• Richardson International Limited v. District Director, Environmental Management Act

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    Decision Date: June 8, 2021

    Panel: David Bird

    Keywords: Environmental Management Act – s. 31; Administrative Tribunals Act – ss. 16, 17; permit; air dispersion modelling; consent order

    Richardson International Limited (“Richardson”) appealed a decision of the District Director, Environmental Management Act (the “District Director”), Metro Vancouver Regional District, denying Richardson’s application to amend air quality management permit GVA0617 (the “Permit”). The Permit authorizes Richardson to discharge air contaminants from its bulk grain terminal (the “Terminal”) at the Port of Vancouver. The Terminal is located on land owned by the federal Crown that Richardson leases from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

    The Environmental Management Act (the “Act”) delegates authority to Metro Vancouver to regulate and legislate with respect to the discharge of air contaminants within Metro Vancouver’s boundaries. Metro Vancouver enacted the Greater Vancouver Regional District Air Quality Management Bylaw No. 1082, 2008 (the “Bylaw”) pursuant to section 31 of the Act. Under section 11 of the Bylaw, the District Director may issue a permit allowing the discharge of an air contaminant subject to requirements for the protection of the environment.

    The Permit was issued in 1997 under both the Act and the Bylaw. In 2015, the Permit and was amended by adding an air dispersion modelling requirement (the “ADM Requirement”). The ADM Requirement required Richardson to submit a dispersion model plan to the District Director for approval, and prepare a report on air dispersion modelling of emissions from the Terminal.

    After the 2015 amendment, Richardson and Metro Vancouver discussed the parameters for air dispersion modelling and whether the ADM Requirement should have been a requirement in the Permit. On March 1, 2019, Metro Vancouver approved Richardson’s air dispersion modelling plan, subject to conditions.

    On July 11, 2019, Richardson applied to amend the Permit by removing the ADM Requirement. On March 31, 2020, the District Director denied Richardson’s application. Richardson appealed the District Director’s decision to the Board.

    Before the appeal was heard by the Board, the parties negotiated an agreement to resolve the appeal. By consent of the parties, the Board reversed the District Director’s decision, amended the Permit by removing the ADM Requirement, and dismissed the appeal.