Green Party MLA Sonia Furstenau and Environment Minister George Heyman (Black Press)

Environmental review checks for conflicts

Self-regulating a factor in Mount Polley, Shawnigan Lake

Environment Minister George Heyman has launched his promised review of “professional reliance” on engineers and other professionals who oversee safety of industrial projects in B.C.

Heyman said the issue of water contamination of the Hullcar aquifer near Vernon, a contaminated soil storage facility near Shawnigan Lake and the Mount Polley mine tailings dam failure on Quesnel Lake have eroded public confidence in B.C.’s system.

“Actions flowing from this review will help restore public confidence in government’s oversight, to ensure the public interest is protected when it comes to resource management,” Heyman said Tuesday.

He said the B.C. government has lost capacity to regulate projects after a period of engineers and other professionals being hired by project proponents to file reports. In the case of contamination of the Hullcar aquifer, B.C.’s information commissioner had to order the release of water records because information from contracted professionals was withheld as private property, Heyman said.

Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau said she was “delighted” by the commitment to the review, which will also examine if people who are monitoring a project have a financial interest in it. A court challenge of the Shawnigan Lake contaminated soil site revealed such a situation, which Heyman said is clearly a conflict of interest.

“In Shawnigan we saw firsthand how the uncertainty created by professional reliance erodes trust,” Furstenau said. “The geologists hired to assess the safety of the contaminated soil facility adjacent to our community’s drinking water had a profit-sharing deal and would have benefitted from the project going ahead.”

Heyman said the Mount Polley investigation continues, as charges against individuals are considered for the collapse of the tailings dam in August 2014.

Just Posted

IT’S OFFICIAL: Mt. Timothy sale complete

New owners looking toward year-round mountain resort facility

B.C. First Nations’ intake of essential nutrients to drop by 31 per cent: study

Professors project the nutrient decrease by 2050 if climate change mitigation continues as is

Bella Coola Harbour to receive federal funding

The amount of funding has not been announced yet

WANTED: Five sought by RCMP

Police asking for public’s assistance finding five people on outstanding warrants.

Carey Price breaks Canadiens goalie record with 315 wins

Habs netminder surpasses Jacques Plante’s record for most wins

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

‘The whole city has changed:’ B.C. woman in New Zealand reacts to mosque attacks

An expatriate and Muslim students at UBC Okanagan deeply affected by white supremacist shooting

Trudeau condemns hateful, ‘toxic segments’ of society after New Zealand shooting

Prime Minister expressed sorrow at the many attacks in recent years

Air Canada grounds its Boeing Max 8s until at least July 1 to provide certainty

Airlines around the world have been working to redeploy their fleets since their Max 8s were grounded last week

Budget to tout Liberal economic record, provide distraction from SNC furor

This is the Liberal government’s fourth and final budget before the election

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

Vancouver Island overdue for the big one, can also expect mega-thrust tsunami

The last big earthquake was 70 years ago in Courtenay

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

Most Read