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EDRF 2015 Grantees

Featured Grantee:

Shawnigan Lake Residents Association

The Shawnigan Lake Residents Association is an organization of citizens in Shawnigan Lake, on southeastern Vancouver Island. The Association was concerned about the application of five million tonnes of contaminated soil into a bedrock landfill site in the Shawnigan Watershed. The Ministry of Environment issued a permit to the private operator to dump the soil; the Association appealed the approval to the Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) and lost. The Association received funding to file a Judicial Review of the EAB's decision, which they won in January 2017. After the project’s permit was suspended by the BC Supreme Court, the provincial government cancelled the permit in February 2017.


Alan Dutton

Alan Dutton and the Environmental Defense Working Group are working to put legislation in place to prevent strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) that silence citizens from voicing concerns about significant environmental matters. Alan received funding to draft anti-SLAPP legislation to inform his provincial campaign.

Blueberry River First Nations

The Blueberry River First Nations, located north of Fort St. John, are concerned about the approval of the North Montney pipeline project, which is proposed to supply the Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility. The Blueberry First Nation requested and was denied leave by the Federal Court of Appeal to file an application for judicial review on the basis of inadequate consultation. The First Nations received funding to research, draft and file a leave application with the Supreme Court of Canada in response to the Federal Court of Appeal decision.

Christine McLean

Christine is a homeowner in Horsefly concerned about Mount Polley Mine Corporation’s application for a permit to discharge tailings pond slurry into Quesnel Lake and Hazeltine Creek for the next two years. Christine received funding to obtain a legal opinion on legal options to challenge Mount Polley Mine Corporation permit application.

Citizens for My Sea to Sky Society

Citizens for My Sea to Sky Society is a group of Squamish citizens concerned about damage to the ecological integrity of Howe Sound by the proposed Woodfibre LNG facility and Fortis BC pipeline. The Society received funding to obtain legal assistance to engage with issues related to the projects’ environmental assessment processes.

Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band

In August 2014, Canada experienced the largest mining disaster in history: the Mount Polley mine tailings pond spill. The Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band, located north of Kamloops, is concerned about downstream environmental damage from the spill. The Band received funding to investigate any breaches of the permits authorizing the operation of the Mount Polley mine.

Divest Victoria

Divest Victoria is a group advocating for the City of Victoria to focus municipal dollars in socially responsible investments, and working to give local governments across BC the option to align their investments with their climate priorities. The group received funding to obtain legal advice on the Victoria Community Charter and on legislation that restricts municipalities involved in the Municipal Finance Authority from divesting from fossil fuels.

Dogwood Initiative

As BC’s largest non-partisan citizen action network, the Dogwood Initiative has been working to move BC beyond coal to investment in a clean energy economy. The network is concerned that since 2008 the Province has allowed coal exports to grow by millions of tonnes every year. They received funding to obtain legal analysis on the policy options that can equalize coal carbon pricing without contravening intra and international trade rules.

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.

Franke James

Franke James is an environmental artist and activist who faced opposition by the Canadian embassy to a European exhibition of her environmental artwork, which resulted in her loss of a business contract. She received funding for a legal opinion on legal options to challenge the federal government’s actions.

Friends of Carmanah Walbran

The Friends of Carmanah Walbran are a grassroots, volunteer-run collective of individuals working to protect old-growth forest in the Walbran Valley/Kaxi:ks on southern Vancouver Island. The group is concerned about a logging permit granted to Teal Jones Company for cutblock #4424, adjacent to Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park, and other potential cutblocks in the area. They received funding for legal and expert opinions on options to challenge the proposed logging.

Friends of the Nicola Valley

Friends of the Nicola Valley is a not-for-profit organization concerned about the application of biosolids (organic matter recycled from sewage) on farms, ranches and forests in their area. They received funding for legal assistance in raising their concerns with the BC Institute of Agrology and Interior Health.

Green Heart Environmental Protection Foundation

A group of citizens in Powell River, registered as the Green Heart Environmental Protection Foundation, was formed to protect an ecologically, culturally and recreationally significant forested riparian area (Lot 450) from logging. The area is the site of the original settlement of the Tla’Amin First Nation, from which they were removed and resettled to their current reserve location. The group received funding for legal representation to negotiate a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Island Timberlands, who holds the harvesting rights, with the goal of suspending logging plans and acquiring the rights.

Heiltsuk Nation

The Heiltsuk Nation is concerned that herring stocks in their territory are too low to support a commercial sac roe fishery, and are working to ensure that central coast herring populations recover and are protected for future generations. They received funding to negotiate a long-term co-management plan with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) on herring management.

