Burns Bog Conservation Law Suit Filed
FRIDAY JULY 13th 2012, DELTA, B.C. - Finally, We got to say our piece through our lawyer Jay Straith. The Crown’s lawyer led off with her reasons why the Society had no standing to sue the Federal Government over its failure to uphold the Conservation Covenant on Burns Bog in regards to the South Fraser Perimeter Road.
The Feds are trying to say that because their name is not on any of the properties that they are not responsible for what happens to the Conservation Area.
Besides the $25million, the Federal Government paid the nominal fee of $2.00 to ensure standing as an equal partner on the Conservation Covenant management team and scientific advisory panel.
When it was our lawyer’s turn he pointed out that the Federal government was involved because it had given $25 million of taxpayers’ money towards the purchase and it had directed that the covenant and that a management plan be set up even though it did not have its name on any of the property.
When the judge asked if our lawyer had any precedent cases to cite, Jay said, “no” because there were none as this was the first time that a conservation covenant had been challenged in the courts and our case was precedent setting.
The Crown’s lawyer seemed to have difficulty refuting some of our lawyer’s arguments. She relied on non-environmental precedents and some USA judgements. Our lawyer relied on Canadian law and Westminster law from which our common laws come.
Judge Russell reserved judgement. He did not give a date when he will render his judgement. We are guessing that it will be sometime in September.
Some of the things working in our favour are our constitution, our longevity (24 years this fall), our education programs and the professional way we have conducted ourselves over the years.
A special thanks to Jay Straith for taking our case and to Andrew Gage and West Coast Environmental Law for supporting us. Regardless of what happens we will make history. Let’s hope that whatever happens, it’s a win for the Bog and Mother Earth. As Jay says, what happens to Burns Bog will have an impact on future generations.