O.K. Industries is looking to build a quarry next to Capital Regional District land, of which an aquifer sits underneath. This map was taken from the 2015 report for the rezoning application. (Photo courtesy District of Highlands)

O.K. Industries is looking to build a quarry next to Capital Regional District land, of which an aquifer sits underneath. This map was taken from the 2015 report for the rezoning application. (Photo courtesy District of Highlands)

Highlands quarry proposal heads back to court

Community association files Notice of Appeal in attempt to block mining on 64-acre site

A citizens group is taking another crack in court at blocking a quarry in Highlands.

The Highlands District Community Association is appealing a B.C. Supreme Court decision in June that cleared the way for a bedrock strip mine on a 64-acre site at the south entrance to Highlands, association chair Scott Richardson said in a release. A provincial mining issue was granted to OK Industries for the project in June.

As it did in June, the association’s Court of Appeal application names B.C.’s attorney general, minister of mines, energy and petroleum resources, the chief inspector of mines and OK Industries.

“The issue is too important and there’s too much at stake for the community to stop fighting the proposed mine site,” Richardson said. “At this point we have no choice but to exhaust all legal avenues to have the mine stopped.”

“By approving the mining permit, the Province has usurped our municipality’s ability to define the kind of community it wants. It’s clear the mining legislation in this province favours big industries and big companies at the expense of neighbourhoods, nearby residents and adjacent communities. It’s time to correct this David and Goliath imbalance.”

The approval of the permit also ”flies in the face” of the world’s climate crisis, Richardson said. “Premier John Horgan boasts about his government’s climate change policies, but he still allows a project of this size in his own constituency to skirt climate change analysis.”

Richardson claims the mine would cause extensive deforestation and degradation of a wetland next to Millstream Creek, and surrounding neighbours and wildlife will be subjected to ongoing noise and dust created by drilling, blasting and large machinery. “Public and wildlife safety will be at risk from increased heavy truck traffic on Millstream Road over the next two decades.”

“Not only will these mining activities negatively impact the quality of life and property values for local residents, the biggest risk of all is the threat to groundwater which Highlands residents rely on,” he said. “The strip mine site sits right next to a CRD toxic dump. The devastating potential for groundwater contamination is too great a risk to allow.”

The association has actively opposed the project since it was first proposed in 2016 and has mounted a #NotOK campaign. More than 1,000 residents signed a petition against the proposal – about half the municipality’s population.

More than 8,000 others have signed a Change.org petition as well, Richardson added.

The association has also joined the Highlands Stewardship Foundation in raising money at gofundme.com/f/stop-the-mine. The goal is to raise $35,000 and charitable tax receipts will be provided. Financial support has also come from West Coast Environmental Law and the now-defunct Highlands Preservation Society.

Lawyer Ian Knapp of Mackenzie Fujisawa LLP will handle the appeal. A court date has not been set at this time.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

December and January, so far, have seen their share of rain. (Black Press Media file photo)
December and January tip the scales to wet in Greater Victoria

Winter is on the way, says Environment and Climate Change Canada

Rendering offers an overhead view of proposed tiny home community using repurposed shipping containers in the Caledonia/Vancouver street parking lot next to Royal Athletic Park. Council voted to allow Aryze Developments apply for a temporary use permit as part of the project. (Courtesy Aryze Developments)
Anonymous donor boosts shipping container housing project in Victoria

Donor promises to match further donations until $500,000 goal is met

Stair care in Colwood
Colwood Coun. Michael Baxter says Latoria Creek Park is now more enjoyable and safe to take a stroll through due to the latest upgrades completed on the staircase. Four long sets of nature stairs now include slip-proof metal steps. The elevated staircase also allows for better air flow to slow the rotting process, and metal handrails to prevent splinters. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Colwood unveils massive upgrade to popular park staircase

Upgrades include slip-proof metal steps, metal handrails and raised design

Staff and volunteers at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea were disappointed by the theft of an educational porpoise skull likely taken on Jan. 8. (Courtesy of Tina Kelly)
Well-loved porpoise skull stolen from Sidney aquarium

Skull had been used for youth and visitor education and outreach for years

The Starbucks in Langford’s Westshore Town Centre is one of almost 300 storefronts that the U.S. coffee giant will be shutting across Canada by the end of March. (Google Maps)
Langford’s Westshore Town Centre Starbucks to close permanently

Popular coffee chain to close 300 storefronts across Canada by end of March

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Christmas may be over, but many B.C. neighbourhoods are still shining bright with the glimmer of holiday decorations and lights into 2021. (Black Press Media files)
British Columbians keep Christmas lights on past holidays to combat ‘COVID-19 blues’

One-third of households have kept their holiday decorations on display in 2021: B.C. Hydro survey

Most Read