Judge orders contentious Shawnigan sawmill closed

The Cowichan Valley Regional District wins case to halt residential operation

The Cowichan Valley Regional District has won its case against a commercial sawmill operation in Shawnigan Lake.

The CVRD had petitioned the Supreme Court of British Columbia for an injunction to prevent the owners of a Shawnigan Lake Road property from operating a commercial sawmill there.

The CVRD announced Wednesday afternoon that “in the decision of Cowichan Valley (Regional District) v. Stack, Justice Baird agreed with the CVRD’s primary argument and concluded, ‘In my view the CVRD is 100 per cent correct in taking the position that commercial sawmilling and the storage and distribution of wood products, which together are clearly the company’s main functions, are not permitted in an R-2 Residential zone’.”

Baird did allow the property owners to do sawmilling to provide construction materials for permitted improvements to the property, but ordered the owners to immediately cease and desist any commercial sawmilling activity on the property and to pay costs to the CVRD.

“The CVRD is pleased with the outcome of this case,” said Ian Morrison, chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional District. “The ruling reinforces the fact that property owners have an obligation to be respectful of local zoning in relation to the use of their property. Resolution through the courts is costly for everyone involved. The CVRD will continue to pursue enforcement of its bylaws through other means, referring matters to court as a last resort.”

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