Stop-work order for Shawnigan soil storage site

Concerns about a site near Shawnigan Lake run by South Island Aggregates have prompted the Ministry of Energy and Mines to issue a stop-work order.

The site is intended to provide storage for “residential-grade” soil, said Sonia Furstenau, Cowichan Valley Regional District representative for Shawnigan.

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South Island Aggregates also operates at an adjacent location where it has a permit to receive tonnes of contaminated soil, with the residential-grade soil to eventually be used in remediating that area. The permit, which is opposed by many area residents, followed an Environmental Appeal Board ruling released March 20.

“The stop-work order has to do with concerns from the Energy and Mines inspector,” Minister of Environment Mary Polak said Wednesday. “They have requested additional information and documentation from the company.”

Polak said she did not know details of the concerns that were raised, but said the permit issues are not related to water-testing results from an unusual orange-coloured run-off found in the vicinity, in Shawnigan Creek.

The run-off prompted Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver to conduct water tests. He said the orange colour resulted from high concentrations of iron.

Polak said her ministry will also do some additional testing.

“My staff have a sampling plan that they’ve developed together with the CVRD.”

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