Coal assessment must be tough

The public comment period about the Raven Coal issue is over but the issue isn't, one reader says.

To the Editor,

With the public consultation period on the proposed coal mine near Fanny Bay now completed, a review of the submitted comments paints a clear picture.

An overwhelming majority of the nearly 4,800 written submissions thus far in the two comment periods oppose or have concerns about the proposed coal mine project.

The common thread in the recent public meetings held in Courtenay, Port Alberni and Union Bay was this coal mine proposal is not what the residents in the Comox Valley and Port Alberni see as a vision for sustainable development in our communities.

Despite the evidence of opposition and concern, the federal and provincial regulators say that they have no choice but to continue with the environmental assessment of the project.

CoalWatch along with numerous community groups, labour councils, local governments, and thousands of British Columbians have shown support for a more rigorous review, an independent review panel with public hearings.

It’s time that our local MPs and MLAs listen to the public demand for a more rigorous review, and support the call for an independent review panel with public hearings. They need to lobby on our behalf at both the federal and provincial ministerial levels of government.

If the public is forced to endure an environmental assessment on this ill conceived project, at least we should have the most rigorous review currently available.

I urge the public to call their MP and MLA and ask for their support of an independent review panel with public hearings on the Raven Coal Mine Project.

The residents of the Comox Valley, Port Alberni and Vancouver Island deserve nothing less.

John Snyder,

CoalWatch Comox Valley Society

Fanny Bay