Nanoose Bay Expropriation
Peace and public interest activists are
disappointed over the recent
Federal Court of Appeal decision to reverse last year’s Federal Court
that had overturned the 1999 expropriation of the Nanoose torpedo test
”Mr Justice Evans of the Appeal Court agreed with SPEC
that there was a breach in the original expropriation procedure,” said
Coast Environmental Law Association staff lawyer Andrew Gage.
the Appeal Court did not agree
with the 2002 ruling of Mr Justice Campbell that the breach was
serious for the court to overturn the expropriation. Obviously we are
disappointed with the result.”
In March 2002, Federal Court Justice Douglas Campbell had ruled in
favour of an
appeal by the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation and
1999 expropriation. Campbell decided that the
officer in charge of the expropriation hearings had not given
to a significant number of citizens groups and individuals to make
presentations at the public hearings. Nor did his report fairly
level of opposition expressed by thousands of British Columbians
opposed to the
presence of US nuclear capable warships at Nanoose.
Ottawa launched the
1999 Nanoose expropriation after former BC Premier Glen Clark refused
a lease of the underwater weapons range unless the US Navy provided
that no nuclear warheads would be brought into BC waters. Although its
negotiators originally agreed to this condition, Ottawa later refused
and launched the first ever hostile expropriation of provincial land.
Since its establishment in 1965 as a branch of the US Navy’s Keyport, Washington underwater
weapons facility, Nanoose has primarily been used by US nuclear weapons
warships as a testing ground before proceeding to stations across the Pacific Ocean. The base has
also sparked numerous protests by peace and environmental groups
opposed to the
potential presence of nuclear weapons in BC. They are also concerned
at Nanoose that result in the dumping of tons of lead, copper wire,
other toxic materials into fish bearing waters of Georgia Strait.
In 1996 the Federal Court rejected a SPEC challenge of a decision by
Environment Minister Sheila Copps to exempt US warships from Canadian
environmental regulations that prohibit the dumping of toxic materials
fish bearing waters.
SPEC will consult with legal council before deciding whether to appeal