March 29, 2010

Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network versus City of Langford

Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network versus City of Langford
Press conference: Monday, March 22, 1:00 pm
BC Supreme Court, 850 Burdett St, Victoria
Hearing will last two to three days starting Monday.

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."

Blunt asks, "Why does Langford want to build more developments, when
they can't even finish the ones they've started? Whose interests are
being served here?"

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.

Forest Action Network charges 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

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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