The British Columbia Supreme Court has rejected a bid by a native band to halt the expansion of the Cache Creek landfill, where most of Metro Vancouver's garbage is dumped. The decision allows Vancouver to continue sending its garbage to the landfill site for at least two more years.
The landfill, which opened in 1989, was scheduled to close in 2010. After that, Metro Vancouver planned to start shipping its garbage to the United States while it worked out a longer-term solution. However, in its Throne Speech last month, the provincial government said it would refuse to allow the export of garbage.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Environment approved a 40-hectare annex to the landfill, which would extend its life until 2012 and give Vancouver more time to solve its garbage woes.
However, in a suit filed earlier this month, the Nlaka'pamux Nation argued that the province had neglected its legal and constitutional duty to consult the first nation group about the expansion.
A Supreme Court judge rejected the claim, arguing that the province's Environment Assessment Office has properly consulted the band.
"Because I have concluded that the [Environmental Assessment Office]had made a genuine offer of consultation and has recognized its duty to consult and endeavour to accommodate, it would be inappropriate to make the alternative declarations sought," Supreme Court Justice Robert Sewell wrote in his decision, released Thursday.
Environment Minister Barry Penner said he was pleased. The decision "confirms the environmental assessment process is appropriate," he said.
A broader expansion of the landfill site will continue to be studied, he said, but in the meantime his officials have granted the permit for the extension. "It gives Metro some breathing room," Mr. Penner said. "They don't have to rely on incineration. There may be other options."