Prince Rupert Port Authority was in court on Dec. 19 for charges relating to provincial environmental charges and federal fisheries offences. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

B.C. port challenges four Environmental Management Act charges

B.C. Ministry of Environment laid four charges on the port for burning prohibited materials

Prince Rupert Port Authority will be challenging the provincial government’s environmental charges for burning treated wood for five days on Ridley Island.

A pre-trial conference was held at the Prince Rupert Courthouse on Wednesday, Dec. 19. While no actual facts were agreed to on the record, the port’s defence advised they would be forthcoming with constitutional arguments.

The B.C. Ministry of Environment laid four charges under the Environmental Management Act for an incident involving burning prohibited materials between June 22-27, 2017, on Ridley Island. Neighbouring residents from Port Edward complained about the smoke prompting a Conservation Officer to investigate.

READ MORE: Port charged with burying burnt remains of treated wood

Following the incident, the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) apologized to the community in a public statement.

“PRPA misclassified some non-organic materials in that burn as organic and subsequent to discovering the error we apologized to the community for that error in the aftermath. Obviously we’ve worked extremely hard and we take a lot of pride in being an organization that is prioritizing the environment and our operations over time, and as we said then, we’ve made and we will continue to make changes to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” said Ken Veldman, VP of public affairs and sustainability at the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

At the pre-trail, defence lawyers, Michael Manhas and Matthew Keen from Northon Rose Fulbright based in Vancouver, made it clear that the port authority plans to challenge the provincial charges by raising constitutional arguments and claiming Crown agent immunity.

“We are going to be challenging the provincial government’s charge in this case on a constitutional point that the provincial law doesn’t apply to federal agencies. That principal of maintaining federal jurisdiction over the federal land that we administer is important to our ongoing responsibilities and operations. In other words, there’s a precedent here,” Veldman said.

Judge Dwight Stewart set Feb. 15, 2019 as the due date for the defence lawyers to submit their written defence and give constitutional notice.

In another matter raised at the pre-trial, Judge Stewart said that as a judge in a small town he is concerned about the how this will appear to community members as he is familiar with senior management at the port authority.

“With a matter of this nature there would be problems with matters of credibility,” he said.

While he feels he can adjudicate fairly, he worries how this may appear publicly. Judge Stewart will continue as the case management judge but another judge may be called in for the trial on June 10, 2019.

A second pre-trail date will be arranged for the last week of February.

10 fisheries violations

The port authority, DP World and its contractors for the Fairview Terminal expansion were also in court on Dec. 19 for another matter.

On Nov. 2, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) laid 10 charges for fisheries violations against the port and its partners for work that was carried out during the terminal expansion that allegedly resulted in “serious harm to fish”.

The next court date has been set for Jan. 30 at 9 a.m. to consult with legal counsel.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert port and DP World faces 10 fisheries violations



shannon.lough@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Salmon Arm opens respiratory clinic in response to COVID-19

Clinic will not be a walk-in centre, residents must call family doctor or nurse practioner first

Salmon Arm’s paving, pothole patching programs to begin in May

Long hard winter takes toll on roads, street cleaning underway

Last-minute hiring means Salmon Arm’s emergency shelter can remain open

Salvation Army’s Lighthouse shelter to stay open beyond normal closing date of April 1

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP donating raise to support food banks, women’s shelters

Mel Arnold said pay increase legislation didn’t account for a crisis like COVID-19

WATCH: Peachland boy gets a birthday parade

West Kelowna Party Parades made their way down to celebrate Josh Cardiff’s sixth birthday

World COVID-19 update: NATO suspicious of Russian military drills; Cruise ships ordered to stay at sea

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world for Wednesday, April 1

Outbreak of COVID-19 at Okanagan agricultural business, 14 cases confirmed

75 workers at West Kelowna business are in isolation – 63 migrant workers and 12 local workers

Community drums up support for North Okanagan hospital workers

Even health care workers and fellow first responders turned out to show love

South Okanagan first responders salute hospital workers

“You’re awesome” and “Thank you” say Penticton first responders, passing by emergency entrance

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

‘April Fools’ social media prank leads to criminal investigation in Osoyoos

Post claims individuals will be canvassing door to door seeking housing for seasonal workers

Most Read