Coal Not Required

Coal Not Required is the theme of a youth-organized event at North Island College on April 2.

Coal Not Required is the theme of a youth-organized event at North Island College on April 2.

Speakers from the local organic farming, aquaculture and grassroots environmental communities will answer audience questions and share their vision of what a sustainable economy in the Comox Valley can look like.

Event organizers and participants consider the proposed Raven Coal Mine an unacceptable risk to local food and water security, as well as the Valley’s reputation as a tourism destination and wildlife hotspot.

Instead of opening a new coal mine that harkens back to the past century, they want the region to act as a leader for diverse local economies that profit from stewardship, not industrial resource extraction.

“The Comox Valley is perfectly situated for sustainable development,” says event organizer Vanessa Scott. “But can we have it all — clean water, healthy soil, small business diversity, wilderness and recreation, fresh air, abundant local food — and coal mining, too? I don’t think it fits.

“This event will share local views on how to best harness our resources while safeguarding the environments and character that make this place so unique.”

“The Raven mine is the exact opposite direction we need to be headed in the Comox Valley and Vancouver Island,” said Torrance Coste of the Wilderness Committee. “The impacts it would have on local water quality, habitat, public safety and climate are simply not worth it.”

Panelists for Coal Not Required: Growing a Sustainable Economy in the Comox Valley include: Matthew Wright, communications manager for the BC Shellfish Growers’ Association; John Snyder, President of CoalWatch Comox Valley; local organic farming advocates Arzeena Hamir and Barbara Odegard; and Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee.

In addition to the speakers and panelist Q&A, audiences will view a short video produced by the Wilderness Committee titled Island Opposition to the Raven Coal Mine.

The event is hosted by local community organizers, including the North Island Student Union, and the Wilderness Committee. Coal Not Required is a free public event April 2 in Stan Hagen Theatre at North Island College from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

— North Island Student Union

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