Alberni opponent applies heat to coal issue

Government officials met with some but not all stakeholder groups, Raven underground coal mine critics say.

Numerous organizations are calling on senior government officials for a rigorous environmental assessment of the proposed Raven underground coal mine in Baynes Sound, complete with a broad-based public consultation process.

Their demand was prompted by the release of the Application Information Requirements (AIR) — a major part of Compliance Energy’s bid to establish coal mining operations on Vancouver Island.

“This proposed mine puts at risk many of the things that Vancouver Islanders value, such as our productive salmon runs, tourism base and the Baynes Sound shellfish industry,” said John Snyder of CoalWatch Comox Valley.

“There have been overwhelming concerns regarding the project, and it is imperative that the environmental assessment process creates space for meaningful public dialogue.”

In what they call an “unusual move,” the coalition of trade unions, community and environment groups said government representatives met with Courtenay and Port Alberni residents to garner feedback about the structure of a coming public comment period for the mine.

While certain groups were invited, some were also notable by their absence.

“We are concerned that many community organizations in Port Alberni were not invited to the meeting,” said Maggie Paquet, a director of the Citizens’ Stewardship Coalition in Port Alberni, who notes 28 groups from “both sides of the hump” signed a letter to government.

“The repercussions to public health and fisheries are among just two important issues that we could face if we became a coal port town. Imagine what would happen if we had two small mountains of coal in the harbour and another tsunami came up the inlet?”

The letter recommends ways to remove barriers to participate in the public comment process. The groups, for instance, would like to see improved systems for submitting and tracking comments, and a full schedule of five public town hall meetings.

The proposed project is undergoing a federal and provincial environmental review that includes four public comment periods.

“The fact that over 1,800 people made submissions during the federal government’s public comment period for the environmental assessment, and the diverse array of community groups that are signing on to this letter, including the BC Shellfish Growers Association and the Port Alberni and District Labour Council, gives you a sense of how widespread concern about Raven is all over the Island,” said Tria Donaldson, Pacific Coast campaigner of the Wilderness Committee.

“It is crucial that the public gets an adequate opportunity to voice their concerns.”

According to Compliance Coal Corporation, studies indicate the mine could create 200 construction jobs, 335 full-time mine, port and transportation jobs, and another 500 indirect jobs in and around Port Alberni and the Comox Valley.

Raven Project CEO John Tapics has said the average employee would make about $100,000 a year, including benefits.

Just Posted

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
B.C. teen who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Dry Creek Park will be closed all week as city parks crews remove hazardous trees and prepare the site for a new disc golf course. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni’s second disc golf course on the way at Dry Creek Park

Dry Creek Park will be closed for development for a week beginning June 21

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Bernadette Jordan addresses the media following a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on January 14, 2019. Jordan says the government will provide $2 million to allow First Nations to continue to strengthen the marine safety system across Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
First Nations receive federal funds to purchase marine rescue boats

Quatsino, Heiltsuk, and Kitasoo First Nation’s among eight across Canada to receive funding

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

Most Read