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

Revelstoke SAR crews help find woman’s body around Kaslo River

The woman was on a motorcycle when it plunged into the river on June 21

RCMP identify dangerous driver from near head-on collision by Golden

Police say the extremely dangerous and illegal maneuver put multiple lives at risk

Hitchhiker with metal pipe prompts RCMP to close Highway 1 near Salmon Arm

Police respond to report of man who pointed what was believed to be a rifle at passing driver

Local Food Initiative wants public feedback for possible Garden Tour

Survey suggests some people are concerned about the RCMP, after last year’s tour

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

‘Resistance’ from Interior Health puts races in Penticton on hold

It’s unknown if races planned for this weekend at the Penticton Speedway will take place

Fundraiser kick-started for Vernon woman battling tongue cancer

Woman’s four-year-old twins are the driving force behind her fight

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Oliver Town Hall reopens to public as COVID-19 test comes back negative

Town Hall was closed briefly as a staff member showed multiple COVID-19 symptoms

Lake Country beachgoers reminded to maintain distance amid COVID-19

Signage, park rangers, park patrol students in place to monitor busy beaches in Central Okanagan

RCMP to investigate hate-motivated vandalism in Summerland

Swastikas and other graffiti spray painted on house and at bandshell

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Most Read