Compliance edging toward application for Raven coal mine

Compliance Coal Corporation is expected to submit an application for an environmental assessment certificate sometime this month.

Compliance Coal Corporation is expected to submit an application for an environmental assessment certificate to the Province’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) sometime this month.

While still listed in the pre-application phase of the process on the EAO website, a letter from Shelley Murphy, EAO’s environmental assessment lead for the proposed Raven Underground Coal Mine project, notes Compliance Coal plans to submit an application in March.

The letter was addressed to the City of Courtenay, and came up at this week’s council meeting as councillors had approved a resolution opposing further processing of the application until the Province conducts independent studies on the possible impacts of a mine on surrounding aquifers and the health of Baynes Sound.

It also called for the federal Minister of Environment to refer the environmental assessment to an independent review panel with public hearings.

Comox, Cumberland and the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) also passed similar resolutions.

Murphy’s letter indicates the Application Information Requirements (AIR) were developed with input from the CVRD, First Nations and the public.

It also says the CVRD was a member of a working group, which was consulted before the EAO determined that the “language in the AIR would provide sufficient information to adequately assess potential effects on groundwater and the marine environment at Baynes Sound.”

She adds the EAO will determine if Compliance Coal has “satisfied all the requirements established in the AIR.

If those requirements are met, the application would then be accepted for formal review, Murphy finished in her letter to Courtenay.

Coun. Ronna-Rae expressed disappointment, and pointed out that while the CVRD is referenced as being one of the groups that provided input, the CVRD also passed a resolution calling for more environmental studies.

Coun. Bill Anglin said municipalities can provide input but the decision is up to the Province. He also pointed out the application requirements have not been met yet.

“This is part of a process…They haven’t decided, so they could very well get to that process and say OK they haven’t met the requirement and they can change it,” he said.

Coun. Jon Ambler said council had the responsibility to voice the concerns of Courtenay’s citizens.

“We’ve put them on notice that we have concerns about this,” said Ambler. “This isn’t something that we kind of go, ‘Yeah, go ahead, do what you have to do, you guys have the rulebook’ — we have written them and expressed our concerns time and again, and I think was our responsibility.”

Meanwhile, NDP MLA for Alberni-Pacific Rim Scott Fraser brought the matter up at the Legislature on Wednesday, according to the draft copy of the Hansard report.

“The controversial Raven underground coal mine project highlights serious holes in this government’s gutted environmental assessment process,” Fraser addressed Environment Minister Terry Lake. “Will the Minister of Environment explain why he continues to ignore all representation from the Comox Valley and why he refuses to ensure adequate environmental protection and scrutiny for the region?”

Lake noted the proposed project is undergoing a co-ordinated federal and provincial environmental assessment review.

“The process is underway, the public is very much involved, and we will allow that independent, rigorous environmental process to go ahead,” he added. “On this side of the House we believe in making decisions based on evidence, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Just Posted

Outdoor classroom coming to Huband Park Elementary

The project has been a collaboration of various community groups, says PAC member

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

Campbell River schools, First Nations preserve traditional tongue

Project uses new technology to promote language to kids

Public to have say about pot

Senate passes Cannabis Act

A talent in the making

Pats consider 16-year-old a leader

In reversal, Trump signs executive order to stop family separation

President had been wrongly insisting he had no choice but to separate families apprehended at border

50 new fires sparked in B.C. after lightning strikes across province

Similar conditions seen at the beginning of 2017 wildfire season

B.C. woman graduates high school at age 92

Nanaimo’s Joan Deebank the oldest high school graduate ever in B.C., as far as ministry can confirm

B.C. Appeal Court rules lottery winner must be paid back $600,000 loan

Enone Rosas won $4.1 million in a lottery in 2007 and loaned a portion to a friend

17th Street to be repaved

Motorists can expect closures and detours

B.C. man surprised after used needle falls from sky

A Vernon resident said a syringe fell out of the sky and landed at his feet

Y2K Spitfire comes home

Stocky Edwards guest of honour at banquet

Liquor review finds issues with B.C. wholesale monopoly

Report calls for ‘conflict of interest’ in system to be fixed

Police look for driver of blue Jeep who may have helped at fatal crash

A 19-year-old girl was killed in a crash near Delta on June 2

Most Read