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Shawna G Sued for Defending Water!

$360 of $4,500 goal

Raised by 15 people in 16 months
Zoe Blunt  Duncan, BC
Shawna Green is an eco-warrior, a friend, and an indigenous mom on Vancouver Island, BC. She is standing up to a local company that's dumping contaminated soil in her community's drinking watershed.

In November 2015, that company sued her for $50,000 in damages and threatened her with arrest.

At the same time, a record-setting rainfall flooded the dump site, and muddy sludge started pouring into nearby Shawnigan Lake. The public health service raised the alarm and sent an alert to residents warning them not to use the water and to keep animals away from the lake. This is exactly the worst-case scenario that environmentalists like Shawna were warning about.

The community is frightened and frustrated. This same company (South Island Aggregates) has been tied up in court for years over permission to dump the contaminated waste in the first place. The Shawnigan Lake Residents are petitioning the court to throw out the dumping  permit.

But rather than allow that case to be heard, the company is  on the offensive trying to shut down those who are protecting the water, including Shawna.

The bullies are charging Shawna with obstructing their dump trucks full of toxic soil. Shawna was not given  notice of the hearing and the court handed the dump company an injunction. Now Shawna faces arrest if she sets foot on the road where the dump trucks enter. 

Every day, more trucks are arriving and dumping contaminated soil in the Shawnigan Lake watershed. Community members are rallying at the site. The local Member of Parliament is calling for the company's permit to be revoked. We're waiting for independent laboratory results about the silt and mud that poured into the lake.

The next court hearing for Shawna is December 3 and our goal is to get the court to reverse its earlier decision and support the water defenders.

The funds we raise will be used for Shawna's legal representation and court costs. It's the only way she can make applications to stop the dumping. Winning this case will help the Shawnigan Residents and thousands of others who rely on this watershed.

We're here in soldarity with Shawna and all who stand up for land and water.  Please join us!

- Eco Warriors Legal Trust
   http://wildcoast.ca/legal



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Update 3
Posted by Zoe Blunt
16 months ago
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Court update: TOMORROW at 10 am, BC Supreme Court in Victoria BC, 850 Burdett.

Shawna doesn't have a lawyer. We have approached several but they weren't in a position to take the case. The funds will go toward court fees and transportation costs, and offset missed work hours.

Thank you for your support.
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Update 2
Posted by Zoe Blunt
16 months ago
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Community alert: Mothers, grandfathers, everyone comes out to block trucks for an hour at 7 each morning at the dump site near Shawnigan Lake, Vancouver Island BC.

Please read this shocking report from regional representative. Sonia Furstenau outlines the battles community has fought to stop this dump and the failures of the gviernment and the corporation responsible, every step of the way.

_______________________________________

This was the image that accompanied a message that arrived in my inbox at 7:32 am this morning.

This is what it has come to in Shawnigan Lake. A young mother, her baby strapped to her chest, and a grandfather, standing together in front of a 40-tonne dump truck before dawn on a cold December morning.

I can’t look at this image without weeping. I weep for all the lost mornings, days, afternoons, evenings, and nights. I weep because of the insanity of this situation, the colossal unfairness of it, the unbelievable injustice that is playing out day after day in this community. I weep because all of us would rather be home at 7 in the morning, drinking coffee with our families, getting our kids off to school, thinking about the day ahead.

I weep because each day we lose more faith in the agencies that are supposed to protect us.

Every morning, we return to the mountain. Sometimes dozens of us, sometimes only a few, but we return because this situation – a company being allowed by our government to dump contaminated soil in our watershed – is an affront to democracy, to common sense, to logic, and to science. And it is a threat to our survival as a community.

For three and a half years, we thought we had enough to make this stop.

We thought 300 people coming to a public meeting where all but two people expressed vehement opposition to the plan of putting a contaminated landfill in our watershed would send a clear message to the government, and would be enough to stop this foolish plan in its tracks.

We thought that over 300 letters written to the Statutory Decision Maker would be enough.

We thought that the opposition of the CVRD and the CRD, VIHA, Cowichan Tribes, and the people of Shawnigan would be enough.

We thought that hundreds and hundreds of letters to MLAs, Ministers, and the Premier would be enough.

We thought that nine expert witnesses at the Environmental Appeal Board hearings, including geologists, hydrogeologists, engineers, and a water treatment specialist – all of whom identified problems with the site assessment, the plan, the design, and the engineering – would be enough.

We thought that over 15,000 signatures collected and presented to the Minister of Environment in the Legislature would be enough.

We thought that 1600 people on the Legislature lawn, speaking with one voice, would be enough.

We thought that documenting the long-standing history this company has of non-compliance with its mines permit would be enough.

We thought that documents revealing a secret agreement between the owners of the site and their engineers, who were acting as “Qualified Profesionals” would be enough.

We thought that allegations of fraud, perjury, bribery, and misrepresentation throughout the entire permitting process would be enough.

We thought that evidence of a breach of water off the site would be enough.

We thought that evidence of a water treatment system that does not function as designed would be enough.

We thought that ongoing documented non-compliance with the MoE permit would be enough.

We thought that water samples that show that this site is already impacting our environment would be enough.

We thought that an engineering report that identifies that water leaving this site is bypassing the water containment, treatment, and testing systems would be enough.

But nothing seems to be enough.

We will continue to ask the Ministry of Environment, and Minister Polak, to do the right thing and protect our water.

But until they decide to act on behalf of the citizens of Shawnigan Lake rather than on behalf of one company, what we have left are our bodies, and our willingness to put our bodies in front of 40-tonne trucks.
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Update 1
Posted by Zoe Blunt
16 months ago
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Here we are drumming and singing at the soil dump site earlier this year. The deadline to file a response to the lawsuit is Friday. We're urgently seeking legal eagles to assist with the response.

The full text of the dumping company's lawsuit is at this link: http://forestaction.wikidot.com/local--files/legal/Notice%20of%20claim

Thank you!
Full text:
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$360 of $4,500 goal

Raised by 15 people in 16 months
Created November 21, 2015
Zoe Blunt  
LB
$25
Linda Blokhuizen
16 months ago
$40
Teri Young
16 months ago
1
1

ARGH

KS
$15
Katherine Sharpe
16 months ago
1
1

This is exactly the kind of local action we need to support.

JK
$25
Jane Kilthei
16 months ago
1
1
LG
$20
Lisa Garcia
16 months ago
1
1
AM
$25
Amanda Marchand
16 months ago
1
1

Thank you Shawna.

BL
$25
Bernard Laplante
16 months ago
1
1
$25
Anonymous
16 months ago
1
1
$25
David Trudel
16 months ago
1
1

Thank you for standing up!

BP
$25
Bruce Pearson
16 months ago
1
1
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