Soil dumping 'not sitting well' in Cowichan Valley
Oct 03 2012
The chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District is pressuring the province to make "tangible progress" on issues surrounding the importation of contaminated soil into the Cowichan Valley.
The province's decision to approve the relocation of 1,450 truckloads of soil from CFB Esquimalt to the Cowichan Valley "is not sitting well with the community," said CVRD board chairman Rob Hutchins in a statement.
The soil is being delivered to a governmentapproved site adjacent to the Koksilah River and Kelvin Creek.
Hutchins and others met with Environment Minister Terry Lake last week behind closed doors to discuss the issue. It was the second meeting on the subject of contaminated soil in recent months. An earlier meeting dealt with the illegal transfer of soil into the region, a problem Lake asked staff to work on.
Last week's gettogether didn't produce the progress Cowichan residents are looking for, Hutchins said.
"It is becoming increasingly important that we demonstrate to our residents that we are having some success in this collaborative approach," he said.
The soil transfer is also not sitting well with Cowichan Tribes, said Chief Harvey Alphonse. The dump site is within a few hundred metres of several individual and community wells, he said.
"The livelihoods of our members are intimately tied to the health of the Koksilah and Cowichan rivers," he said in the statement.
Hutchins is asking the province to investigate what toxins are in a dozen sites where contaminated soil has been illegally dumped, to carry out spot checks on trucks to determine the soil's content and destination and to monitor Shawnigan Creek for industrial pollution.
A statement from the Environment Ministry said staff would continue to work with the CVRD to follow up on commitments made earlier this year.
Lake plans to travel to see the sites first-hand.