We in the Fanny Bay-Buckley Bay areas of the Comox Valley are living with the threat of an invasive coal mine coming into our midst.
The words “threat” and “invasive” are used advisedly. The coming of a coal mine into a space that is residential, tourist and marine harvesting in nature can only bring with it likely dislocations. These have been pointed out by others many times in this paper.
They include interferences with underground water tables and the shellfish industry in Baynes Sound. Massive truck movements over older highways can also be expected. Undesirable effects on property values can arise.
Question: Are there any benefits to our communities to be expected if the proposed coal mine goes ahead?
I wonder. The relatively few “permanent” jobs that would be created are more than offset by the existing and long term-jobs in the shellfish industry. Royalties to the Province, if any, could be eaten up by highway maintenance and repairs.
The discouragement of tourism and new housing in the areas closest to the proposed mine is obviously of no benefit.
By its silence the provincial government gives indication of not listening to the wishes of the majority of the residents in the Fanny Bay-Buckley Bay areas.
Time and time again we have said we don’t want a coal mine. Farther north — in the Courtenay-Comox part of the Island — there has been strong concern expressed as to the advisability of proceeding with a mine’s construction — at the least, until mapping of the aquifer that may be affected is undertaken.
First Nations have their own set of concerns. What to do?
Two recommendations are made.
The first: Call a halt to any further action being taken in regard to proceeding with the proposed coal mine.
The second: Starting with the lower half of Vancouver Island, declare that tourism, recreational, residential and light industrial purposes only be permitted to take place. Those are the present elements of the social and environmental natures of the Island.
It seems very worthwhile to preserve the Island as the gem it is.
Drastic action? Yes, but so is the incursion of a coal mine where it is not wanted.
All it takes is governmental gumption to achieve those goals, and to look ahead further than a scant 16 years of mine life.