The controversial proposal for a massive underground coal mine in Comox Valley will be one of the topics addressed by NDP environment critic Rob Fleming when he speaks at the Comox Valley NDP’s annual fall dinner this Saturday.
“Christy Clark and the Liberals have made it clear they want to weaken public input and the environmental assessment process for these kinds of projects,” said Fleming. “It’s never been more important for people to fight to have their voices heard.”
Fleming said people from Comox Valley have told him they are very concerned about Clark’s recent comments that she is “tired” of hearing people say they have concerns about mines and that government should be “getting out of the way of economic activity.”
“The Liberal attitude is to ram projects through regardless of the consequences,” said Fleming. “We want to see sustainable mining in B.C., and the best way to achieve that is to have thorough environmental assessments and community participation in the process.”
Fleming said instead of weakening environmental standards, the Liberals should listen to local voices who are calling for a more rigorous environmental assessment.
“There is a better way of doing things,” said Fleming. “We can listen to the public, listen to the experts and make decisions that are in the best interests of the community.
“Comox Valley has a healthy, strong and sustainable shellfish industry that employs hundreds of people. Our first economic priority should be making sure that it is not put at risk.”
In addition to addressing the coal mine, Fleming will talk about NDP proposals for generating long-term sustainable jobs.
Local NDP candidate Kassandra Dycke will introduce Fleming at the fall dinner.
“I am really looking forward to hearing about positive alternatives to the economic and environmental challenges we face,” she said.
Saturday’s dinner is at the Florence Filberg Centre Conference Hall at 411 Anderton St. in Courtenay. Doors open at 5 p.m., and the dinner starts at 6 p.m. It will feature wild salmon, roast beef and pasta with local chaterelle mushrooms.
Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at Laughing Oyster Bookshop in Courtenay or Blue Herron Books in Comox. Call Jeanette Reinhardt at 250-335-3262 to reserve tickets at the door.