term, but there are major opportunities to build new forest industries that truly respect the land and people.

    Cross laminated timber CLT is widely used in Europe and can replace the need for concrete and steel in mid-rise buildings.

    The jobs lost at Crofton could be replaced by investments in sawmilling and new CLT production lines. Chips and sawdust now consumed by Crofton Catalyst could be processed in to pellets for local use and export.

    Increased local demand for logs could reduce raw log exports.

    Restoring the biodiversity of land and sea through restoration of the Chemainus and Cowichan watersheds would make this region viable for all.

  • Interesting dilemma. “What is the short term cost to taxpayers for saving the environment.”

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