While I’m not sure why a Parksville-Qualicum writer had an editorial in the Comox Valley Record regarding the proposed Raven Coal Mine, I read it with great interest anyway.
What struck me was its suggestion that the debate has been dominated by posturing and conjecture equally on both sides of the debate, and that it has been “no coal mines ever” vs. “we need the jobs, period.”
It’s just not true.
Opposition to this Raven Coal mine proposal has been dominated by presenting challenging facts to the pervasive assumptions carried by many, including in your editorial. Clearly, you have not spent a great deal of time examining what the opposition has been saying.
From the beginning, those opposed to the Raven Mine have been pointing out the fact that the shared aquifers of the mine and our communities have not been mapped. For many, this is our drinking water.
It is neither posturing nor conjecture. The Raven Mine poses a very real threat to this precious fresh water resource.
I’m sure if this proposed mine was planned for the area you get your drinking water from, you might see things somewhat differently.
And for all the promise of “hundreds of well-paying jobs” (350 is the number claimed ), we still have no idea who will fill the skilled mining jobs.
The current B.C. government’s own resource sector audit has reported that B.C. has a severe shortage in skilled coal miners, and that immigrant labour will be needed to fill these jobs for some years to come, as is the case in northeastern B.C. coal mining.
Adding to this sorry scenario, is the fact that the Raven Coal Mine’s owners would pay no mineral royalties to the provincial treasury, as they own the land and the mineral rights beneath it, “fee simple.”
At the very least, other major resource extraction operations pay royalties, presumably because the right to do so comes with the responsibility to contribute something in paying for the highway degradations you note, and the other shared public amenities that have been paid for with the public purse.
In attempting to be “fair and balanced,” you have negated the overwhelming legitimacy of the fact-based opposition to the Raven Mine proposal.
We have not relied on posture and conjecture. We have been uncommonly sensible, while the Raven Mine owner’s have relied on a public relations strategy with a slick website showing pictures of happy people in the untouched wilderness.
And that posturing is truly Orwellian given the facts that are not in serious dispute.