An extensive investigation by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC) into a possible conflict of interest related to a contaminated soil facility near Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island has reached a conclusion.
The investigation determined that, in the matter of conflict of interest, there were no reasonable or probable grounds to believe that any of the five professionals employed by Active Earth Engineering (AEE) demonstrated unprofessional conduct or contravened the APEGBC Code of Ethics in providing professional technical services to the operator of the facility, South Island Aggregates/Cobble Hill Holdings (SIA/CHH).
The association’s investigation included analyzing the role that the AEE professionals performed in the permitting process and the nature of the financial relationship between AEE and SIA/CCH. Extensive evidence was considered, including documents submitted by the complainants, public documents, affidavits, interviews, AEE’s internal and external communications, the decision of the Environmental Appeal Board and the judicial review.
The investigation began in July 2015 following multiple complaints from the public alleging that the AEE professionals were in an undisclosed conflict of interest in providing professional technical services to SIA/CHH while also taking an ownership interest in the project.
The investigation determined that AEE’s potential ownership interest was disclosed to the Ministry of Environment early on in the approval process. The Ministry of Environment Delegate advised AEE that he was not concerned that it would be improper, from the Ministry of Environment’s perspective, for them to serve as “Qualified Professionals” for the permitting process while at the same time having an ownership interest in the project. The investigation also determined that, although a joint venture between AEE and SIA/CHH was discussed over a period of time, no agreement was ever reached.
“As the regulator for engineering and geoscience in BC, APEGBC takes its duty to uphold the ethical standards of the professions seriously,” said Chief Regulatory Officer Tony Chong. “Protecting public safety is our number one priority. In this case, we are confident our robust investigation process worked in the public interest.”
Founded in 1920, APEGBC is the regulatory and licensing body for the professions of engineering and geoscience and is charged with protecting the public interest. With over 33,000 members, APEGBC is one of the largest professional associations in BC and maintains high academic, experience and professional practice standards. All disciplinary decisions are posted on APEGBC’s website.
Shawnigan Lake Investigation Backgrounder
For more information, contact:
Director, Communications & Stakeholder Engagement