Work can begin on a Highlands rock quarry mine after the BC Supreme Court denied an application from the Highlands District Community Association (HDCA) attempting to stop work from starting before an upcoming judicial review slated for next month.
HDCA applied for a temporary injunction on Aug. 31 after learning OK Industries (OKI) was planning to start clearing trees and building an access road on the 65-acre plot of land, preparing the property to be mined. HDCA has been against the mine since it was first purposed in 2016, mounting an online social media campaign and garnering thousands of signatures for a community petition.
OKI was issued a quarry permit last March. A month later HDCA filed a petition seeking a judicial review into the issuance of the quarry permit.
OKI plans to start the first phase of its quarry operation under the permit in May 2021, but prior to starting actual quarry operations an access and haul road will need to be built, which includes clearing trees and stump grinding, along with removing soil, sand and gravel found above the bedrock.
The permit lays out a number of conditions as to how OKI can conduct business. One of the conditions is that vegetation clearing must occur outside nesting periods from March 1 to Aug. 31 and all grubbing, grinding and stripping must be completed between October and February.
According to a judgment posted online on Friday, Sept. 18, OKI needs to begin work soon otherwise it will not be able to start the first phase of the quarry operation at the anticipated time.
OKI plans to crush the rocks from the quarry into aggregate, used to make asphalt mix.
Justice Gordon Funt said he saw “little, if any, irreparable harm” to the HDCA prior to the start of the actual quarrying, adding that it “does not appear to have a strong case.”
“OKI will suffer irreparable harm if the site preparation activities cannot be undertaken prior to the planned May 2021 start of Phase 1 quarrying. In all of the circumstances of the case, it is not just and equitable to grant the injunction,” reads his judgment.
A judicial review is to take place from Oct. 19 to 22 in Vancouver.