On the day the judicial review of the process that led to the permitting of a contaminated soil facility in the Shawnigan Lake watershed begins, a new twist has occurred. In what has become the next chapter of the never ending saga, new information now reveals that as of February 5th, the Crown is now the new owner of Lot 21, c/o the surveyor of taxes.
Recall that back in April of last year, when I first wrote about this issue, I highlighted some concerns regarding what could have been buried upstream of the orange runoff that I took water samples of. My concern was amplified when I tested the metal content in the sediments underlying the orange water in July, 2015.
After examining the elemental sediment analysis, I was left with a number of serious concerns. The enriched metal values in the sediments under the runoff suggested that their source came from somewhere upstream and likely within Lot 21 itself. The question I was left with was this:
What, if anything, has been buried on Lot 21 that could produce the Thorium, Lead and other heavy metal enrichment in the sediments?
In subsequent discussions with the Ministry, I asked if they would consider drilling Lot 21 to determine what is buried beneath the surface. Doing so would put an end to speculation circulating in a prevalence of anecdotal stories. It would also allow the above question to be answered directly.
One of the reasons I was given that the government could not do this was that it was private land. Well now that is no longer the case. So the question is this:.
Will the BC Government drill Lot 21 to determine what, if anything, has been buried there?
The government has now simply run out of excuses for not doing so.
Media Statement February 15, 2016
No excuses left: Lot 21 title change means Government must investigate Shawnigan site
For immediate release
Victoria B.C. – The recent news that the title for Lot 21 near Shawnigan Lake, next to the disputed contaminated soil dump site, has reverted from 0782484 BC Ltd. to the Crown means that the government no longer has any excuses to prevent it from thoroughly investigating the property.
Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay Gordon Head and Leader of the B.C. Green Party, is calling on the Ministry of Environment to drill to bedrock to determine what, if anything, has been buried on Lot 21 that could produce previously observed heavy metal enrichment in the sediments below runoff from this site?
The government has previously argued that drilling was not possible as the site was private property. Now that Lot 21 has returned to the Crown, Andrew Weaver is calling for drilling to ensure residents, local and provincial governments and First Nations know what is buried in the site. Doing so would put an end to speculation circulating in a prevalence of anecdotal stories. It would also allow the above question to be answered directly.
“The fact that Lot 21 has reverted to Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of British Columbia c/o Surveyor of Taxes means that the government now has no legal or legislative obstacle to thoroughly investigate what may be buried on that property. They own it. There is no excuse, the government should begin inspection drilling immediately.” says Andrew Weaver.
Press Secretary – Andrew Weaver MLA
Cell: 250 216 3382
Victoria BC V8V 1X4