• Houweling Nurseries Limited v. District Director of the Greater Vancouver Regional District

    Decision Date:
    File Numbers:
    Decision Numbers:
    Third Party:
    Roger Elmsley, Third Party Corporation of Delta, Participant


    Decision Date:  January 11, 2007

    Panel:  Alan Andison, Dr. Robert Cameron, Phillip Wong

    Keywords:  Environmental Management Act – ss. 94(1) & (2), 102(2); application to introduce new evidence; air quality; permit

    This was a preliminary matter in an appeal of a decision of the District Director of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (the “District Director”) refusing to issue an amended permit to Houweling Nurseries Ltd. (“Houweling”).  The permit authorized the discharge of air emissions from Houweling’s greenhouse operation located in Delta, B.C.  Houweling sought an amendment that would allow it to discharge emissions from wood fired boilers that it wanted to use to heat its greenhouses.

    At issue in this application was whether the Board should allow Houweling to introduce new evidence at the appeal hearing, which was to be reconvened to hear the merits of the appeal in accordance with directions in a judicial review decision issued by the B.C. Supreme Court (see Houweling Nurseries v. District Director of the GVRD et al., 2005 BCSC 894).

    Houweling submitted that the new evidence was unavailable when the appeal was initially heard by the Board in 2003, and is relevant to the appeal.

    The District Director objected to some of the new evidence that Houweling sought to introduce.  Mr. Emsley and the Corporation of Delta opposed Houweling’s application.

    The Board noted that, under its empowering legislation, it has broad discretion in hearing evidence and deciding appeals.  The Board found that the evidence was relevant to the appeal, and that concerns about a lack of context for some of the evidence, unknown authorship, or its lack of specificity could be addressed by assigning appropriate weight to the evidence, rather than excluding it.

    Additionally, the Board found that the evidence relates to new facts or circumstances that had arisen since the initial hearing, and that the new information may assist the Board in making a well informed decision.  The Board also found that allowing the new evidence would not unduly lengthen the proceedings.

    For all of those reasons, the Board granted Houweling’s application to introduce new evidence.