Highlands group heads to court for quarry appeal

The Highlands District Community Association plans to be in court Wednesday appealing a B.C. Supreme Court decision to allow a rock quarry on Millstream Road to proceed.

The community group, which has vowed from the start to do whatever it takes to stop the project, said it will argue the courts have not taken into account climate change in giving the project the green light.

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Association chair Scott Richardson said approval of the mining permit flies in the face of the global climate crisis.

“Not taking action on a project like this is the new climate-change denialism,” he said.

Richardson said of all the detrimental environmental and health and safety impacts of the mine in the residential community, the biggest and most worrying threat is to the groundwater on which Highlands’ residents rely for their drinking water.

“This strip mine site sits right next to a CRD toxic-waste dump. The devastating potential for groundwater contamination is too great a risk to allow,” he said.

The project is being developed by O.K. Industries, which bought the 64-acre property in 2015 for $4.2 million. The company initially applied to have it rezoned to accommodate commercial and light industrial activity from its green-belt designation.

When the District of Highlands rejected the proposal in 2016, O.K. applied to the province for a mines permit for a quarry. That permit was granted last year.

That approval triggered the community association’s application for a judicial review of the mines permit, which the courts denied, and now has spurred the appeal.

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