1 Grants help BC communities preserve important wild spaces for wildlife habitat and recreation across the province | West Coast Environmental Law

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Grants help BC communities preserve important wild spaces for wildlife habitat and recreation across the province

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Our Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund (EDRF) helps British Columbians use the law to protect the environment in their communities. In the process, we’ve ended up establishing many important precedents.  Here is some recent news from some of our grantees:

  • CoalWatch Comox Valley is waiting for an anticipated revised application by the Raven Mine proponent to the BC Environmental Assessment Office. In May of this year, the BCEA Office requested the proponent to address a significant number of requests, which were in part shaped by CoalWatch. CoalWatch first received EDRF funding in March 2010. For more information, see our previous environmental law alert;
  • Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club is being sued by the Douglas Lake Cattle Company in a dispute over who can access two lakes on the Cattle Company’s property, and who owns the fish in those lakes.  Funding from the EDRF has allowed the Fish and Game club to retain Victoria-based lawyer, John Nelson, to help assert that the lakes are public.  The case has huge implications for public access to, and control over, public lakes.
  • Friends of Pioneer Forest, a citizens group in Nanaimo, have been working with EDRF lawyer Patrick Canning of Raincoast Law on ensuring the protection of Pioneer Forest. The community has used this small but ecologically significant 8 acre urban forest for recreation for almost fifty years, but it was threatened by a proposal to zone the land for development. In March 2013, Nanaimo City Council gave approval for the City to enter into a formal land exchange agreement with the local School District (which owns the land), moving towards a protected Pioneer Forest;
  • The West Kootenay EcoSociety has been working with EDRF lawyers Judah Harrison and Ethan Krindle to prepare for a judicial review of the Province’s creation of the Jumbo Glacier Resort Mountain Municipality – a municipality without inhabitants. Here’s our environmental law alert on this case.
  • The Burns Bog Conservation Society is opposing the construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road, a 40km long, four-lane highway along the south side of the Fraser River from Delta to Surrey. Concerned about the loss of habitat for blue and red-listed species, the Society was unsuccessful in challenging the highway approval in the Federal Court. However, in June 2013 the Society was granted leave to appeal this decision and the Society and its legal counsel are now preparing submissions.
  • The EDRF has provided ongoing support to the Halalt First Nation in their challenge to theDistrict of North Cowichan’s proposal to drill two wells and extract water from an aquifer within their traditional territory, potentially reducing water levels of the Chemainus River. After a win in the BC Supreme Court, but a loss in the Court of Appeal, the Halalt sought but in July were denied leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

We are grateful to the Law Foundation of British Columbia for supporting the EDRF.

By Barb Everdene, EDRF Project Manager