Abdul M. Mousa and Barbara Aweryn v. Environmental Appeal Board
Decision Date: July 21, 2000 (oral reasons)
Court: S.C.B.C., Josephson, I. B.
Cite: New Westminister Registry No. S057167 S061051
This was an application by Mr. Mousa for various forms of relief under the Judicial Review Procedure Act against the Simon Fraser Health Region (the “SFHR”) and the Environmental Appeal Board (the “Board”). The application arises from Appeal No. 99-HEA-04, where the Board upheld the decision of the SFHR to refuse to issue a permit for the repair of Mr. Mousa’s sewage disposal system on the basis that the proposed repairs would not protect the public health. The SFHR then issued an order to Mr. Mousa, which set out exactly what was required of him in order to ensure that his septic system no longer constituted a health hazard.
Mr. Mousa’s claim against the Board was based on a number of allegations, including bias and other improper conduct. He claimed that the method by which the Board published its decision was improper, and the role of counsel for the Board in drafting the decision was inappropriate. The court found that these criticisms were all without reasonable foundation.
Mr. Mousa also claimed that his septic system should be permitted to continue as a non-conforming use, because a number of other residences in the area have similar septic systems that likely constitute health hazards. He also claimed that the tests done by the SFHR were unlawful in that they artificially introduced test liquid into his sewage system in such quantities that a failure was inevitable.
The court applied the standard of review of patent unreasonableness to the Board’s decision, and found that the petitioners had not demonstrated that the decision to withhold the repair permit was in error, let alone patently unreasonable. The court also found no improper conduct on the part of the SFHR. The petition was dismissed with costs to the Board and the SFHR, and the SFHR was granted injunctive relief against Mr. Mousa.