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 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

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

Most Read