• Canadian Heritage – Parks Canada v. Environmental Health Officer

    Decision Date:
    File Numbers:
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    Third Party:
    John Van Egmond, Permit Holder


    Decision Date: January 20, 1999

    Panel: Carol Quin

    Parks Canada appealed a decision of the Environmental Health Officer (“EHO”) to issue a sewage disposal permit to Mr. Van Egmond for his property located near the West Coast Trail corridor of the Pacific Rim National Park. Due to the extremely fast percolating sandy soil, poor drainage, proximity to wetlands and foreshore, heavy rainfall and the lack of vehicle access to the property, the Appellant argued that the system may lead to the contamination and nutrification of water, land and beaches in the park. The Appellant was also concerned that the EHO was not aware of changes to the information contained in the original application.

    The Panel found that the permit application no longer accurately reflected the number and location of proposed buildings, the location of Mr. Van Egmond’s well, standing water and a stream. It also found that the EHO should have required a winter assessment of the property given the evidence of high rainfall and fast percolating soils. Without such an assessment, the Panel concluded that the EHO could not have known whether the soils would be suitable for treating effluent, and could not have known of the existence of water bodies or seasonal streams and whether the regulatory setbacks could be met. Further, without vehicle access to the property, the Panel was not convinced that the system could be constructed as designed and properly maintained. In light of all these factors, the Panel found that the permit should be rescinded. The appeal was allowed.