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Highlands resident group turns to Supreme Court for help on Millstream mining issue

Community association to bring its climate change argument to federal court
The Highlands District Community Association is petitioning the Supreme Court of Canada to determine whether B.C. mining officials should include climate change in issuing mining permits. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Highlands District Community Association is taking a different legal tack in its battle to halt operations of the OK Industries rock quarry off Millstream Road.

The association’s board unanimously passed a motion to petition the Supreme Court of Canada on whether B.C. officials should consider climate change more readily before approving certain projects.

“The whole world is waking up to the fact that climate change is affecting all of us in disastrous ways, yet our governments haven’t acted to change legislation to curtail climate change in step with our common interests and international commitments to reduce greenhouse gases,” board chair Scott Richardson said in a release.

The community group in June lost its case in the B.C. Court of Appeal that sought to have the provincial mines inspector’s decision to issue a permit to OK Industries nullified, on the basis that climate change should have been considered by the province before the permit was granted.

ALSO READ: Millstream Quarry wins again in court against Highlands community’s appeal

The association argues that two woodlands, one wetland, a stand of old-growth forest and multiple sensitive ecosystems are impacted by the tree clearing, blasting and rock crushing work, which OK corporate advisor Mel Sangha has said are part of preparing the property for development.

Board vice-chair Kenn Faris said the association has no choice but to take their fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

“It deeply saddens me and my colleagues on the board that B.C.’s NDP government has so far failed to take a strong leadership role on this when so much is at stake,” Faris said.

The association has received financial support from Highlands residents, West Coast Environmental Law and other networks who support the movement. Ian Knapp is leading the legal team with assistance from UVic’s Environmental Law Centre and another firm in Ottawa.

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