From the Georgia Straight
January 04th - January 11th
Straight Talk,


A Vancouver real-estate developer has written to Premier Ujjal Dosanjh, alleging that a court action filed against the government to protect drinking water is based on "misleading information". The Straight has obtained a copy of the December 27 letter from Texada Land Corporation president Rob Macdonald, who alleged that his company is not logging in the Maxwell Lake watershed on Salt Spring Island. Therefore, Macdonald claimed in the letter, a petition filed in B.C. Supreme Court last month by the Save Salt Spring Society is "premised on flim flam and hyperbole".

The society has often criticized Texada Land Corporation for a massive real-estate development on the island. Last September, the provincial Land Reserve Commission imposed a $13,000 fine on the company for damaging a non-fish-bearing creek in violation of the Private Land Forest Practices Regulation.

The society’s petition, which was filed in the B.C. Supreme Court registry in Victoria on December 6, seeks a court order requiring the B.C. government to take all necessary steps to preserve the drinking-water sources on Salt Spring Island. Alternatively, the society is seeking a court order that the government stop clearcuts on the island until measures are adopted similar to the commercial logging bans in the Victoria and Vancouver watersheds.

To bolster its case, the society has sought a declaration under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that everyone in B.C. has an equal right to the protection of their watersheds as sources for drinking water. "We’re doing it for the whole of B.C.," society president Andrea Collins told the Straight.

Ministry of Attorney General spokesperson Curtis Albertson told the Straight that the society still has not served the government with court documents. Collins said her group hasn’t done this yet because "we wanted to give them a chance to respond and maybe do something."

Macdonald said that if the case proceeds, his company will try to ensure that its arguments are put before the court. "If you only listened to Andrea would think she was the only one who cared about clean drinking water," Macdonald told the Straight.

He added that his company has agreed to sell about 20 hectares of primary watershed property on Mt. Maxwell to the North Salt Spring Waterworks District for the "tremendous deal" of just over $400,000. Collins, however, claimed that all of Mt. Maxwell is a watershed.