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Vol 24, 2021 FALL

When the time is right, we’ll meet in person to celebrate the ELC's 25th anniversary. Until then, we're sharing a series of Good News Stories that were inspired by the 2021 Research-a-thon. We hope you can share our celebratory spirit through these stories. 

> Our first Good News Story celebrates containing urban sprawl and protecting wild spaces on Vancouver Island's southern coast.
Despite November’s extreme wet weather events, including atmospheric rivers, record rainfall and devastating floods and mudslides, climate change models predict deepening draught conditions in BC. Many people are concerned about water scarcity, and there is an urgent need to assess and manage BC’s water resources. These concerns were highlighted in ELC’s July submission to the BC Provincial Government calling for a moratorium on new licences to extract groundwater for water bottling in BC. Learn more…
In late August, the ELC filed a submission on behalf of Too Close for Comfort asking the BC Provincial Government to conduct a Regional Assessment with public hearings regarding a proposed petrochemical complex project in the Prince George area. While the proponent withdrew part of the proposal in late October, one of the three original projects remains a concern: a natural gas extraction plant that is proposed for agricultural land. Learn more…
[Photo: Prince George, Erik Frankson, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons]
The ELC’s work primarily serves British Columbia, but it often has much wider usefulness and impact. Such was the case that led to our recent collaborative work with the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP) on an Amicus Curiae brief in support of a women’s group in Peru that is trying to protect a local river in the Peruvian Court. Learn more…
[Photo: Quisca/Ucamara]
Over the past year, the ELC analyzed a variety legal options for urgently protecting the prime salmon and sturgeon habitat between Hope and Mission (the “Heart of the Fraser”). This habitat is essential in order to support salmon runs, some of which are on the verge of collapse, and to sustain the foundational food source for First Nations as well as seals, sea lions, beaver, bears, deer, cougars and coyotes. Learn more…
This summer, the ELC asked the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development and the Auditor General of Canada for an inquiry Into Canada’s failure to control Elk Valley’s coal mine pollution. Learn more…
[Photo: Wildsight]
A compilation of our recently released submissions and public resources:
WARM WELCOME to ELC Articled Student Christa Croos who moved from Ontario in mid-August to started her articling term with us and will be working with us until the end of December.  
CHECK IT OUT: Calvin Sandborn talks about the history of environmental law in the province in Part 4 of the Knowledge Network’s documentary: British Columbia: An Untold History.
IN MEMORY: All of us at the ELC were saddened to learn about the passing of Ken Farquharson. As a retired civil engineer and longtime environmentalist, Ken brought many important issues to us over the years, and he was a frequent guest speaker at ELC Clinic classes. One of the issues Ken asked us to look into was the contamination of Jordan River from an old copper mine that had closed decades ago but was still killing spawning salmon. This work led to the identification of a responsible party and the establishment of a plan to clean up the river and bring back the salmon. In March 2019, Ken generously took a day to explain and help us document the mining contamination issue at Jordan River on camera. We hope to be able to share this footage in the near future.
Ken will be deeply missed, and our hearts go out to his family and friends.
Click here for more information about Ken’s wonderful legacy.
UPDATE ON FIRE RETARDANT REGULATIONS: In response to our submission urging federal action to protect waterways, marine life and human health from toxic and unnecessary flame retardant chemicals found in consumer products, such as children’s toys, furniture and electronics, the federal government announced in August 2021 that they are banning over a dozen flame retardants and reviewing others to see if they pose health or environmental harms
RESTORING SHELLFISH HARVESTING: In early October, the ELC joined with clients Pauquachin Marine to provide information to the District of North Saanich about pollution at Coles Bay. They spoke about the local government’s role in shellfish restoration efforts and requested the Council consider a collaboration in order to restore shellfish harvesting. Council unanimously passed a motion for staff to prepare a report in response to the presentation and the specific asks for collaboration.
UPDATE ON GUARDIANS: Following the ELC’s The Case for a Guardian Network Initiative that called on governments to provide major funding and law reform to support Indigenous Guardian groups, the federal government recently announced $173 million to Guardian programs over the next five years across Canada
UPDATE ON MINING LAW REFORM: The ELC joined with organizations throughout the province in 2019 to launch the BC Mining Law Reform platform, which is intended to guide mining law reform in BC for the next decade.
From issues such as ongoing cross-border concerns about downstream pollution and the recent legal challenge against BC’s mineral staking regime filed by Gitxaala First Nation, the need for mining reform keeps being highlighted.
In September, BCMLR released a backgrounder busting common myths about BC being a leader in sustainable mining: Busting the Industry and British Columbia’s ‘Sustainable’ Mining Myths – Backgrounder
SHOUT OUT: to ELC Alum Maya Stano for her work acting for the Stk’emlupsemc Te Secwepemc Nation, which led to an important decision on the inadequacy of bonding being required at BC mines. The Court made findings on consultation requirements and ruled that a 2019 government decision to require only $20,000 security on a quarry with anticipated reclamation costs of $27 million was an unreasonable decision.
Maya, a former geological engineer, worked on mining issues during her time as an ELC Intensive Clinic Student.
UPDATE ON ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ENFORCEMENT: In the summer, we reported that CN was charged $100,000 for failing to get authorization to spray pesticide along 150KM of the CN Skeena rail corridor adjacent to key salmon habitat. In September, CN plead guilty and was fined $2.5 million for violating the federal Fisheries Act by using pesticides in or around waters frequented by fish.
The ELC worked on this case back in 2018 for the T. Buck Suzuki Foundation and ELC Associate Angela McCue.
ELC ALUM NEWS: ELC Alum and Gage Gallery artist Ilka Bauer recently shared her gallery’s open call for postcard submissions. The goal is to create a community vision of sustainability. For card specifications and submission details, see (Cards can also be dropped off with Holly at the ELC.) Deadline for Submissions: January 21, 2022.
CONGRATULATIONS: to former ELC Articled Student and ELC Associate Zaria Stoffman and her partner Mauricio on the arrival of Siena!
CONGRATULATIONS: to former ELC Articled Student, ELC Associate and ELC Intensive Student Naomi Kovacs and her partner Trevor on the birth of Orson!
CONGRATULATIONS: to former ELC volunteer and ELC Associate Erica Stahl and her partner Peter on the birth of Aaron!
ICYMI: Did you know that the ELC is now on Instagram? Check out our behind-the-scenes action at UVicELC.
Want to share your news with ELC alumni and friends?
Send us the details, and we’ll include them in our next newsletter.
ELC Clinic field trip tag-a-long (2007)

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