Stewart Bulk Terminals Ltd. is a privately owned and operated port located at the opening of the Portland Canal near the District of Stewart. (District of Stewart photo)

Stewart port terminal, contractor face federal charges for unlawful disposal of dredge material

Charges follow an Environment and Climate Change Canada investigation

Three charges have been laid against Stewart Bulk Terminals Ltd. and Fraser River Pile and Dredge Inc. for illegally disposing of dredge material from the former’s wharf facility in Stewart. 

The charges were laid May 28 by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). The charges state the accused did load the substance onto a structure to dispose of at sea between Feb. 14 and Feb. 21 2015, in violation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (EPA) as investigated by the ECCC.

READ MORE: Northern B.C. port, operator face 10 fisheries violations

Dredging is when silt and other material is removed from the bottom of bodies of water. Vessels need a certain amount of water to float and not touch the bottom when coming into channels and harbours, and the act of dredging can help maintain or increase the depth of navigation channels.

In this case, some bed-levelling was allegedly done when the accused was doing a standard dredging project at the Stewart port on the Portland Canal, according to McMillan law firm partner Melanie Harmer, who is representing Stewart Bulk Terminals in the case.

“When you’re dredging, you move things from higher points on the ocean floor to lower points, so that’s what’s alleged,” Harmer says. “We’re still investigating what happened here.”

Impact concerns regarding the disposal of dredge material vary by project and are often independent of its size, according to ECCC national guidelines.

For example, a disposal site receiving a small quantity (8,000 cubic metres) of dredged sediment each may cause significant concern if there are resource and site-use conflict issues, like potential impacts to a commercial fishery, the guideline notes. In comparison, a larger site receiving 50,000 cubic metres of clean sand may not pose any substantial concerns.

The disposal of any substance into the sea, even on the seabed, in the subsoil of the seabed or onto ice, from a ship, an aircraft, a platform or other structure is not allowed unless a permit is issued by the ECCC’s Disposal at Sea Program. Only a small list of waste or other matter can be considered for disposal. 

READ MORE: UBC fined $1.2 million for releasing chemicals into Fraser River tributary

As the matter is before the courts, an ECCC spokesperson declined to provide further information regarding the case.

If convicted, the accused could face fines of between $15,000 to $1 million for the first offence and/or imprisonment for a maximum of three years.

A summons was issued on June 8 for the accused to appear in court on August 29 at the Stewart Provincial Court, which was followed by a routine appearance on Oct. 22 in Terrace. An arraignment hearing, where the accused will formally enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, is set for Nov. 5 at 9 a.m. at the Terrace courthouse.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New emergency and public alerts system released by the RDBN

This new mass communication system is called Voyent Alert.

“The Great Regional Air Hug” being organized by the Vanderhoof International Airshow Society

A multi-aircraft flyover over the region is being planned for August 15.

Drive-by parade being held for seniors in Vanderhoof

The route covers long-term care homes in the district as well as the hospital.

P.G.’s Barb Ward-Burkitt named new chair of Minister’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Women

A survivor of domestic abuse herself, Ward-Burkitt has served as vice-chair since 2018

Houston mill to re-open June 8

Ends lengthy shutdown which began in March

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read