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

Kids help Alberni Aquarium build rockfish luminary for next exhibit

Swimming For Change takes over in time for spring break

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

Port Alberni council looking at nearly 4% tax increase for 2019

Policing, bridge rehabilitation and impending cruise ship visits all jostling for funding

Fashion Fridays: Must have wardrobe basics

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death has not been released

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Australian woman killed in avalanche at Whistler

The woman and her partner were reportedly rescued by ski patrol, but she did not survive

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

Most Read