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EDRF 2014 Grantees

Featured Grantee:

Elisabeth Stannus and Emily Toews

Concerned about how increased effluent discharge and sulfur dioxide emissions from Rio Tinto Alcan’s Kitimat aluminum smelter would affect their health, in May 2013, Elisabeth Stannus, Emily Toews and their colleagues filed Notices of Appeal with the Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) regarding a permit granted to the company. Elisabeth and Emily received funding to participate in the EAB hearing related to the permit approval.


Adams Lake Indian Band

The Adams Lake Indian Band, near Chase, is concerned about the potential for environmental damage from Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX) project. The proposed pipeline route crosses much of the Secwepemc territory and runs adjacent to the North Thompson River, where the Adams Lake Indian Band have historically and continue to hunt, fish and harvest food. Kinder Morgan applied to the Province for four park boundary adjustments, and at the time the Province had not consulted with the Band on this issue. The Band received funding to make submissions opposing the amendment of the park boundaries to accommodate the Kinder Morgan pipeline and to assert the Crown’s duty to consult Adams Lake Indian Band in relation to the proposed amendments. The Band was also an intervenor in the federal review process for the TMX project, and was approached for consultation meetings by government and industry representatives. The Band received funding for legal assistance at these meetings.

Burnaby Residents Opposed to Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE)

BROKE is a group of residents concerned about the impact of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion project on marine life, air quality, the safety of tanker traffic through Second Narrows, and the potential for a pipeline spill given the seismic character of the area. They received funding to obtain legal assistance to participate in the NEB hearings on the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion application.

Communities and Coal

Communities and Coal is a coalition of BC residents concerned about increased potential for respiratory illness and contamination of the environment with toxic heavy metals from the Fraser Surrey Docks coal shipping proposal. The proposal, which was approved by Port Metro Vancouver in August 2014, involves shipping up to eight million metric tonnes of US thermal coal through the corridor between White Rock and Texada Island. Communities and Coal worked with Voters Taking Action on Climate Change to file a judicial review of Port Metro Vancouver's decision to approve the Fraser Surrey Docks Direct Transfer Coal Facility proposal. The group received funding for legal representation to file the judicial review.

Cowichan Estuary Restoration and Conservation Association (CERCA)

CERCA has been working for many years to phase out environmentally harmful industrial operations in the Cowichan estuary, a designated conservation management area. The organization is concerned about log booming in particular, which is in non-compliance with the stipulations of the Licence of Occupation held by Western Forest Products. Although reported to the Province, compliance with the Licence had not been enforced. CERCA received funding to obtain a legal opinion on options to achieve Western Forest Products’ compliance with its Licence of Occupation with regard to log booming and/or revocation of the Licence.

Daniel Fretts

From the mid-1950s to 1971, City of Powell River garbage was discarded into the Squatter’s Creek streambed and filled over, leaving problems with leachate and methane gas in the area. Residents, including Daniel Fretts, are concerned that contamination from this garbage threatens local residential drinking water wells. Daniel received funding for a legal opinion on options to pressure the City of Powell River to comprehensively address remediation.

Ecoforestry Institute Society

As one of the co-founders of Wildwood, Merv Wilkinson’s ecoforest in Ladysmith, the Ecoforestry Institute Society was concerned about the proposed sale of the property by The Land Conservancy (TLC) and whether requirements for ecoforestry management would be upheld by the next owner. The Society received funding to obtain legal support in negotiations with TLC and ultimately through a court process. On November 22, 2016, the Supreme Court of BC approved the transfer of Wildwood to the Ecoforestry Institute Society.

Engineers for Carbon Ethics

Engineers for Carbon Ethics wants to ensure accountability for engineers who purposely misrepresent the facts surrounding climate change on their authority as engineers. The group received funding to obtain a legal opinion on the range of professional conduct issues that could arise with the engineering associations, and potential ways to structure such challenges that avoids the possibility for defamation suits or other sources of liability.

Friends of Shoal Harbour

Friends of Shoal Harbour are concerned about the construction of a seawall by a property owner within the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary, located within the broader Sidney Channel International Bird area. They are concerned about interference with the natural tidal movement of soil, which may increase erosion. They received funding for expert and legal opinions on whether the seawall was built legally, which involved verifying the natural boundary.

Georgia Strait Alliance

The Georgia Strait Alliance is a non-profit organization with a mandate to protect marine habitat in the Georgia Strait from pollution and damage. The Alliance is concerned about the seven-fold increase in tanker traffic through the Georgia Strait and an increased risk of an oil spill from Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project (TMX). The Georgia Strait Alliance was granted intervenor status to participate in the NEB hearings on the project and received funding for legal representation in this work.

Heiltsuk Tribal Council

The Heiltsuk Nation, on the northwest coast, was concerned about new tanker traffic shipping oil and condensate through the inner passage of Central Coast waters posed by the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project. The Nation received funding to obtain legal representation in the Joint Review Panel’s Phase IV “consultation process” and then to undertake a legal review of the Joint Review Panel’s report on the project to assess options for litigation.

