Sierra Club Comox Valley debt put into context

Dear editor,

On July 31, the Comox Valley Regional District board of directors passed the following incorrect motion:

Dear editor,

On July 31, the Comox Valley Regional District board of directors passed the following incorrect motion:

“That the Comox Valley Regional District advise the Sierra Club of Canada that it requires payment in full regarding the Sierra Club v. CVRD (Gas N Go) decision as directed by the British Columbia courts.”

We cannot understand why the board passed this motion — nor why they created a media splash by putting the announcement of the decision on their agenda for the Aug. 28 meeting.

This wording makes it sound like the board had no option but to pursue “payment in full” under the direction of the court.  But that is not what the court said.

The court did not stipulate that Sierra Club Canada was responsible for “payment in full.” It stipulated no amount. Precisely, what the BC Supreme Court determined was: “Both respondents will have an order for costs.”

SCC’s counsel at the time negotiated a settlement with the respondents regarding what it would pay in costs to the respondents.

By way of background, in the summer of 2009 Sierra Club Canada filed a suit against Gas N Go Petroleum North Ltd. and the Comox Valley Regional District in regard to the Gas N Go station on the Dyke Road.

The local Sierra Club Canada group, Sierra Club Canada – Comox Valley, agreed it would take on the management of the litigation and fundraising to cover any legal fees and possible costs awards, as SCC had and has no discretionary funding for litigation. It must all be fundraised.

With the help of West Coast Environmental Law, SCCV paid the lawyer fees for the initial court costs and the appeal. After losing the decisions, we inherited a negotiated debt of $37,000 plus related interest: $18,500 to Gas N Go Petroleum North and $18,500 to the regional district.

To this point we have been paying off Gas No Go and the regional district in monthly amounts: $500 a month to Gas N Go and $100 a month to the CVRD plus interest until Gas No Go is paid off and then $500 a month plus interest. We have $3,000 remaining on our debt to Gas N Go and $16,500 owing to CVRD plus interest.

To date, including interest, we have paid out a little over $18,000. We have no outside sources of funding. All of this money has come from the people of the Comox Valley — and for this we are very grateful.

Unfortunately, the toxic atmosphere created by the federal and provincial government in regard to environmental groups and donor fatigue, has made fundraising extremely difficult.

Faced with this changed situation, we decided to do what any business or non-profit organization would do — we tried to negotiate a revised agreement on costs payable to CVRD.

CVRD is completely free to accept or decline a new settlement on costs. We offered all we could afford — a lump sum payment of $5000 as a full and final settlement of the costs. The CVRD turned us down.

Given the position of the CVRD, we are asking the folks in the Comox Valley to continue to be generous and help us get out from under this financial burden so we can focus completely on protecting this beautiful valley from coal mines and this province from a pipeline and tankers down the coast.

Mike Bell

Editor’s note: Mike Bell is the co-chair of Sierra Club Comox Valley.

Just Posted

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue does four-hour search after kayak report

Public is reminded to contact officials if they ever have to abandon a watercraft

Little Brown Bat, Cori Lausen image
Puntledge River bats being studied

Project will use ultrasonic data to collect information on species and habitat

A 30x40 ft boat/car shop in the Little River area near Wilkinson Road was fully involved by the time firefighters arrived on scene. Photo by Comox Fire Rescue
Comox firefighters battle ‘showy’ shop fire Saturday night

Smoke could be seen throughout the Comox Valley

ROAM Media’s Ian Adams designed the label for the new honey ale. Image supplied
Church St., Ace combine on a true Comox Valley brew

The taphouse has Home Buoy on tap, and it’s also in cans

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Island man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-month-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Most Read