A Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure contractor is now facing charges almost four years after a job-site chemical spill nearly wiped out the fish population of a West Vancouver creek.
On April 30, 2018 crews from Keller Foundations Inc. were working on a highway project near Horseshoe Bay when water from their cement operation discharged into Larson Creek, killing upwards of 80 cutthroat trout.
After an investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s enforcement branch, the Crown swore two federal Fisheries Act charges against Keller Foundations on Tuesday (April 5).
Documents filed in North Vancouver provincial court, where the case will be heard, show two counts of depositing a deleterious substance in water frequented by fish. One charge is for cement leachate. The other is for grout spoils.
West Vancouver Streamkeepers Society past president John Barker, who had been in touch with federal investigators almost every month since the incident, said he is pleased to see the process of accountability move forward.
“I'm delighted that it's finally come to this. Streamkeepers have been following this for four years,” he said. “Finally, we may see some result that comes out from what we believe was a devastating experience for Larson Creek.”
Barker said he believes the court process will draw a lot of attention.
“A lot of people were aware of it. And a lot of people were quite annoyed,” he said.
At the time of the spill, it was feared the entire population of genetically distinct cutthroat trout were wiped out but, since then, Barker said it is apparent that some survived in tributaries and the creek is showing signs of recovery.
Keller representatives are due for a first appearance in court in May.
A phone message left with Keller’s Canadian legal department Friday afternoon was not immediately returned.