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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 Release

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.


Media Contact

Mat Wright
Press Secretary – Andrew Weaver MLA
Cell: 250 216 3382
Twitter: @MatVic

Parliament Buildings
Room 027C
Victoria BC V8V 1X4


  1. Larry Woodruff-
    February 16, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Who was the original owner of lot 21? Why did it secretly revert to the Province? Was this the lot owned by the CVRD? Was this what this is all about?
    If it is not CVRD land reverted to the province then what happened regarding this dump putting contaminated fill on the CVRD lot and what was the outcome of that? Has the CVRD forced cleanup of municipal land?

  2. Deric Soohochoff-
    February 15, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks Andrew for taking the concerns of the public serious. Great job.

  3. Patricia Creighton-
    February 15, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    As a scientist, you should be able to explain to the good people of Shawnigan Lake that the algae in the water are purifying the water and what they are seeing is a good healthy sign of a working environment. http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110406/full/news.2011.216.html

    • February 15, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      Hi Patricia, I agree that algae are important for cleaning the water. Obviously with the caveat that over phosphate/nitrate fertilization from agricultural runoff can be a big problem. What the Shawnigan Lake residents are worried about is more the heavy metal/hydrocarbon content in the runoff from Lot 21 and the Sulphur/Sodium runoff from Lot 23.

      • Patricia Creighton-
        February 15, 2016 at 7:54 pm

        But those chemicals, (sulphur and sodium), bare no relationship to the photo. Why provide your constituents with misinformation?

        • February 15, 2016 at 8:50 pm

          Patricia, as I mentioned in my comment, the sulphur/sodium were from samples taken from the water leaving lot 23 (which contains the contaminated soil facility). The orange fluid is leaving lot 21. It is Lot 21 we are concerned about so the picture is 100% accurate. Lot 21 is the one that had title defer to the crown. Perhaps you would like to brush up on what the issue is by reading my blog posts on the topic. Please type “Shawnigan Lake” in the search bar. Algae are not the issue.

        • Felix-
          November 4, 2016 at 8:50 pm

          Pat, why is it that you seem to be so reactive and angry on many of your posts? You insult people yet you don’t apparently have any formal education in science. Instead of offering the world your opinion and then when more knowledgeable people correct you, and you melt down into a tantrum, why not just take a pass. Get help. Seriously, it’s that obvious.

  4. Kevin Parrett-
    February 15, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Personally I would like to see the CVRD do the testing, as myself and I’m sure anyone following this issue has zero trust for the MOE with their dismal track record. I would also hope there would be some metal detection done before the drilling takes place, and that several test holes would be drilled. I am also curious if the previous owners would be held responsible for their illegal dumping or would this now be the taxpayers problem?
    Thank you for your continued support for Shawnigan Lake Mr. Weaver.