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EDRF 2016 Grantees

Featured Grantee:

Ecoforestry Institute Society (EIS)

As one of the co-founders of Wildwood, Merv Wilkinson’s ecoforest in Ladysmith, the Ecoforestry Institute Society was concerned about the proposed sale of the property by The Land Conservancy (TLC) and whether requirements for ecoforestry management would be upheld by the next owner. The Society received funding to obtain legal support in negotiations with TLC and ultimately through a court process. On November 22, 2016, the Supreme Court of BC approved the transfer of Wildwood to the Ecoforestry Institute Society.

Ancient Forest Alliance

The Ancient Forest Alliance received a grant to advocate for the Province of BC to initiate a dedicated revenue stream for private land acquisition for conservation, using revenue from unreturned bottle deposits. They received funding for a legal analysis of similar initiatives in other jurisdictions to inform their discussions with the Province.

BC Hydro Ratepayers Association

The BC Hydro Ratepayers Association is concerned about significant harm to fish, fish habitat and viable farmland from BC Hydro’s Site C project. The Association received funding for a legal opinion assessing prospects for a judicial review of the Site C decision.

Cedar Trails and Environment Stewards

Cedar Trails and Environment Stewards is concerned about restricted public access to trails and sections of Hemer Park that have been historically used by the public for recreation in Boat Harbour, Nanaimo. They received funding for a legal opinion on options to compel legitimate public access to relevant trails and roads in Boat Harbour.

Burnaby Residents Opposed to Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE)

BROKE is a group of residents concerned about the impact of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion project on marine life, air quality, the safety of tanker traffic through Second Narrows, and the potential for a pipeline spill given the seismic character of the area. They received funding to obtain legal assistance to participate in the NEB hearings on the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion application.

Bryce Casavant

Bryce Casavant was terminated for insubordination from the BC Conservation Officer Service for declining a kill order for two bear cubs under one year old. Referencing government policy, Casavant believed the cubs could be successfully transferred and rehabilitated. He received funding for a legal opinion on section 79 of the Wildlife Act, to inform a ministerial briefing report and potential further legal action.

Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance (CCIRA)

CCIRA is a resource management alliance of the Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’Xais, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv Nations of coastal British Columbia. The Alliance received funding to apply for leave to intervene in the case of Ktunaxa Nation v. British Columbia (2015 BCCA 352) to the Supreme Court of Canada, on several issues related to Aboriginal spirituality and the Charter. The case concerns the spiritual status of grizzly bears, and relates to government authorization of grizzly bear hunting.

Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF)

ELF is a local environmental group on the Sunshine Coast concerned about Sunshine Coast Community Forests’ plan to log an area locally known as the ‘Chanterelle Forest’, a popular mushroom-picking area for local residents and the Sechelt Indian Band. The group received funding for legal representation in negotiations with Community Forest and other parties related to the proposed logging.

Gabriola Against Freighter Anchorages Society

GAFAS is a group of citizens concerned about the environmental impacts on marine and terrestrial ecosystems from the cape-size vessel anchorages proposed for the northeast shore of Gabriola Island. They received funding for a legal opinion on the federal government’s legal obligations around the establishment of the proposed anchorages.

Gibsons Alliance of Business and Community Society

GABCS is a coalition of citizens and business owners in Gibsons worried about the siting of the proposed George Hotel development on a contaminated site. The proposal raised concerns about the potential for an uncontrollable breach in the Gibsons Aquitard and contamination of the community’s drinking water aquifer. GABCS received funding to obtain a legal opinion on legal options to prohibit excavation in this hydrogeologically sensitive area.

Glade Watershed Protection Committee

The GWPC is a group of Glade residents concerned with keeping their water source protected. The Committee is concerned about the impact of increased logging on their water source, which will change the flow regime and increase turbidity and boil water advisories. They received funding for a legal opinion and assistance to request a Section 29 investigation from their local Drinking Water Protection Officer.

Heiltsuk Nation

The Heiltsuk Nation is concerned that herring stocks in their territory are too low to support a commercial sac roe fishery, and are working to ensure that central coast herring populations recover and are protected for future generations. They received funding to negotiate a long-term co-management plan with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) on herring management.

Kitasoo/Xai’Xais Nation

The Kitasoo/Xai’Xais Nation, located at Klemtu in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, wanted to participate in the regulatory review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) to provide input on how the current legislative framework should be reformed to respect aboriginal rights and title. The Nation received funding to obtain legal representation in consultations with the CEAA expert panel.

Lytton First Nation

The Lytton First Nation is concerned about water contamination, increased vehicle traffic and air emissions, growing pest populations and foul odours from adjacent Revolution Ranch’s large-scale composting operation. The Nation received funding to obtain a legal opinion on potential legal options to stop the transfer of organic waste through their reserve and territory.

