John Snyder

Coffee with … John Snyder

2015 Eugene Rogers Environmental Award winner

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

As the winner of the Wilderness Committee’s 2015 Eugene Rogers Environmental Award, John Snyder is sharing a place with the likes of local conservationist Ruth Masters and biologist Alexandra Morton.

He is also $1,000 richer, but the money didn’t land in his bank account. Instead, Snyder is putting it into the account of the CoalWatch Comox Valley Society, which he has served as president for several years.

The award — named after the late New Westminster conservationist — recognizes Snyder’s leadership of the organization that has steadfastly opposed the Raven underground coal mine. The project is being proposed for a site near Fanny Bay, where Snyder resides.

“I was dumbfounded,” Snyder said of receiving the award. “I viewed it more as a cumulative award for a lot of people, their commitment over the last six years, rather than just me.”

Snyder and his wife, Sheila Clarson, moved to the Island in 2007, the year he retired from driving trucks in Alaska.

Snyder originally hails from San Diego. At age 18, in the summer 1965, he moved to Alaska to work construction, rebuilding what was destroyed in a 9.2 earthquake.

“I ended up spending 42 years up there.”

He mostly made his living as a Teamsters truck driver.

“I’m a continuous, dues paying member of the Teamsters for 45 years. I was young and bullet-proof. It was kind of the last frontier.”

He obtained his pilot’s licence in 1969, and purchased a “fly-in only” property west of Anchorage, where he built a cabin on a lake and lived about five years.

He met Sheila in the ‘90s in Alaska, where she had a recreational sled dog team. They have no children, but they do have a two-year-old Husky mix named Tal, an SPCA rescue dog.

“He’s brought us a lot of joy. He has a forever home with us.”

Snyder considers himself lucky to be living in Fanny Bay, which he says has a “great community spirit.”

He and Sheila first heard about the proposed mine in 2009 at an open house at the Fanny Bay community hall. Later, during a townhall meeting, he decided to throw his hat in the ring — and wound up as president of the non-profit CoalWatch. The group was formed to advocate for independent research and public participation.

“It’s been a lot of work,” Snyder said. “The silver lining for me is that I’ve been able to work with some extraordinary people in this community.”

If and when the Raven project is put to bed, Snyder will move on to the next issue.

 

Just Posted

Sarah Rebitt named the Vanier recipient of the Governor General’s Award

Sarah Rebitt was named the recipient of the 2018 Governor General’s Award… Continue reading

UPDATE: Motorcyclist dead following crash on Strathcona Parkway

A 29 year old man has died following a motorcycle crash on… Continue reading

Vancouver Island pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Bylaw rescinded after vacation rental owners express concerns

Concerns included a lack of consultation

Get ready for a week of sunshine across Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is forecasting temperatures in the high teens all this week

AFN national chief suggests moving Trans Mountain pipeline route

Perry Bellegarde said many Indigenous communities believe in the need to diversify export markets

Bob Castle’s Under The Glacier cartoon for Sept. 25, 2018

Bob Castle’s Under The Glacier cartoon for Sept. 25, 2018… Continue reading

VIDEO: a close-up look at what you were breathing during the wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Island man calls 911 after being robbed of his drugs

Nineteen-year-old and 15-year-old suspects face multiple charges following robbery Monday in Nanaimo

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

B.C. could provide clues as to how New Brunswick electoral results shake out

Premier Christy Clark faced a strikingly similar scenario following the province’s 2017 election

Ottawa working to iron out kinks in public alert system

The alerts are being credit with saving lives during last week’s tornadoes

Premier John Horgan ponders debate on voting system changes

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson wants one-on-one, no Green

Saganash drops F-bomb in Commons over federal approach to Trans Mountain

NDP’s reconciliation critic accused federal government of ‘wilfully’ violating constitutional duties

Most Read