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Comox Valley anti-coal mine forces massing Thursday
Comox Valley or Coal Valley?
The Comox Valley is facing a decision point about what kind of community it wants to become, and the Comox Valley Water Watch Coalition is concerned that not enough people are aware of the big choice facing the Valley.
To help bring more information to people, the Water Watch Coalition is sponsoring a Courtenay meeting this Thursday about the Raven Coal mine and the other mines proposed for the Valley, with a focus on what people can do to have their say.
Compliance Coal Company owns the coal under 29,000 hectares of land stretching from Fanny Bay to Campbell River, and has claims to even more. It is looking at both underground and open pit mining.
At the first mine, Raven, the company plans to extract 30 million tonnes of raw coal in the next 16 years, shipping out 13 million tonnes, and leaving behind 17 million tonnes (nine million cubic metres) of potentially acid-generating rejects in the hills above Baynes Sound.
"There's widespread public concern over this proposed coal mine project," said John Snyder of CoalWatch Comox Valley. "I will be giving an update of where we are in the environmental assessment process, and what we can do to prepare for the upcoming public comment meetings."
“It’s not just about Fanny Bay and the waters of Baynes Sound. The Wilderness Committee doesn’t think Vancouver Island needs to become a heavy industry zone, and we are doing what we can to help the local groups,” says invited speaker Tria Donaldson. “I’m going to have a lot of suggestions about what actions people can take to stop this travesty.”
As for Peter Nix, a Cowichan Carbon Buster, “it's not just about one mine in the Comox Valley,” says Nix. “The science of climate change says we need to stop mining coal as soon as possible for the sake of our kid’s future.”
Analyst Arthur Caldicott will put the proposed Raven mine in a global context, and review its significant environmental and economic impacts. He'll talk about transportation, noise, dust, acid drainage and other toxins. And most important of all: water pollution.
"There are many reasons not to proceed with this mine," says Caldicott, "but we won't hear about them from the proponent. Communities are too often bulldozed by energy and mining developments. We're holding this meeting to make sure that doesn't happen."
Everyone is invited to come have their say, with a moderated open mic, on April 7 from 7 to 9 at the Florence Filberg Centre Upper Hall, Courtenay.
— Comox Valley Water Watch Coalition