Prince Rupert Port Authority was in court on Dec. 19 for charges relating to provincial environmental charges and federal fisheries offences. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

B.C. port challenges four Environmental Management Act charges

B.C. Ministry of Environment laid four charges on the port for burning prohibited materials

Prince Rupert Port Authority will be challenging the provincial government’s environmental charges for burning treated wood for five days on Ridley Island.

A pre-trial conference was held at the Prince Rupert Courthouse on Wednesday, Dec. 19. While no actual facts were agreed to on the record, the port’s defence advised they would be forthcoming with constitutional arguments.

The B.C. Ministry of Environment laid four charges under the Environmental Management Act for an incident involving burning prohibited materials between June 22-27, 2017, on Ridley Island. Neighbouring residents from Port Edward complained about the smoke prompting a Conservation Officer to investigate.

READ MORE: Port charged with burying burnt remains of treated wood

Following the incident, the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) apologized to the community in a public statement.

“PRPA misclassified some non-organic materials in that burn as organic and subsequent to discovering the error we apologized to the community for that error in the aftermath. Obviously we’ve worked extremely hard and we take a lot of pride in being an organization that is prioritizing the environment and our operations over time, and as we said then, we’ve made and we will continue to make changes to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” said Ken Veldman, VP of public affairs and sustainability at the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

At the pre-trail, defence lawyers, Michael Manhas and Matthew Keen from Northon Rose Fulbright based in Vancouver, made it clear that the port authority plans to challenge the provincial charges by raising constitutional arguments and claiming Crown agent immunity.

“We are going to be challenging the provincial government’s charge in this case on a constitutional point that the provincial law doesn’t apply to federal agencies. That principal of maintaining federal jurisdiction over the federal land that we administer is important to our ongoing responsibilities and operations. In other words, there’s a precedent here,” Veldman said.

Judge Dwight Stewart set Feb. 15, 2019 as the due date for the defence lawyers to submit their written defence and give constitutional notice.

In another matter raised at the pre-trial, Judge Stewart said that as a judge in a small town he is concerned about the how this will appear to community members as he is familiar with senior management at the port authority.

“With a matter of this nature there would be problems with matters of credibility,” he said.

While he feels he can adjudicate fairly, he worries how this may appear publicly. Judge Stewart will continue as the case management judge but another judge may be called in for the trial on June 10, 2019.

A second pre-trail date will be arranged for the last week of February.

10 fisheries violations

The port authority, DP World and its contractors for the Fairview Terminal expansion were also in court on Dec. 19 for another matter.

On Nov. 2, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) laid 10 charges for fisheries violations against the port and its partners for work that was carried out during the terminal expansion that allegedly resulted in “serious harm to fish”.

The next court date has been set for Jan. 30 at 9 a.m. to consult with legal counsel.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert port and DP World faces 10 fisheries violations



shannon.lough@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Ucluelet resident sounds alarm over ‘environmental disaster’

Central Westcoast Forest Society estimates bridge project at Hyphocus Island could cost $1M.

Senior A Basketball: Maaqtusiis senior teams take on the Island Championships

Senior girls play at Duncan Christian and senior boys at Nanaimo Christian this weekend.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations councillor says ‘Hereditary chiefs have the ultimate power’

Ahousaht future hereditary chief Jaiden George explains Indigenous governance.

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Suspect at large after stealing seaplane before crashing into another in Vancouver

Police responded to the incident at 3:30 a.m. on Friday at Vancouver Harbour

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games kick off in Fort St. John

More than 1,000 of B.C.’s best athletes will be competing over the next three days

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

Shopping cart collector at B.C. Costco awarded $583,000 after getting pinned by car

Kurtis Ryan Burdeniuk, 22, was retrieving carts when a driver backed into him in the parking lot

‘Usain Bolt he was not’: B.C. gang police seize drugs, cash after foot chase

‘The man took off running when he saw our officers approaching,’ CFSEU BC says

Canadians released from coronavirus-ridden cruise ship in Japan fly home

Those who were cleared to travel are to be screened again at Canadian Forces Base Trenton

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Trudeau promises update on blockades as Wet’suwet’en chiefs meet Mohawk supporters

B.C. hereditary chiefs are thanking the Mohawks for supporting them in opposition to Coastal GasLink

Most Read