Sierra Club Comox Valley has trouble paying off debts

The Sierra Club of Canada owes $18,500 each to Gas N Go and the Comox Valley Regional District, as negotiated by lawyers after an unsuccessful legal challenge against the development on Dyke Road.

Sierra Club filed the suit in 2009. The Comox Valley branch of the organization assumed management of the litigation and fundraising to cover legal fees and possible cost awards.

The organization feels the location of the gas station poses environmental risks to the Courtenay River estuary. It also cites heavy traffic on a narrow road among its reasons for opposing the project.

On Tuesday, the CVRD board resolved to garner full payment from the Sierra Club, which had offered a lump sum of $5,000 as a final settlement. The regional district declined the offer.

According to the CVRD, the cost of successfully defending the Gas N Go development came to $72,512. Once the court directed the club to pay the costs, lawyers determined settlement amounts based on a tariff mandated by court rules — which resulted in the club being required to pay back $18,500 to the CVRD.

The Sierra Club is paying both parties in monthly installments. It has $3,000 remaining on its Gas N Go debt and $16,500 owing to the CVRD plus interest.

"We have no outside sources of funding," Sierra Club Comox Valley co-chair Mike Bell states in a letter. "All of this money has come from the people of the Comox Valley — and for this we are very grateful."

The K’ómoks First Nation had also filed a petition against the CVRD, claiming the regional district breached its duty to consult with them about the gas station. The band withdrew the legal action.

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