Ministry of Environment ignoring ‘grandfathering’ provision of North Cowichan zoning decision

Odorous issue remains contentious for residents

Re: May 9 editorial ‘Smells like no spirit of progress’

Many thanks to the Courier for keeping a focus on the Coast Environmental odorous presence in Chemainus. The residents, and the CRA, have been pounding away at this issue for years.

It is now widely acknowledged that the allowing of the construction of this type of composting facility in close proximity to the village was a mistake. North Cowichan attempted, in 2012, to make amends by changing the zoning rules for the Coast site and, thereby, ‘grandfathering’ the Coast presence in the current location, but not allowing any further expansion.

We are currently looking at a permit, which has recently been issued by the Province, which allows for this expansion.

So, in spite of Mayor Siebring’s comments that the issue is complex, with three levels of government involved in the permitting, let us be clear that it is the Province (i.e., the Ministry of Environment) which is ignoring the ‘grandfathering’ provision of the North Cowichan zoning decision.

To its credit, North Cowichan has registered an appeal (to the Province’s Environmental Review Board) against the permit. And a number of us have written to the ERB to voice our opposition as well.

We believe that the current ‘permit’ issue marks an important, pivotal moment in terms of the status of Coast Environmental in Chemainus. The workings of the Environmental Appeal Board are, understandably, quite legalese and the appeal process is complex. Let’s let North Cowichan lead in this effort.

However, there is always room for the sincere, heartfelt pleas of ‘us common folk’ about what is happening to our quality of life. Our MLA, Doug Routley, may be the right person to convey our feelings to the powers that be. We suggest that, at this stage, we are best off to address our concerns through him.

Air Quality Chemainus

Chemainus Residents Association

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