Foes launch suit to block ECO Depot

Shawnigan Lake residents Cliff and Vera Evans affix signs along n Cobble Hill Road, on Saturday June 25, to fight against the location of Eco Depot on Cameron-Taggart Road. - Andrew Leong/file
Shawnigan Lake residents Cliff and Vera Evans affix signs along n Cobble Hill Road, on Saturday June 25, to fight against the location of Eco Depot on Cameron-Taggart Road.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

ECO Depot foes have long maintained the proposed south Cowichan waste transfer operation is illegal.

Now the question will be decided in court.

According to Cameron-Taggart Group member Joseph Gollner, the group filed a lawsuit against the Cowichan Valley Regional District Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court.

Gollner said the suit will prove the CVRD lacks the authority under its own zoning bylaws to proceed with a transfer station at that site.

“We’ve launched this action now. We’ve been trying for over a year to get the CVRD to show us their legal position that says they have the right to override the in-place zoning bylaws on the Cameron-Taggart property they bought,” Gollner said.

The CVRD vs. CT Group dispute focuses on Shawnigan Lake’s bylaw 985. Unlike other area bylaws, waste isn’t included in the Area B utility definition. According to the CT Group, that means the CVRD is not able to use the utility label to justify the depot.

The CVRD has said it has a legal opinion that contradicts that, but refused to make that opinion public.

CT Group members Dara Quast and Cliff Evans dropped off the legal documentation Wednesday at CVRD headquarters.

CVRD Chairwoman Giles Giles confirmed the district has received the writ, but hadn’t had time to read it over.

“The CVRD will be reviewing (it) very carefully and will provide a full response in due time,” she said. The district has 21 days to make a legal response.

The legal action isn’t about suing the CVRD for cash, Gollner said. It’s about forcing the CVRD to pull the plug on the proposal.

“There won’t be any talk about the site itself. It’ll be a straight legality issue.”

The injunction at Supreme Court level is expected to cost the group between $22,000 and $25,000. The plaintiffs are being represented by Victoria firm Cox, Taylor.

“If the court finds the (case) is sound, then the CVRD cannot develop the site until such time as they change their OCP and the next step would that they would have to change all their zoning bylaws,” Gollner said.

“I keep asking myself and others, if the CVRD has the right to proceed, one would have thought the place would have been up and running.”

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