Keywords: Waste Management Act; standing to appeal; genuine grievance; public notification; procedural fairness
Mr. Goggins and Mr. Fleischer filed separate appeals against a Permit amended by the Deputy Director of Waste Management. The Permit authorizes the discharge of mill residuals, specifically “grate ash” and “green liquor dregs”, to certain lands in Powell River. Counsel for MacMillan Bloedel (the Permit Holder) challenged the Appellants’ individual right of standing to bring an appeal against the Permit. This issue of standing is the same as that considered by the Board in John Keays and Paddy Goggins v. Assistant Regional Waste Manager (MB Paper Ltd., Third Party) (Environmental Appeal Board, Appeal No. 1997-WAS-010(a), Nov.17, 1997), issued concurrently with this decision.
Mr. Goggins argued that he was an Appellant to the original Permit before the Deputy Director where his standing to appeal was not challenged. He submitted that any mishap in the handling of the wastes under the authorization of the permit would prejudice him, his children, and his property, and that he was therefore a “person aggrieved” under the Act. Mr. Fleischer submitted a similar argument.
The Board found that, in challenging the legal standing of the Appellants, the Permit Holder took an overly narrow approach to the question of standing. To require lay people to essentially “prove” their standing by showing how they will or will likely be affected is to impose an unreasonable burden on them. Proof of their cases comes at the hearing stage when the merits of the case are addressed. The Board also found that the proximity to the discharge sites of the residences and regular activities of the Appellants and their families was sufficient to find their concerns a reasonable basis for standing as persons with a genuine grievance. The Board found that both Mr. Goggins and Mr. Fleischer had standing to appeal the Permit and that their appeals could proceed.