Environmental Law Alert Blog: Wading into the science on sea level rise – BC lags behind

Thursday, May 18, 2017 If you’ve been following BC’s sea-level woes extra closely, you’ll know that planning for a sea-level increase of “1 metre by 2100” has become a kind of mantra for local governments and others responsible for planning and readying our communities. While a one metre increase in sea-level rise may seem substantial, ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: 2017: A Look Ahead to Protect Nature, Climate and Communities

Thursday, January 5, 2017 Check out our short video to meet some of our talented lawyers and see what we're most excited about for 2017! From providing legal aid for communities to defend their environment, to revitalizing Indigenous laws, and holding fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in climate change – this year the ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: 2017: A Look Ahead

Thursday, January 5, 2017 Check out our short video to meet some of our talented lawyers and see what we're most excited about for 2017! From providing legal aid for communities to defend their environment, to revitalizing Indigenous laws, and holding fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in climate change – this year the ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Caring for the Salish Sea

Monday, December 19, 2016 At West Coast we’re buckling down to protect the Salish Sea, the global atmosphere, and future generations – a journey that will take us through 2017 and likely well beyond.  My colleague Eugene Kung has described the new phase of efforts to stop the Kinder Morgan expansion. At the same time, we are ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Lawn care company explains why poor environmental enforcement creates an uneven playing field

Monday, April 11, 2016 Poor enforcement of environmental laws doesn’t just hurt our environment, and communities that depend on that environment. It also hurts law-abiding businesses – businesses that find themselves having to compete against counterparts who flout the law.  Poor enforcement of environmental laws doesn’t just hurt our environment, and communities that depend on ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: This is Canada’s weather on climate change, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. Any questions?

Thursday, March 3, 2016 It’s amazing how invisible climate change can be – how we feel immune from the consequences of what seems like a vague, global challenge.  We think that climate change only occurs in far off climate-vulnerable nations. Which is why some may be surprised that Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer predicts that extreme ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: West Coast demands reinstatement of illegally fired ALC Chair – and we encourage you to do so, as well

Monday, June 15, 2015 On May 14, 2015, nearly seven months before the designated end of his term, the BC Cabinet terminated Richard Bullock from his position as Chair of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) without warning.  Last week, West Coast wrote to the provincial government suggesting that Mr. Bullock’s termination was illegal and asking ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Tsleil-Waututh Nation: “Yes” to solar; “No” to Kinder Morgan

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 I was honoured to attend the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s (TWN) launch and celebration of its new solar tracker. With the installation of TWN’s solar tracker, TWN signaled that the green energy future is now. Far more than just opposing a pipeline that threatens their culture and spirituality while facilitating the expansion of ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Squamish boreholes and FortisBC’s sleight of hand

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 A number of people have recently contacted us about a legal controversy that has emerged in Squamish concerning FortisBC and its plans to drill five boreholes in the ecologically vulnerable Squamish River Estuary.  FortisBC, which wants to build a pipeline for natural gas to supply to the proposed (and also controversial) ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: West Coast and NWI Launch North Coast Community Dialogue Session Series on LNG and Cumulative Impacts Management

Thursday, December 18, 2014 On December 11, West Coast Environmental Law, along with the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research (NWI), co-hosted the first of a series of community dialogue sessions on LNG and cumulative impacts management.  We held the opening session in Prince Rupert last week and were moved by the depth of knowledge, thoughtfulness ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: RISING to the challenge and protecting our communities and our coastlines

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 RISE, a recent competition organized by Simon Fraser University, asked entrants to come up with a visionary solution to make the greater Vancouver area more resilient to sea level rise. West Coast Environmental Law teamed up with DG Blair from the BC Stewardship Centre and Cathy LeBlanc, a senior planner at ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Foresters, biologists, planners take on the “fundamental impacts” of Climate Change

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 Governments and businesses rely heavily on the advice of professionals on a wide range of environmental, resource management and land use planning decisions. That’s why it’s critical that the professionals who are making key decisions about our ecosystems and the evolution of our communities know about current climate science, and incorporate ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Why amendments to Bill 24 don’t protect agricultural land

