Dirty-dirt appeal-board hearings extended until July 25

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Additional witness testimony, large volumes of documentary and expert evidence — about treating contaminated soil near Shawnigan Lake — have forced an extension, until late July, of proceedings before B.C.'s Environmental Appeal Board.

"The evidentiary portion of the hearing concluded June 6, and parties will now draft and file written submissions, then present oral arguments on July 24 and 25," a release by the Shawnigan Residents Association reads.

Residents and Cowichan regional directors are appealing a 50-year provincial permit for valley firm SIA to treat five-million tonnes of fuel-contaminated soil in a quarry pit off Stebbings Road.

Cowichanians fear those pollutants will eventually leak from SIA's pit and foul the lake and its aquifers

The SRA, Cowichan Valley Regional District, and citizens John Hayes and Rick Sanders, initiated proceedings against South Island Aggregates, also known as Cobble Hill Holdings (CHH).

"In support of the SRA's Legal Action Fund, the community has raised more than $200,000 for the legal battle to stop the SIA's contaminated-soil dump," the group states.

"As the hearing dates are extended, the costs continue to rise, and we are now looking at costs that will exceed $250,000."

The CVRD also awaits a Supreme Court ruling about if B.C.'s environment ministry broke Cowichan region's zoning bylaws in granting SIA's permit.

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