Burns Bog court challenge will be heard

Defender wants South Fraser Perimeter Road rerouted, pleased judge considers issue serious

Burns Bog is the largest domed peat bog in western Canada and is sometimes described as the lungs of the Lower Mainland.

Burns Bog is the largest domed peat bog in western Canada and is sometimes described as the lungs of the Lower Mainland.

Defenders of Burns Bog will have to wait until this summer to find out if their court challenge fighting the South Fraser Perimeter Road will succeed.

The lawsuit filed by the Burns Bog Conservation Society against the federal government was to be heard this month has been put off to July 12.

The society wants the court to hit Ottawa with hefty fines, uphold the conservation covenant that protects Burns Bog and force the route of the $1.4-billion truck freeway to be relocated further away from the bog and its sensitive hydrology.

“If this conservation covenant can be set aside and ignored it means there are no conservation covenants in Canada that are safe,” society president Eliza Olson said.

She called the delay frustrating – the northeast third of the perimeter road opens in December and the rest of the 40-kilometre truck route is to be complete by the end of 2013.

But Olson said she’s pleased the federal court judge agreed the lawsuit is not frivolous and raises serious issues that must be heard.

Delta council had previously received legal advice that the covenant could not be used to block the perimeter road or other development beyond the bog footprint on which it applies.

The 2,042-hectare raised peat bog, often dubbed the lungs of the Lower Mainland, is considered an important carbon sink – further damage to it could release trapped carbon and contribute to global warming.