Josette Wier

Josette Wier’s neighbour moved into genetically-modified (GMO) canola farming, triggering concerns about health impacts on herself, her organic crops, and customers to her B&B business from the spraying of Roundup, a strong pesticide. Josette received funding for a legal opinion on whether and how current laws in Canada protect the rights of landowners from their neighbors’ use of GMO crops and/or pesticide spraying.

Kitasoo / Xai’Xais Nation

The Kitasoo/Xai’Xais Nation, near Klemtu on the northwest coast, is concerned about new tanker traffic shipping oil and condensate through the inner passage of Central Coast waters posed by the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project. The Nation received funding to obtain legal representation in the Joint Review Panel’s Phase IV “consultation process”; to undertake a legal review of the Joint Review Panel’s report on the project to determine whether it accurately captures and addresses the Nation’s concerns; and finally to seek legal assistance in the best approach to present these concerns to Canada.

Ktunaxa Nation Council

The Ktunaxa Nation Council is comprised of Nation members from six Bands, located both in BC and the United States. When the Grand Coulee dam was constructed in 1942 in Ktunaxa territory, it eliminated historic salmon runs. The Canadian Columbia River Inter-tribal Fisheries Commission (CCRIFC) was established in 1995 to restore anadromous salmon throughout the Columbia Basin. The Ktunaxa have been seeking commitments from Canadian and BC governments on their restoration. The Nation has received funding to obtain legal assistance to negotiate with Canada on this.

Lavington LIFE

Lavington LIFE is a citizens group concerned about the siting of a wood pellet manufacturing facility less than one kilometre from a local school and park. Lavington’s municipal council recently approved rezoning the land to accommodate the facility proposed by Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. and Tolko Inc., despite significant local opposition focused on air quality, dust and noise impacts. The group received funding to file for a judicial review of the municipal zoning decision.

Lynda Gagne

In May 2013, Lynda Gagne and Charles Claus, both asthma sufferers, joined the SkeenaWild Conservation Trust and the Lakelse Watershed Stewards Society (along with a broader group) to file Notices of Appeal with the Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) regarding a permit granted to Rio Tinto Alcan. The permit allowed increased effluent discharge and SO2 emissions from the company’s Kitimat aluminum smelter. Rio Tinto Alcan successfully challenged their standing to appeal at the EAB, and the EAB’s decision was reviewed by the BC Supreme Court with a favorable decision[ES1] . However, the EAB issued a reconsideration – another denial of standing, despite the BC Supreme Court decision. Lynda Gagne received funding to file for a judicial review of the EAB’s denial of standing for Ms. Gagne and Mr. Claus.

Metlakatla First Nation

The Metlakatla First Nation, on the northwest coast, is concerned about new tanker traffic shipping oil and condensate through the inner passage of Central Coast waters posed by the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. Enbridge planned a major spill response centre on the shores of Metlakatla’s territory. The Nation received funding to obtain legal representation in the JRP’s Phase IV “consultation process”.

North Shore NOPE

North Shore NOPE is a residents’ group concerned about the health impacts of air pollution and the potential for a pipeline spill into Burrard Inlet from Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain Expansion project. The group received funding for legal and expert assistance to participate effectively in the NEB hearings on the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion application.

Outdoor Recreation Council of BC

Outdoor Recreation Council of BC (ORC BC) is a provincial non-profit organization that promotes access to and responsible use of BC's outdoors for public recreation. ORC BC is concerned about the proposed siting of a toxic waste processing facility approximately 150 metres from the Fraser River in Chilliwack. The City of Chilliwack’s public notices regarding rezoning of the site did not indicate the involvement of hazardous materials, nor the location near the river. The organization received funding to obtain a legal opinion on whether and how Chilliwack residents can influence City decision-makers on the rezoning application.

Penticton Indian Band

The Penticton Indian Band is concerned about wild sheep in their territory, which are vulnerable to respiratory diseases carried by domestic sheep. The Band has advocated for a requirement that local sheep farmers construct double fences to prevent contact with wild sheep. The Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen attempted to address this issue but was informed by the BC Ministry of Agriculture that it was in contravention of the Farm Practices Protection Act (FPPA). The Band received funding to obtain a legal opinion on options to require measures to prevent contact between wild and domestic sheep.

Perry Ridge Water Users Association

On July 26th, 2013 a tanker truck spilled 32,000 litres of jet fuel into Lemon Creek, a major tributary to the Slocan River, causing significant damage to fish habitat, as well as concerns about safe drinking water for nearby residents. The Perry Ridge Water Users Association took the position that although an "accident," the spill was avoidable had the parties, including government agencies, more carefully considered transport of hazardous materials along the Slocan. The Association received funding to lay charges in a private prosecution connected to the fuel spill into Lemon Creek.

