A Central Saanich composting facility has appealed the Capital Regional District’s decision to suspend their licenses but cancelled a court date last week after they filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court.
Last week, public court documents revealed the company had filed a judicial review petition, but on Friday a scheduled court date was cancelled by Foundation Organics’ lawyer, John Alexander.
Earlier in the week, Alexander had said that pending the review of documents by both parties, his clients were hoping a court hearing could be avoided and actions taken to resolve the process through the CRD appeal channel.
On Friday, Aug. 30 Andy Orr, a spokesperson for the CRD confirmed the two parties are planning to work through the CRD’s appeal process.
“They have decided not to go through the courts but they are still in the appeal process with the CRD which I imagine will happen sometime in the next couple of weeks,” said Orr.
Alexander said the petition was filed in response to what the company felt was stalling tactics on the CRD’s part.
“The petition was filed primarily because Foundation Organics had concerns about the speed with which the CRD was working,” Alexander said. “Their foot was on the gas to suspend the license but as soon they did they hit the brakes [on the process] pretty quick.”
The suspension of the licence for the composting facility on Lochside Drive was announced Aug. 20 and focused on the acceptance of food waste at the facility.
The licence suspension followed contract suspensions with Foundation Organics by the CRD in the first week of August.
Alexander confirmed that a facility in the Cowichan Valley Regional District (Cobble Hill) is taking on the food waste that Foundation Organics is not allowed to accept.
Neighbour Lee Hardy, who is a member of the Hunt/Martindale Valley Protection Association and the Stop the Stink initiative, said she isn’t surprised the company would appeal the decision.
“We’re not surprised, we anticipated they would do this, but I think there’s going to be a lot of people in touch with the CRD at the upcoming council meetings supporting the suspension,” she said, adding there has been no improvement in the odour coming from the facility.
Meanwhile, Central Saanich Mayor Alastair Bryson said he is following the developments closely but is also pushing for the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to figure out whether Foundation Organics is operating in violation of land use.
“The provincial ALC needs to clarify whether the scale of the Foundation Organics facility is considered a permitted farm use under their regulations [and let us know] whether they consider it to be a commercial industrial composting facility that requires special ALC approval. They should certainly be concerned if the volume of compost being produced by the facility exceeds the amount that can be safely and beneficially applied to the land area being farmed,” he explained.