Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau being sued by Cobble Hill Holdings over statements made about owners. (File photo)

MLA Furstenau being sued by contaminated soil site owners

Furstenau, MLA for the Cowichan Valley, sued over comments made about owners in a speech

Sonia Furstenau believes there’s no merit behind the legal suit Cobble Hill Holdings has filed against her.

But Furstenau, the Green MLA for the Cowichan Valley, said she has acquired legal council to defend her against the lawsuit by the owners of the now closed contaminated soil landfill near Shawnigan Lake.

“The only thing that matters to me was to protect the drinking water of the people in that area,” she said.

“I can’t say much more than that now that this is before the courts and it’s up to the courts as to how to proceed, but I see no merit to this lawsuit.”

Cobble Hill Holding’s Michael Kelly and Martin Block filed the lawsuit with the B.C. Supreme Court last week.

The suit alleges that Furstenau “falsely and maliciously” spoke about the business partners during a rally at the legislature lawns in Victoria around March 15, 2015.

The suit claims that Furstenau’s speech seriously injured the partners’ character, credit and reputation, and caused them damages.

Kelly and Block are seeking general damages, social damages, punitive damages, aggravated damages, removal of the speech from Furstenau’s website, a public apology and special costs.

Furstanau has 21 days to respond to the civil claim.

Cobble Hill Holdings also filed suit in B.C. Supreme Court in August against the province and former Environment Minister Mary Polak, who is still the Liberal MLA for Langley.

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The company said at the time that it is seeking general damages, special damages, aggravated damages, punitive damages, special costs and any other relief the court “may deem fit to grant” against the government and Polak.

No amounts were specified other than “to be assessed.”

Kelly and Block said in an interview with the Citizen in March that the company is out approximately $20 million after Polak pulled its operating permit last February, and they intended to sue to recover some or all of their financial investment into the project.

The company’s permit had allowed the site to receive and store up to 100,000 tonnes of contaminated soil a year.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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