A third lawsuit against the District of Sechelt over bylaws allowing Target Marine Hatcheries to process sturgeon for caviar on site was heard in Victoria Supreme Court on Sept. 4.
The lawsuit was filed on Aug. 7 by Tillicum Bay resident Shirley Kuciuk who wants to see the bylaws struck down and the fish processing halted, which was the outcome of two previous lawsuits she was involved in.
“Ms. Kuciuk’s lawyer and our lawyer appeared, it was in Victoria. I guess that’s because that’s where her lawyer is based and they had the hearing, and the judge has indicated he’ll provide his ruling by the end of October,” said Sechelt Mayor John Henderson.
The hearing took place just shy of a month from when Kuciuk filed the petition.
“We took the view that this is something that has gone on long enough, and for the best of Sechelt we wanted it addressed. So we asked the court to give us an early date. They were able to do so and so the hearing was held,” Henderson added.
He said the District’s lawyer denied Kuciuk’s claims that information about wastewater treatment should have been included in documents pertaining to the bylaws and that not enough consultation was done.
“The wastewater treatment, my understanding is that it’s regulated by the Ministry of Environment, that it is a provincial matter. So how it’s being handled is really outside of our mandate. We’ve had extensive consultation and it’s our view that it was more than adequate for the purposes that council deemed necessary,” Henderson said.
He said council would abide by whatever ruling the judge gives and he wouldn’t comment on whether the District would start the process to approve the bylaws over again if the court strikes them down.
“The issue remains that the Sechelt citizens have spoken in a referendum, council has reviewed this with an open mind, this council on two occasions, and we’ll have to make sure that we abide by the ruling of the court,” Henderson said. “What really matters is that we get on with the rest of our lives. It’s time for Sechelt to focus on the wonderful things we have here in Sechelt, and I would like for everyone to focus on putting their energies into making Sechelt even better.”
Kuciuk’s lawyer is away on holidays until October and could not comment on the case this week. Kuciuk did not return phone calls by press time Thursday morning.