• G. N. (Neil) Thompson v. Director, Environmental Management Act

    Decision Date:
    File Numbers:
    Decision Numbers:
    Third Party:
    Canfor-LP OSB (G.P.) Corp., Third Party


    Decision Date: November 25, 2005

    Panel: Alan Andison

    Keywords: Environmental Management Act – s. 100(1); standing; person aggrieved

    Neil Thompson appealed the decision of a delegate of the Director to issue a permit to Canfor-LP OSB (G.P.) Corp. (“Canfor”) to discharge contaminants to the air from an oriented strandboard manufacturing facility (the “OSB facility”) located approximately 1 km from the Fort St. John airport.

    Mr. Thompson submitted that water vapour emissions from the OSB facility will likely increase the prevalence of mist, fog, low cloud, and super cooled moisture at the airfield, and therefore, water vapour is a “pollutant” under the Environmental Management Act (the “Act”), which should be regulated as other contaminants in the permit.

    The Board requested that Mr. Thompson provide details of how he has standing to appeal under section 100(1) of the Act as “a person aggrieved by a decision of a director.”

    Mr. Thompson replied that he was an “aggrieved person” within the meaning of the Act because he is an airports electrician, and if increased costs and decreased revenue to the airport are caused by the emissions, then his opportunities to work will be reduced.  As a retired crash rescue firefighter, he is concerned about the increase to the possibility of fatal accidents, as well as the interference with search and rescue activity.  As a retired weatherman, he is concerned about the expected disruption to Fort St. John air traffic and community.  As a retired pilot and someone who is supportive of aviation and search and rescue activities, he is frustrated of “being unable to explain to the uninformed that the textbook behaviour of an air mass is dramatically affected by pollution which results in unreliable aviation forecasts, serious airframe icing issues, and general disruption.”  He further submitted that he continuously flies in and out of the airport, and is concerned about delays and unexpectedly adverse flying conditions.

    Canfor submitted that while Mr. Thompson has raised a number of reasons why he disagrees with the decision to issue the permit, and thereby feels he is a person “aggrieved”, his concerns do not meet the established legal tests for standing.  Further, Canfor argued that there is no evidence that Mr. Thompson’s work opportunities will be directly affected by the emissions; that there is no evidence that issuing the permit will cause risks of fatal aircraft incidents; and that there is no evidence that the proximate location of his residence to the discharge source will affect Mr. Thompson’s or his family’s health.

    The Board found that no evidence was adduced to show that Mr. Thompson has sufficient interest in the issues he raised, nor does he have more interest than any other member of the general public who may have occasion to fly into or out of the Fort St. John airport.  Further, the Board agreed with Canfor’s submissions that Mr. Thompson’s interests are too speculative.  Thus, the Board found that Mr. Thompson’s stated interests are too remote and/or indirect to support granting standing under section 100 of the Act.

    The Board did not find it necessary to rule on Mr. Thompson’s submission that water is a “pollutant” which should be regulated under the Act.

    Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.