Following a cease work order from the District of Highlands in October, the BC Supreme Court ruled Jan. 20. that bylaws won’t apply to O.K. Industries’ work until its quarrying activity is complete. (Courtesy of District of Highlands)

Following a cease work order from the District of Highlands in October, the BC Supreme Court ruled Jan. 20. that bylaws won’t apply to O.K. Industries’ work until its quarrying activity is complete. (Courtesy of District of Highlands)

BC Supreme Court rules Highlands quarry work can continue

District bylaws won’t apply until quarrying activities are complete

Following a cease work order from the District of Highlands in October, the BC Supreme Court has ruled that O.K. Industries (OKI) can continue its quarrying work without bylaw’s intervention.

OKI was granted a quarry permit from the province in March 2020 after a years long battle with Highlands, and on Oct. 1 began cutting down trees on the property. Two days later, a bylaw officer arrived on site to issue the paving contractor a cease work order on the basis that it hadn’t acquired a valid tree cutting permit, contrary to the municipal tree management bylaw. Highlands also indicated that there were a number of other bylaws OKI’s work could trigger.

In its quarry permit, OKI is only allowed to clear vegetation outside the nesting period of March 1 to Aug. 31 and must complete all grubbing, grinding and stripping work between October and February. OKI has also previously said that it hopes to start Phase 1 of quarrying by May 2021. So, with time to clear the site ticking, OKI submitted a petition to the BC Supreme Court requesting an order that the municipality’s bylaw not apply to them during its quarrying operation.

RELATED: Province permits proposed gravel quarry in Highland

On Jan. 20, the court ruled that OKI’s quarrying activities fall under provincial mining legislation and cannot be interfered with by municipal bylaws.

The quarry, under which a groundwater aquifer sits, has been vehemently opposed by Highlands and Highlands District Community Association (HDCA) since it was first proposed in 2016.

In 2015, OKI purchased the 65-acre property from the province and, in late 2016, Highlands opposed the company’s rezoning application to use the land for industrial purposes. The company then applied to the province for a Mines Act permit in 2017, which was granted in March of last year.

The HDCA has expressed concerns about the impact of the quarry on the subsurface aquifer, noise, dust and road safety hazards from increased heavy truck traffic, possible negative impacts on the quality of life and house prices for surrounding residents and impacts on biodiversity.

RELATED: Opposition to gravel quarry in Highlands gains traction

Wednesday’s decision means Highlands will only regain jurisdiction to regulate the property through its bylaws when OKI’s quarrying activities are complete – an expected 16 years from now.

The full decision can be read at bccourts.ca.


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

BC Supreme CourtDistrict of HighlandsHighlandsminingzoning

Just Posted

Carey Newman resigned from the Greater Victoria School District’s Indigenous Ad Hoc Committee May 13, citing ‘a pattern of systemic racism.’ (Black Press Media file photo)
‘Pattern of systemic racism’: SD61 Indigenous committee member resigns, calls for change

More than 350 people had added their names in support by midday Friday

Comedy balloon artist Mike Dada of Sidney hands two-year-old Mila Yiau a balloon flower as she holds the hand of her mother Hannah Liao at Sunday’s street market in Sidney. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney Street Market parks in temporary location for 2021

Market open Sundays at Mary Winspear parking through Oct. 10

Commonwealth Place recreation centre was shut down before 8 a.m. on Friday following a power outage. (Saanich Parks, Recreation and Community Services/Twitter)
Saanich Commonwealth Place closed due to power outage, outdoor classes still running

Indoor classes, programs at pool and weight room halted

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

Royal Bay Secondary School students paint the crosswalk in front of their school in support of LGBTQ and marginalized members of the community (Royal Bay Secondary School photo)
Senior student leaves mark at Royal Bay Secondary School for LGBTQ+ students

Crosswalk at Colwood school painted in support of marginalized community members

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

Most Read