Local residents of Fanny Bay are hosting a letter-writing campaign and asking for help from surrounding communities to join them in expressing their concerns about the proposed Raven coal mine.
The Ground Zero Letter Writing Campaign will be held April 20 at the Fanny Bay Community Association Hall at 7793 Island Highway in Fanny Bay. Drop in between 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.
In a public event with media attention, participants will send one-page handwritten letters to political parties and local candidates running for election. Information, assistance, and addresses will be provided. Writing letters publicly in this way creates a community of mutual support.
The mine, if approved, will be located within five kilometres of Fanny Bay, putting residents squarely at ground zero. A new coal mine this close to an existing community is unprecedented in British Columbia.
Citizens of this area are particularly concerned about the potential contamination of their drinking water. Concern is so widespread that the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Victoria has requested VIHA to issue a drinking water hazard protection order.
If this mine is approved air quality is threatened. Studies have shown that people living near coal mining areas have higher rates of health problems: cardiopulmonary disease, COPD, high blood pressure, lung disease and kidney disease.
There could be a devastating impact on the local economy. Contamination of Baynes Sound would wipe out 600 permanent jobs and a 100-year-old, $28-million a year shellfish industry.
Fanny Bay is not the only community affected by this mine. Residents of Cumberland, Bowser, Union Bay, Courtenay, Comox, Denman Island, Hornby Island and Port Alberni are also concerned about its far-reaching implications.
However, the people of ground zero are those that will be most immediately impacted and believe that through a combined action this region can make its voice heard.
The community is being supported by the Sierra Club Comox Valley, Coalwatch, Comox Valley Water Watch, Comox Valley Council of Canadians, Denman Opposes Coal, and other groups.