St'át 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 South Chilcotin Provincial Park and the Fraser River. Logging companies Tolko, West Fraser Timber and Sona Resources were 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.

Michael Sawyer

TransCanada Pipelines Inc. has proposed to construct a 900 km LNG pipeline from a point near the District of Hudson’s Hope to a proposed LNG facility on Lelu Island. This project was processed through the BC provincial environmental and oil and gas regulatory processes and received all required provincial permits and approvals. Michael Sawyer, with support from the Skeena Wild Conservation Trust, believes that the project was incorrectly placed in the provincial jurisdiction and should be subject to a federal environmental review. Michael received funding to apply to the National Energy Board (NEB) for a ruling that the project is an inter-provincial pipeline, which was dismissed, and then for an appeal to Federal Court of Appeal.

Michael Sketch

Michael Sketch is a resident of Pender Island concerned about an Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) decision which gave conditional non-farm use permission for a waste transfer facility on Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) land. The permit was based on community need for the facility, but community need is not a reason for non-farm use or exclusion under section 6 of the ALC Act. Michael held that there was no community need for a waste transfer facility on that particular parcel of ALR land, or on any Pender Island ALR land, given alternate sites. He received funding to obtain legal representation in an application for reconsideration to the ALC.

Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club

In April 2013, the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club filed a petition for a public highway declaration for Number 281 Stoney Lake Road, which the Douglas Lake Cattle Company converted to private use and blocked to public access through a gate and barriers. The company has asserted ownership over the road, Stoney Lake, and the fish in it. In response to the Club’s petition, the company filed a Notice of Civil Claim suing the Club and the province for damages and declarations. The Club has received funding to obtain legal representation in the lawsuit.

Pacific Wild

Pacific Wild is a non-profit located in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest on Denny Island. The organization is concerned that the BC government is inhumanely culling potentially hundreds of wolves as a strategy for stabilizing mountain caribou populations, instead of developing better habitat management strategies. They received funding to obtain a judicial review of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations’ decision to offer permits for the culling of wolves, and to request an injunction if necessary.

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 and raising 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.

Salmon River Enhancement Society

The Salmon River Enhancement Society is a citizens’ group focused on protecting the Salmon River and its watershed. They were particularly concerned about damage caused by a spill from a pipeline crossing the Salmon River. The Society received funding for a legal opinion on a potential complaint to the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC related to the spill.

Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE)

SHARE is a non-profit advancing responsible investment services, research and education, and is concerned with promoting investment decisions that mitigate, rather than exacerbate, climate change. The organization received funding for a legal opinion on how principles from new legal scholarship on climate change and fiduciary duty can inform SHARE’s trustee education and advocacy programs.

Shawnigan Lake Residents Association

The Shawnigan Lake Residents Association is an organization of citizens in Shawnigan Lake, on southeastern Vancouver Island. The Association was concerned about the application of five million tonnes of contaminated soil into a bedrock landfill site in the Shawnigan Watershed. The Ministry of Environment issued a permit to the private operator to dump the soil; the Association appealed the approval to the Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) and lost. The Association received funding to file a judicial review of the EAB's decision, which they won in January 2017. After the project’s permit was suspended by the BC Supreme Court, the provincial government cancelled the permit in February 2017.

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.

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 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.

West Kootenay Ecosociety

The West Kootenay Ecosociety is a non-profit, community-driven organization based in Nelson is an active member of a regional coalition concerned about the creation of a Mountain Resort Municipality to facilitate the development of the Jumbo Glacier Resort project. The Ecosociety is working to protect biodiversity, in particular significant wildlife corridors for grizzly bear populations in the area. They received funding to file a judicial review of the creation of a Mountain Resort Municipality in and around the Jumbo Glacier area absent any residents.

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.

Wildsight Society

Wildsight is a registered charity with non-profit branches across the Kootenay region focused on creating sustainable community. Wildsight is an active member of a regional coalition concerned about the creation of a Mountain Resort Municipality to facilitate the development of the Jumbo Glacier Resort project. The charity is working to protect biodiversity, in particular significant wildlife corridors for grizzly bear populations in the area. Wildsight received funding for a legal opinion related to the development approvals process for the Jumbo Glacier Resort project.

Wilps Luutkudziiwus

The Wilps Luutkudziiwus – a house group of the Gitxsan Nation in Skeena country near Hazelton ­– is concerned about environmental harm and infringement of Aboriginal rights and title from the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Pipeline project, which would run through their territory. The house received funding to obtain a judicial review of the BC Environmental Assessment Certificate and BC Oil and Gas Commission authorizations and permissions related to the construction and operation of the project.