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Vol 22, 2021 Feb/Mar

This story is the second in a series we’re sharing in 2021 to mark the ELC’s 25th anniversary [ICYMI, our first flashback is here]. We’ll take this time to reflect on milestones and appreciate work done in the past that is making a difference today. These stories demonstrate what we all inherently know: actions we take today reverberate long into the future.
Tsehum Inlet Lagoon
ELC Students met with Robert Bateman and Chief Vern jacks at a Migratory Birds Day event at Lillian Hoffar Park, near Tshehum Inlet (2005). (Photo by Holly Pattison)
In 2005, the ELC helped persuade a local government to save migratory bird habitat on Vancouver Island rather than accepting a proposal to dredge a lagoon and construct a 75-boat marina development.

Located near the BC Ferries terminal in Sidney, BC, Tsehum Inlet lagoon is home to bufflehead, greenwinged teal, peregrine falcons, eagles, herons and more than 30 other species of waterfowl, seabirds, shorebirds and the rare intertidal Jaumea carnosa plant community. Visible along the stretch of highway from the ferry terminal into Sidney, the lagoon is backed by forest and a large marina. It is part of the federal Shoal Harbour National Migratory Bird Sanctuary, established in 1931 as one of the first migratory bird sanctuaries on the pacific coast.

Before the ELC became involved, the local municipal council had given approval in principle and were prepared to amend their OCP and zoning bylaws in order to accommodate a development that would have dredged and removed 2,000 dump tuck loads of sediment, and installed floats and facilities for 75 boats.

Thanks to Governance Action in North Saanich (GAINS), the group of residents who brought this issue to our attention, the ELC was able to identify and object to procedures the council had followed, which resulted in the scheduling of a new public hearing on the issue.

ELC student Derek Simon and ELC Legal Director Calvin Sandborn co-authored an op ed, which helped marshal opposition to the proposal and drew a crowd to Migratory Birds Day event the residents sponsored near the lagoon, which featured famed wildlife artist Robert Bateman and Chief Vern Jacks of the Tseycum First Nation.

In preparing for the public hearing, Derek discovered that the developer did not have a necessary permit from the provincial Director of Fish and Wildlife, which was required by the federal sanctuary legislation. He presented this information at the public hearing, with the supportive of an enthusiastic crowd, and council reversed their earlier position and rejected the proposal. Read more...
Left: Chief Vern Jacks (Tseycum First Nation) and Derek Simons, 2005; Right: Derek Simon, 2021
An ELC submission prepared for the Kitimat Rod and Gun Club aims to help a local government strategically protect natural resources in its quickly growing community. Reforming Kitimat’s Local Laws During an Industrial Boom calls on the District to use green bylaws in order to improve environmental protection in the face of intense new development.

“Our natural environment is key to our community’s lifestyle, way of life, social, health, wellbeing and other related values,” says Mike Langegger of the Kitimat Rod and Gun Club. “Many Kitimat citizens are concerned that these important environmental values are being threatened and undermined by gold rush attitudes.” Read more...
Each year, the ELC partners with ELC Club students and others to host the Research-a-thon: a one-day event that gathers student volunteers to research a topic that supports public interest environmental law in BC.

If you thought a pandemic might prevent this year’s event from happening, think again! The ELC Club is busily organizing this year's Research-a-thon, which will focus on something we all probably need right now: Good Stories! On Fri, March 5, students from the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia will virtually interview environmental change-makers to document their stories of environmental law victories to better understand how positive environmental law shifts happen. These stories, many of which are related to ELC work, will help us mark our 25th anniversary in a positive way.

The idea for this year’s Research-a-thon was inspired by the Good Stories Movement started by Filipino lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr., who recognized that public interest environmental law can be difficult and it can often feel like change is not happening. The Good Stories Movement aims to share stories of environmental change to inspire the next generation of public interest environmental lawyers and change makers. 

We look forward to sharing Good Stories!

ELC Board member and donor Clare Frater, who is Director of Trust Area Services for Islands Trust, has been on the ELC Board since 2014. Click here to read our interview with Clare (and learn more about the Islands Trust). 

"I donate annually to the ELC because I know that my donation is being used to help local communities, environmental groups, and First Nations advocate effectively for the environment. I also know that the training and mentoring of law students in the ELC will benefit our society in the long term."
WE'RE HIRING! The ELC is hiring a new Administrative Assistant to help us in our mission of training the next generation of public interest environmental lawyers and increasing the capacity of our partners and others to protect and enhance environmental conservations and community sustainability in BC. Come join our team!

Apply here:

MORE ELC CAREER OPPORTUNITIES COMING SOON The next few years will bring transition to the ELC Clinic as Legal Director Calvin Sandborn moves into a special projects and mentorship role. This brings a unique opportunity to bring a new lawyer or lawyers onto our team to work full time on a diverse scope of public interest environmental law issues. Could this be you?
MANY THANKS from all of us at the ELC to Megan Webber, who has moved on from her role as ELC Administrative Assistant to a position in government after assisting us for the last three years. Best wishes, Megan!
THANK YOU to Fran Ankenman, who recently finished her articling term with us and will now complete the second half of her articles at Ratcliff LLP. Her new principal is ELC Alum Melinda Skeels, who was one of the ELC’s first articled students.
WELCOME to our new Articled Student Ellen Campbell and to our Spring Coop Student Russell Chiong. Along with all the new ELC Clinic students, they are a great addition to the ELC team.

