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Victoria marina approvals challenged in court

Two applications have been filed seeking a judicial review of federal government approvals for a planned mega-yacht marina in Victoria's harbour.

The Esquimalt First Nation and Songhees First Nation filed one application in federal court, while the environmental group the Dogwood Initiative and paddler Tim Houlihan filed the other.

Federal Transport Minister John Baird and Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea gave environmental and navigable waters approvals to the marina without “proper consultation and accommodation,” said the application filed by Esquimalt Chief Andy Thomas and Songhees Chief Robert Sam on behalf of themselves and members of the nations they represent.

It asks for the decisions to be set aside and for Canada to issue a declaration saying it failed to consult with the first nations, and if necessary accommodate them.

The Dogwood and Houlihan application also asks that the decisions be quashed or set aside. The ministers responsible “erred in law and jurisdiction, and breached the rules of natural justice and procedural fairness” in making their decisions, it said.

Community Marine Concepts Ltd. and WAM Development Group have applied to build a 52-slip marina for yachts 20 metres to 41 metres long.

The provincial government is yet to announce whether it will allow the marina to use a publicly owned 2.63 hectare Crown water lot.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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