After carefully reviewing the Reasons for Judgment in O.K. Industries v. District of Highlands, 2021 BCSC 81, the District of Highlands has elected to pursue an appeal of the decision including the declarations issued respecting the application of the District’s bylaws to O.K. Industries Ltd.’s proposed quarry site.
On January 20, 2021, the B.C. Supreme Court found that the Province has exclusive jurisdiction over the operation of quarries and that various District bylaws are inapplicable to certain activities authorized by the quarry permit issued by the Chief Inspector of Mines, Energy and Petroleum Resources to O.K. Industries on March 18, 2020. The Court indicated the District’s jurisdiction to regulate the use of O.K. Industries’ property through its bylaws is re-engaged when the quarrying is complete.
The District recognizes that the quarry lands remain important to the Highlands community. The District acknowledges the significance of the Court’s decision and has filed an application to the Court of Appeal.
Timelines for the hearing of the appeal are undetermined at this time.
On January 20, 2021, in O.K. Industries v. District of Highlands, 2021 BCSC 81, the B.C. Supreme Court declared that the District of Highlands’ Official Community Plan including any development permit areas, Zoning Bylaw, Soil Deposit and Removal Bylaw, Blasting Bylaw, Tree Management Bylaw, and Building Bylaw are inapplicable in respect of certain activities authorized by a quarry permit issued by the Chief Inspector of Mines, Energy and Petroleum Resources to O.K. Industries on March 18, 2020.
In October 2020, O.K. Industries began cutting trees on its property in the District that is subject to the quarry permit. The District expressed its view to O.K. Industries that a tree cutting permit is required under the District’s Tree Management Bylaw for certain tree cutting activities in the property. O.K. Industries filed a petition in the B.C. Supreme Court challenging the District’s view and seeking declarations regarding the applicability of various District Bylaws to O.K. Industries’ activities authorized by the quarry permit. The petition was heard by the Court in early December 2020.
In the Court’s Reasons for Judgment, the Court found that the Province has exclusive jurisdiction over the operation of quarries and that the various District Bylaws are inapplicable to O.K. Industries’ activities authorized by the quarry permit to the extent those activities fall within the definition of “mine” or “mining activity” under the Mines Act. The Court found that the District’s jurisdiction to regulate the use of the O.K. Industries’ property through its Bylaws is re-engaged when the quarrying activities are complete.
The District intends to carefully review the Reasons for Judgment and consider its options.
In June 2017 the District received a notice of referral from the Province in respect to a Mines Act Permit application for OK Industries Ltd. for its property located on Millstream Road (Lot 1, Section 5, Range 3 West, Highland District, Plan VIP70242).
Authority for issuance of the permit lies with the Provincial Government, however, part of the application process includes referring the application to the affected local government among other possible agencies.
The report to Council from the Chief Administrative Office in June 2017 is attached here:
Council responded to the notice from the Province, the correspondence can be found here:
In May 2018 Council requested staff submit a Freedom of Information request to provincial ministries regarding the Mines Act Permit application. The minutes of that meeting regarding the request can be found here:
The District of Highlands received the final response to the FOI application in July 2018 from the ministries which can be found here:
In February 2019 Council requested staff submit a second Freedom of Information request to provincial ministries regarding additional information which may have been submitted to the province from the applicant. The minutes of that meeting regarding the second request can be found here:
The District of Highlands received the final response to the second FOI application in April 2019 which can be found here:
In April 2019 Council was copied on the Environmental Effects and Mitigation Report submitted to the Province by OK Industries Limited. This is a very large report and cannot be posted online, however it is available at the District of Highlands office for viewing.
In May 2019 Council sent a letter to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources which can be found here:
In May 2019 OK Industries Ltd. held a public open house on their Mines Act Permit application. Should any member of the public like to see the information provided by OK Industries Ltd. please contact staff at 250-474-1773.
In June 2019 Council directed staff to write to the Province regarding the Mines Act Permit application. The letter can be found here:
Also during this time staff submitted a request (which became an FOI request) with the Province for the public comments collected at the May 2019 public open house held by OK Industries Ltd. The District received those redacted comments in late August 2019. Those comments may be viewed here.
In March 2020, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources issued a Mines Act Permit for the OK Industries property on Millstream Road in Highlands.
Please see a copy of the permit and related documents here.
In August 2020, Council directed staff to write to the Minister of Mines, Energy and Petroleum Resources, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and the District’s MLA, with a copy to the CRD, regarding contaminant migration to 1980 Millstream Road in relation to the Millstream Meadows remediation. The letter is available here: