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Tuesday in Court Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network versus City of Langford PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Sunday, 21 March 2010 18:10
Tuesday in Court Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network versus City of Langford

Tuesday March 23, at BC Supreme Court in Victoria (850 Burdett.) 10 am to 12:30, 2 pm to 4:30. 

We won the first round against Langford at the hearing to overturn the South Skirt Mountain bylaw today. Lawyers for the landowners and the city tried every possible way to discredit the petitioners - the Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network and me. But our lawyers Irene Faulkner and Robin Gage beat back their weasel tactics and the judge agreed with us, so we advance to Round Two tomorrow,

Monday March 22
Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network versus City of Langford

- Zoe Blunt -Langford is pulling last-minute legal tricks, trying to get the case dismissed on the grounds that there is no public interest at stake. Come on out and show the judge your public interest!

BC Supreme Court, 850 Burdett St, Victoria, 10-12:30 and 2-4 pm, Mon-Tues (and maybe Wednesday) Come early to get a good seat.
Press conference: Monday, March 22, 1:00 pm (Friends and supporters, please join me on the courthouse steps. Bring umbrellas!)

Environmental group's Supreme Court case challenges Langford development

"This case is not just about challenging the destruction of natural
heritage," says Zoe Blunt, VIC FAN director. "We're challenging how
they go about doing it – the tactics and strategies they use. This
case is about putting a stop to these abuses of power."

"Three years ago, we started looking at what Langford is doing -- encouraging development that destroys habitat and indigenous sites. Now we're going to the heart of how they do it -- their methods and tactics," Blunt says. "The people of Langford are being abused by the people who are supposed to represent them.. Whose interests are they serving?"

More than a year after the mayor of Langford "berated, bullied and
browbeat" speakers at a public hearing, the BC Supreme Court will hear
a petition for Judicial Review of the South Skirt Mountain development
bylaw. The petition asks the Supreme Court to quash the bylaw for
violations of the Local Government Act. The hearing is expected to
last two to three days beginning March 22.

"Across Vancouver Island, people are demanding meaningful consultation and accommodation before developments are approved," Blunt says. "We hope this case sends a strong message to the whole region: you can't shut the public out of planning and you can't ignore heritage values."  

Forest Action Network is charging Langford City Council with multiple
abuses of the public trust, including:

1) Non-disclosure of documents related to the development's
environmental impacts, heritage values, and infrastructure

2) Public hearings tainted by verbal abuse and interruptions by the
mayor, councillors, and pro-development onlookers.

3) Suppression of information about the Spencer Road Interchange (also
known as the Bear Mountain Interchange).


THE PETITIONERS -- Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network
(VIC FAN) and Zoe Blunt (using my "real" non-pen-name, Tracie Park.)

THE RESPONDENTS -- City of Langford, Totangi Properties, Goldstream
Heights Properties, Bear Mountain Parkway Estates, South Skirt
Mountain Village, and Clara Kramer (intervenor)

THE LAND -- Skirt Mountain (also known as SPAET Mountain) home to
abundant wildlife, rare ecosystems, wildflower meadows, seasonal
creeks and indigenous cultural sites. The South Skirt Mountain
properties are bounded by Bear Mountain Resort to the north, the
TransCanada Highway and the half-built Spencer Interchange to the
south, Goldstream Provincial Park to the west, and Florence Lake to
the east.

- Do local officials have the right to "berate, bully and browbeat"
citizens at a public hearing? Does verbal abuse taint due process?

- Is the city required to disclose reports and assessments relating to
a development's impacts on environment, heritage, and infrastructure?

- What's more important when planning growth -- private profits or the
public interest?

Join us at BC Supreme Court in Victoria March 22 and 23, or tune in
from home. Your support and participation are more than welcome! Send
comments to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Big thanks to everyone who helped bring this case forward – including
all who contributed to our year-long fundraising drive. We are
especially grateful to the Environmental Law Centre at UVic, West
Coast Environmental Law, the Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund,
and lawyers Irene Faulkner and Robin Gage. Thank you!

Zoe Blunt
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