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Shellfish growers concerned about mine near Baynes Sound

The BC Shellfish Growers Association is disappointed that certain key recommendations submitted from the draft version of the Application Information Requirements (AIR) by Compliance Coal Corporation for its proposed Raven Coal Mine have been disregarded.

Although some recommendations and concerns were addressed, the BCSGA feels that, in those instances, the outcome either falls short or was based on political, rather than scientific decisions.

The association says the 239-page document does not recognize the economic value of the Baynes Sound shellfish industry, which yields about $28 million of shellfish yearly and employs roughly 600 people.

The BCSGA says the proponent also ignored its request to have an independent third party conduct a baseline survey in Baynes Sound.

"It is our understanding that no request for proposals to do this work was ever announced," a news release states.

In the final draft, the experimental design, lab work and data analysis will be carried out by AMEC, a company that has been working for Compliance for the duration of the process which, according to the BCSGA, has no experience with the marine environment in Baynes Sound or the aquaculture industry.

The association was adamant from the beginning that any data analysis of a baseline monitoring program be done by an independent, third party without any history of working with either Compliance or AMEC. Instead, AMEC chose to ‘award’ a contract to the Centre for Shellfish Research for the simple collection and deployment of shellfish samples at designated sampling sites. The design of this sampling, all lab work and data analysis will be done by AMEC.

"This red herring was intended to assuage the shellfish industry but in reality has had the opposite effect and we find this not only insulting but unacceptable," the release states.

The association said its recommendation for the study areas in Baynes Sound to be scientifically defined based on area hydrology was also ignored.

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