Following a cease work order from the District of Highlands in October, the BC Supreme Court ruled Jan. 20. that bylaws won’t apply to O.K. Industries’ work until its quarrying activity is complete. (Courtesy of District of Highlands)

Following a cease work order from the District of Highlands in October, the BC Supreme Court ruled Jan. 20. that bylaws won’t apply to O.K. Industries’ work until its quarrying activity is complete. (Courtesy of District of Highlands)

BC Supreme Court rules Highlands quarry work can continue

District bylaws won’t apply until quarrying activities are complete

Following a cease work order from the District of Highlands in October, the BC Supreme Court has ruled that O.K. Industries (OKI) can continue its quarrying work without bylaw’s intervention.

OKI was granted a quarry permit from the province in March 2020 after a years long battle with Highlands, and on Oct. 1 began cutting down trees on the property. Two days later, a bylaw officer arrived on site to issue the paving contractor a cease work order on the basis that it hadn’t acquired a valid tree cutting permit, contrary to the municipal tree management bylaw. Highlands also indicated that there were a number of other bylaws OKI’s work could trigger.

In its quarry permit, OKI is only allowed to clear vegetation outside the nesting period of March 1 to Aug. 31 and must complete all grubbing, grinding and stripping work between October and February. OKI has also previously said that it hopes to start Phase 1 of quarrying by May 2021. So, with time to clear the site ticking, OKI submitted a petition to the BC Supreme Court requesting an order that the municipality’s bylaw not apply to them during its quarrying operation.

RELATED: Province permits proposed gravel quarry in Highland

On Jan. 20, the court ruled that OKI’s quarrying activities fall under provincial mining legislation and cannot be interfered with by municipal bylaws.

The quarry, under which a groundwater aquifer sits, has been vehemently opposed by Highlands and Highlands District Community Association (HDCA) since it was first proposed in 2016.

In 2015, OKI purchased the 65-acre property from the province and, in late 2016, Highlands opposed the company’s rezoning application to use the land for industrial purposes. The company then applied to the province for a Mines Act permit in 2017, which was granted in March of last year.

The HDCA has expressed concerns about the impact of the quarry on the subsurface aquifer, noise, dust and road safety hazards from increased heavy truck traffic, possible negative impacts on the quality of life and house prices for surrounding residents and impacts on biodiversity.

RELATED: Opposition to gravel quarry in Highlands gains traction

Wednesday’s decision means Highlands will only regain jurisdiction to regulate the property through its bylaws when OKI’s quarrying activities are complete – an expected 16 years from now.

The full decision can be read at bccourts.ca.


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

BC Supreme CourtDistrict of HighlandsHighlandsminingzoning

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

Just Posted

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A resurfacing of the tennis court in Metchosin is being eyed for the community. However, funding opportunities still need to be solidified for the project. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press Media)
Renewed surface eyed for Metchosin tennis court

Funding source must first be solidified in order for project to happen

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Most Read