Ross Campbell

Ross Campbell and fellow Sonora Island citizens believe that TimberWest’s plans to harvest old growth trees on Sonora Island (TFL #47) are contrary to land use objectives established under the South Central Coast Order (“SCCO”) and ecosystem-based management regulations for the Great Bear Rainforest. Ross and the group received funding for a legal opinion on whether TimberWest’s practices comply with the SCCO, and if not to evaluate legal options to submit complaints or a court challenge.

St’at’imc Chiefs Council

The St'át imc Chiefs Council is comprised of representatives from the eleven communities within the St'át'imc Nation and is concerned with nation-wide natural resource management and upholding Aboriginal rights and title. The Council is concerned with protecting, through their own Indigenous legal system, a significant wildlife migration corridor for moose and mule deer that stretches between the South Chilcotin Provincial Park and the Fraser River. Logging companies Tolko, West Fraser Timber and Sona Resources are preparing to build roads within this corridor. The Council received funding to develop a legal strategy drawing on Indigenous law and the rights of nature movement to protect the wildlife corridor.

Stannus & Toews

In May 2013, Elisabeth Stannus and colleagues filed Notices of Appeal with the Environmental Appeal Board regarding a permit (allowing increased effluent discharge and SO2 emissions from its Kitimat aluminum smelter) granted to Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. Elisabeth received funding to participate in the EAB hearing of the applicants’ appeal of the Ministry of Environment’s decision to grant the permit.

T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation

The T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation was concerned about possible re-suspension of toxins from three marine dredge projects associated with the proposed Canpotex Potash Export Terminal. Their concern was that these materials would re-enter the Skeena estuary and contaminate marine life, impacting the quality and safety of the local food supply. The Foundation received funding to obtain a legal review of the project’s expert report and a legal opinion on the prospects for a judicial review of the dredging permit. In summer 2016, the company abandoned plans for the project.

Talia McKenzie

Talia McKenzie, a local resident in Cowichan Bay, is concerned about impacts to the quality of her well water from a proposed gravel pit at the adjacent Balme Ayr Farm Gravel Operation. The project was not assessed as a reviewable project under the BC Environmental Assessment Act. Talia received funding for a legal representation in a judicial review of the Agricultural Land Commission’s decision to approve the project without requiring an environmental assessment. Her application for judicial review was dismissed in March 2017.

Tsilqhotin National Government

The Tsilhqot’in National Government, representing six Tsilhqot'in communities, was concerned about destruction of fish habitat and water contamination from acids and heavy metals from the proposed New Prosperity Mine. The Nation’s submissions convinced the review panel for the project proposal to refrain from recommending that it proceed. Mine proponent Taseko has applied to the Federal Court for judicial review. The Nation received funding for legal representation to participate in the judicial review(s).

Tuwanek Ratepayers Association

The Tuwanek Ratepayers Association is group of residents from the east side of Sechelt Inlet concerned about the increased potential for environmental impact on the Gray Creek estuary. Dating back almost three decades, there has been a community dispute concerning the siting and expansion of a fish hatchery and industrial wharf on residentially zoned land within the Gray Creek estuary. Operator Target Marine Hatcheries Ltd. applied to the City of Sechelt for a rezoning of the land from hatchery to fish processing. The City granted the rezoning and approved a new bylaw that permits new land uses, including fish processing, on an expanded ten acres of land. The Association received funding for a legal opinion and then for legal representation to file a judicial review of new bylaws allowing the new land uses in the estuary.

Vancouver Airport Project Opposition in Richmond Society (VAPOR)

VAPOR is a citizens group in Richmond concerned about the shipping of highly flammable jet fuel in the Fraser River estuary by the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation (VAFFC). The group received funding for a legal opinion on the approach taken to environmental assessment of the project, and then for a judicial review of the Province’s approval of VAFFC’s shipping proposal.

Voters Taking Action on Climate Change

Voters Taking Action on Climate Change is a volunteer-driven organization concerned about coal dust releases from a proposed major expansion of the Fraser-Surrey Docks/Texada Island coal terminal to facilitate the export of coal from the American mid-west to China and Korea. Coal dust is expected to negatively impact the respiratory health of the surrounding communities, and increase the concentration of arsenic and selenium in shellfish. The group received funding to bring a challenge to the Chief Inspector of Mines' approval to amend Lafarge's Mines Act permit as outlined in the Fraser-Surrey Docks/Texada Island coal terminal proposal.

West Moberly First Nations

West Moberly First Nations, located between Chetwynd and Hudson’s Hope, are concerned about loss of land and environmental damage from BC Hydro’s Site C dam project. West Moberly First Nations participated extensively on the Joint Review Panel hearings on Site C; however, the project proposal was approved by the federal cabinet under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The First Nations received funding for a judicial review of the approval of BC Hydro’s Site C dam project on the grounds of reasonableness of whether the environmental impacts are justified, and the adequacy of consultation.