I attended the Port Alberni Chamber of Commerce luncheon this week and listened to John Tapics, CEO of Compliance Energy Corporation, give an update on the proposed Raven Coal Mine Project.
Mr. Tapics reiterated that unless the government spends a whole lot of money to upgrade the rail corridor, which seems highly unlikely, the coal from the mine near Fanny Bay will come to Port Alberni by truck.
If the thought of 75 roundtrip B-train loads a day coming through town wasn’t bad enough, I noticed that the World Health Organization has just raised diesel exhaust to the level of cancer-causing carcinogen.
“Further, the fumes belong in the same deadly category as smoking, asbestos, ultraviolet radiation, arsenic and mustard gas,” the World Health Organization reportedly said.
With an airshed in Port Alberni that is already prone to frequent temperature inversions, this recently released WHO report should serve as a wakeup call to local, provincial and federal decision makers.
No amount of mitigation will offset the negative health impacts that will beset the residents of Port Alberni, and any project that would introduce increased cancer-causing carcinogens into the local air shed, should be rejected.
Sadly, the only ones in Port Alberni that will seem to benefit from the coal mine project being approved, would be the respiratory therapists who will no doubt see a huge increase in patients requiring their services.