Michael Sawyer

TransCanada Pipelines Inc. has proposed to construct a 900 km LNG pipeline from a point near the District of Hudson’s Hope to a proposed LNG facility on Lelu Island. This project was processed through the BC provincial environmental and oil and gas regulatory processes and received all required provincial permits and approvals. Michael Sawyer, with support from the Skeena Wild Conservation Trust, believes that the project was incorrectly placed in the provincial jurisdiction and should be subject to a federal environmental review. Michael received funding to apply to the National Energy Board (NEB) for a ruling that the project is an inter-provincial pipeline, which was dismissed, and then for an appeal to Federal Court of Appeal.

MiningWatch BC

In August 2014, Canada experienced the largest mining disaster in history: the Mount Polley mine tailings pond spill. MiningWatch is working to ensure that the Province of BC takes measures to prevent future mine waste disasters, including a regulatory review and legal action. The organization has received funding for legal and expert representation in a private prosecution in relation to the spill.

Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club

In April 2013, the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club filed a petition for a public highway declaration for Number 281 Stoney Lake Road, which the Douglas Lake Cattle Company converted to private use and blocked to public access through a gate and barriers. The company has asserted ownership over the road, Stoney Lake, and the fish in it. In response to the Club’s petition, the company filed a Notice of Civil Claim suing the Club and the province for damages and declarations. The Club has received funding to obtain legal representation in the lawsuit.

Rail Ties Be Wise

Rail Ties Be Wise is a citizens group in Williams Lake concerned about impacts to local air quality from Atlantic Power Corporation’s plan to burn shredded railroad ties to generate electricity for sale to BC Hydro. They have received funding to appeal to the Environmental Appeal Board over the Province’s decision to amend Atlantic Power’s permit, which allows the company to burn a much greater biomass of railway ties and create a landfill to deposit ash from the facility.

Sheila Maguire

Sheila Maguire is a local resident of Lytton concerned about environmental impacts and foul odours from nearby Revolution Ranch’s large-scale composting operation. In November 2011, Maguire was served notice of a civil claim for defamation from Revolution Ranch. She received funding to defend this strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) in BC Supreme Court.

T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation

The T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation was concerned about possible re-suspension of toxins from three marine dredge projects associated with the proposed Canpotex Potash Export Terminal. Their concern was that these materials would re-enter the Skeena estuary and contaminate marine life, impacting the quality and safety of the local food supply. The Foundation received funding to obtain a legal review of the project’s expert report and a legal opinion on the prospects for a judicial review of the dredging permit. In summer 2016, the company abandoned plans for the project.

Talia McKenzie

Talia McKenzie, a local resident in Cowichan Bay, is concerned about impacts to the quality of her well water from a proposed gravel pit at the adjacent Balme Ayr Farm Gravel Operation. The project was not assessed as a reviewable project under the BC Environmental Assessment Act. Talia received funding for legal representation in a judicial review of the Agricultural Land Commission’s decision to approve the project without requiring an environmental assessment. Her application for judicial review was dismissed in March 2017.

Vancouver Airport Project Opposition in Richmond Society (VAPOR)

VAPOR is a citizens’ group in Richmond concerned about the shipping of highly flammable jet fuel in the Fraser River estuary by the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation (VAFFC). The group received funding for a legal opinion on the approach taken to environmental assessment of the project, and then for a judicial review of the Province’s approval of VAFFC’s shipping proposal.

Water Wealth Project

The Water Wealth Project is a citizen-driven initiative in Chilliwack focused on water policy issues from the community level to provincial and national levels. The project received funding for a legal opinion on options to challenge section 55(4) of the Water Sustainability Act, related to the exemption of existing non-domestic groundwater users who will be brought into the water licensing system over the next three years.

Watershed Watch Salmon Society

Watershed Watch Salmon Society is a provincial charity advocating for the conservation of BC’s wild salmon. The Society received funding for a report on the legal framework that applies to current and former fish habitat in managed floodplains, and legal assistance with identifying options within the framework for improving fish habitat management.

West Moberly First Nations

West Moberly First Nations are working to obtain stronger protections for the Klinse-za, or southern mountain population of woodland caribou, listed as “threatened” under the Species at Risk Act and assessed as “endangered” by the Committee of Endangered Species and Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The First Nations received funding for a legal report on the current status of caribou and caribou habitat in BC, as well as the existing legal protections that apply in BC.

Wilps Luutkudziiwus

The Wilps Luutkudziiwus – a house group of the Gitxsan Nation in Skeena country near Hazelton – is concerned about environmental harm and infringement of Aboriginal rights and title from the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Pipeline project, which would run through their territory. The house received funding to obtain a judicial review of the BC Environmental Assessment Certificate and BC Oil and Gas Commission authorizations and permissions related to the construction and operation of the project.