• Friends of Cortes Island; Larry Cohen; Comox-Strathcona Regional District; British Columbia Shellfish Growers Association v. Environmental Health Officer

    Decision Date:
    File Numbers:
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    Third Party:
    Triple R Developments Ltd., Permit Holder


    Decision Date: March 3, 1999

    Panel: Jane Luke, Sheila Bull, Bob Radloff

    This was an appeal of a decision of the Environmental Health Officer (“the EHO”) to issue a permit to Triple R Developments Ltd. (“Triple R”) for a sewage disposal system for a proposed resort development on Cortes Island. Triple R had previously been granted a sewage disposal permit for the same property, but the permit expired before construction of the system was completed. The Appellants argued that some of the information in the new permit application had been filled out by the EHO, not Triple R, and that the application contained inaccurate information. They argued that the newly permitted system would not safely treat sewage from the development and a hydrogeological assessment was required. Triple R argued that the Board should only consider issues in relation to the unbuilt portion of the system, not the entire system as permitted by the original permit, and that Triple R should be awarded its costs in the appeal.

    The Panel found that the permit under appeal was a new permit for an entire system and, therefore, portions of the system approved under the previous permit were not exempt from consideration in this appeal. The Panel found that it didn’t matter that the EHO had filled in the estimated daily sewage flow on the application form, but it did matter that new building plans had been drawn up which increased the size of the units and the potential number of bedrooms from what was shown on the application. If the EHO had been aware of these changes, he may have estimated higher daily sewage flows. The Panel rescinded the permit on the basis that an inaccurate estimation of sewage flows may have a negative impact on public health.

    The Panel was satisfied that a hydrogeological assessment was not required and that there had been sufficient site assessment. However, the Panel directed the EHO to reconsider the size and adequacy of the absorption field and the possible need for a hydrogeological assessment in the event that Triple R submitted a new permit application based on its newer plans for the units. The appeal was allowed. Triple R’s application for costs was denied.