THANK YOU to the ELC Clinic student who contacted us recently with a heartwarming message to thank us for the great program and experience – and to let us know they’ve used several ELC publications over the course of their articling term. “My guess is that, in one way or another, every student that goes through the ELC exits with skills or knowledge that will serve them well in the future. I certainly did!”

UPDATE ON MINING LAW REFORM: In January, the BC Mining Law Reform Network and SkeenaWild released new maps pointing to over 100 known and potentially contaminated mine waste sites that threaten to pollute waters, fish habitat and communities across the province.
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. For a concise information on what changes are necessary and why, see the BC Mining Law Network’s Fact Sheet.
UPDATE ON FLOOD INFRASTRUCTURE: Thanks to the Watershed Watch Salmon Society, the Union of BC Municipalities recently passed an important resolution for wild salmon and for lower Fraser communities. Resolution NR16 – Flood Risk Mitigation Through Green Infrastructure and Natural Assets asks the federal and provincial governments to require and fund nature-based solutions for flood management. The ELC provided support for this work in 2017 with the recommendations in Legal Review of Flood Management and Fish Habitat in British Columbia.
THANK YOU to the Vancouver School Board Sustainability Conference for inviting the ELC to speak their high-school student led mentorship session. ELC Legal Director Calvin Sandborn, ELC Alum Alexa Powell, and ELC Co-op Student Russell Chiong spoke with students about individual sustainability, outlets to affect change, and potential futures in the environmental and legal fields.
UPDATE ON PROTECTING FISH SPAWNING BEACHES: The ELC’S Saving Orcas by Protecting Fish Spawning Beaches report was featured in a recent Canadian Society of Environmental Biologists (CSEB) webinar. ELC articled student Ellen Campbell and ELC alum Megan Buchanan presented the work along with Ian Bruce (Peninsula Streams) and Jacklyn Barrs (World Wildlife Fund). Following the presentation, the CSEB committed to sending letters to the provincial government supporting arguments for the creation of a provincial Shoreline Protection Act.
THANKS FOR THE SHOUT OUT: Thanks to the First Nations Fisheries Council for acknowledging the ELC’s contributions to their Direction Paper: Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and Water Sustainability Act Reform, which sets out why water and the Water Sustainability Act should be a priority for legislative reform under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
THANKS FOR THE SHOUT OUT: Thanks to the First Nations Fisheries Council for acknowledging ELC Executive Director’s contributions to Environmental Flow Needs: A Primer for BC First Nations, which offers guidance on why and under what circumstances it may be valuable for First Nations to establish and implement EFNs for critical waters in their territories.
CALL TO ACTION: Watershed Watch Salmon Society released a story on their webpage about the Reducing Water Extraction And Increasing Environmental Flows In The Coquitlam River report we recently prepared for them and the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable. They asked readers to action by contacting local municipal and provincial politicians and asking them to commit to the actions identified in the ELC report.
THANK YOU to ELC Associates and presenters for their participation our most recent webinar on the topic of Riparian Rights and Indigenous Water Rights/Laws. In particular, many thanks to ELC Associates and Alums Melinda Skeels and Jamie Arbeau and to the rest of the Ratcliff LLP team, who led a fascinating discussion about their work on Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc.
IN MEMORY: As an Environmental Law Alliance Worldside (ELAW) Lawyer, Killian Doherty, used his legal skills to collaborate with lawyers around the world protecting communities and the environment. His work will have lasting impact.
In tribute, ELC Legal Director Calvin Sandborn said, “He was a truly remarkable guy, smart, humble, cheerful and warm.  At heart, he was an altruist working hard to make the world a better place – but to have some darn good fun doing it! …we will all take inspiration from his example of how to make good trouble. And then we will dance and sing and remember our dear friend.”
HONOURING A LEGACY: Two funds were recently established to honour the contributions of Joe Arvay:
  • The Law Foundation of BC’s Joe Arvay Initiative for Public Interest Law may provide funding to pay off law school debt and fund public interest articling positions.
  • UVic Faculty of Law’s Joseph Arvay Legacy Fund will be used to support law students with an interest in and who show an aptitude and talent for pursuing public law activities.
CONGRATS to ELC Alum Maya Stano who was made a Partner at Gowling WLG in January.
CONGRATS to Laura Weston who is now a Partner at Duncan & Weston.
CONGRATS to ELC Alum Naomi Kovak and Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman for their successful Microsoft Class Action settlement that is returning multi-millions to Canadians who paid too much for Microsoft products because of Microsoft’s improper actions.
ALUMNI CAREER OPPORTUNITY: The Forest Practices Board is looking for General Counsel to help ensure sound management of BC’s forests.
ALUMNI CAREER OPPORTUNITY: ELC Alum Morgan Blakley is looking for an Associate Lawyer to join Columbia Valley Law Corporation in Invermere, BC.
INYMI: INYMI: Did you know that the ELC is now on Instagram? Check out our behind-the-scenes action at UVicELC.
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