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 Thank you to everyone who spoke up to oppose Bill 24 – the proposed Agricultural Land Commission Amendment Act, 2014.  Your voices played an important role in slowing the progress of this bill and in convincing the government that changes to the Bill were necessary. So we have momentum.  But unfortunately ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: The government invites you to “adjust” BC’s park laws

Friday, April 4, 2014 It’s generally bad news for the environment & democracy when the government rewrites laws at the request of an industry.  But when it comes to provincial parks, the BC government has gone one step further, and actually has an official policy setting out how industry should go about proposing legislative amendments. ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: How Pioneer Forest was saved

Thursday, February 20, 2014 In June 2012 word went around our community that Pioneer Forest park – heavily used from 1966 – was going to be sold. The information about the pending sale of the park found its way to some concerned citizens who were not about to let this happen. We engaged Patrick Canning, ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Park Amendment bill paves the way for industrial exploration?

Friday, February 14, 2014 The BC Parks Service says that the provincial parks and conservancies are a “public trust” for the “protection of natural environments for the inspiration, use and enjoyment of the public.” These noble sentiments are difficult to square with Bill 4, the “Park Amendment Act, 2014”, introduced yesterday (Thursday, February 13th) into ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: On a “recycling facility”, Hazardous Waste and the Fraser River

Friday, February 7, 2014 Tuesday night (February 4th) the City of Chilliwack passed a bylaw intended to allow the development of a controversial hazardous waste recycling facility immediately adjacent to the Fraser River.  That’s a mistake on so many levels – but the law allows local governments to make mistakes. But the law does require ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Say no to cosmetic pesticide use

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 It was only two years ago that Premier Christie Clark promised that the province would ban cosmetic pesticide use– pesticide use on lawns and ornamental plants.  But much has happened in a year, and the province is instead currently consulting on regulations that will allow cosmetic pesticide use – as long ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Will local government election rules silence the public?

Monday, October 21, 2013 Local government elections should be about communities discussing their problems, and electing people who will address those problems.  Making a home-made lawn-sign or printing a few leaflets should be a basic right.  Unfortunately, major changes being considered for the Local Government Act would require not just big-moneyed advertisers, but just about ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Should water managers put their head in the sand about climate change, or not?

Friday, October 11, 2013 Recently West Coast Staff Lawyer, Deborah Carlson, spoke to the Climate Change Committee of the BC Water and Waste Association (BCWWA) about whether local governments and professionals dealing with water management more or less likely to be sued if they seriously examine for climate impacts. The answer should be obvious, but ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: No one should have to worry about their children playing in the grass

Monday, April 22, 2013 We’re asking all political parties to support banning the use, sale and retail display of cosmetic pesticides used on public and private lands – something only the provincial government has the power to do.  How can you help? Spread the word, share this blog post with your friends, email BC’s party ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: No one should have to worry about their children playing in the grass

Monday, April 22, 2013 We’re asking all political parties to support banning the use, sale and retail display of cosmetic pesticides used on public and private lands – something only the provincial government has the power to do.  How can you help? Spread the word, share this blog post with your friends, email BC’s party ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Privatizing Salmon Protection: The Failure of the Riparian Areas Regulation

Thursday, March 28, 2013 In BC, key protection for fish habitat is supposed to be provided by the Riparian Areas Regulation (RAR) – a law intended to ensure that residential and other development is set back from the waterways that provide critical fish habitat on lands regulated by local governments. Unfortunately, this law is not ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Municipality without people is a Jumbo of a problem

Monday, March 11, 2013 When is a municipality not a municipality? When no one lives there.  West Coast Environmental Law is proud to support the West Kootenay Ecosociety in their challenge to the the Jumbo Glacier Resort Mountain Municipality – a “municipality” without people, with a mayor and council appointed by the cabinet, created to ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Time to turn our transportation pyramid right-side up

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 Copenhagen is the world’s poster-child for bicycle-friendly transportation.   But that’s partly because they have aggressive goals for what transportation should look like.  Check out Copenhagen’s Transportation Pyramid, which prioritizes biking and walking over all other modes of transportation.  In essence the Copenhagen Transportation Pyramid turns North American upside-down transportation planning right-side ...