October 26, 2007
for Immediate Release
A B.C. Supreme Court decision that cleared the way for logging in the Sunshine Coasts Chapman Creek Watershed is back in the public eye. Daniel Bouman, Executive Director of the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association, announced today that he, along with the other individuals who participated in the B.C. Supreme Court hearings, has filed a Notice of Appeal of the decision in the BC Court of Appeal.
The controversy concerns attempts by the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) to restrict logging in the Chapman watershed, because of feared impacts on public drinking water, using a little-used provision of the Health Act. Logging giant, Western Forest Products, appealed the SCRDs order to the B.C. Supreme Court, and on October 9th, Justice Butler ruled that the SCRD had acted unreasonably in making its order.
Mr. Bouman said, We believe that the B.C. Supreme Court took too narrow a view of the SCRDs Health Act powers. This appeal is about maintaining the right of local elected people to safeguard the health of their communities.
The appellants, supported by the SCCA, believe that the SCRDs order was legally and scientifically justified in restricting logging on steep slopes and within riparian areas in the publics drinking watersheds.
Brad Benson, SCCA Chair and long term advocate of protecting the publics drinking water sources explained, The Health Act defines a health hazard as something that does or is likely to pose a risk to human health. The Sunshine Coast Regional District has 40 years of experience in providing safe drinking water and dealing with the consequences of watershed logging. The SCRD was in the best position to weigh evidence about potential health hazards generated by more logging in the watersheds.
The outcome of this appeal is vitally important to regional and municipal governments in BC and across Canada. Local governments ability to exercise caution in the public interest is at stake.
Daniel Bouman, SCCA 604 886-8325 or 741-8234
Robin Gage, Underhill Faulkner Boies-Parker 250 380-2788
The SCCA gratefully acknowledges the support of West Coast Environmental Law.