Not long after Hillsborough Resources was issued several new coal licenses in the Woodhus Creek/Oyster River area, they submitted a notice of exploration work in the area, to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas ( MoEMNG).
During the course of the exploration permit application review process, the permit application was referred by the MoEMNG to the Comox Valley Regional District for comment.
At the CVRD board meeting on June 24, 2014, the board voted in favour of a letter and staff report from the CVRD being sent to the MoEMNG on the exploration permit issue.
The letter, which raised many concerns about the proposed exploration work, also outlined concerns about the proposed work in the Oyster River watershed possibly undermining the integrity of the drinking water supply to well over a thousand homes in the area.
The CVRD also requested that no notice for exploratory work in the area be issued.
With the CVRD board previously requesting, in June of 2013, that the Hillsborough coal licenses not be issued, I would give high marks to the CVRD board for their leadership, clarity and consistency on the coal issue in the Oyster River area.
The next shoe to drop will be the Golden River Resource coal license applications in the Anderson Lake area (4,725 ha) and the Oyster River area (6,600 ha). These are currently being reviewed by the MoEMNG and will at some point come before the CVRD board for comment as part of the review process.
While it’s estimated the iconic Comox Glacier will disappear within the next 25 years, partly because of climate change, the coal exploration and mining companies are clearly increasing their interest in the Comox Valley. I can only hope that the irony of this scenario isn’t lost on us all.
Fanny Bay, BC
(Editor’s note: To read a copy of the letter the CVRD sent to the Ministry, go to bit.ly/1pzFMwz)