British Columbia Supreme Court Confirms Site Profile Opt-Out Means No Development Freeze

In Gibsons Alliance of Business and Community Society v. Town of Gibsons, 2018 BCSC 448, the court has confirmed for those local governments who have opted-out of receiving site profiles under s. 4(4) of the Contaminated Sites Regulation that the “development freeze” in section 557(2) of the Local Government Act does not apply to those local governments.

Most, if not all, local governments had already proceeded with this understanding but this lawsuit seeking to cancel three development permits challenged this long-standing protocol. In this regard, the Court concluded:

The crux of this petition is whether the s. 557(2) LGA prohibition applies to the Town. I have decided that it does not. This case has nothing to do with s. 40(1)(b) of the EMA because, in 1997, the Town filed a notice under s. 4(4) of the CSR that it did not wish to receive site profiles, and it has no procedures for accepting, vetting or forwarding them to the Director. Gibsons property owners, or people who have an interest in property there, are under no duty to provide site profiles to the Town. Instead, they must send them directly to the Director under s. 40(2) of EMA.

As a result, the Court upheld the three development permits issued by the Town to the developer finding no development freeze applied.

Reece Harding

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