No more threat of gravel mine near Desolation Sound

The company which applied for an exploratory license for an area near Desolation Sound will no longer be pursuing the project.

A group opposing the proposed gravel exploration in the Lloyd Creek area campaigned against the project.

Lehigh Hanson Materials Limited will not be proceeding with gravel exploration in an area near Desolation Sound.

In April of 2015 the company applied for a Temporary Licence for investigation from the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. They were seeking permission to do test drilling for aggregate resources on crown land near Lloyd Creek in the vicinity of Homfray Channel, just north of Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park.

In October of 2015 the province approached the Powell River Regional District about the Crown Licence. According to minutes from the Planning Committee as well as the Regional Board, which are available online, the board members passed a motion to submit no objections of the application for the Crown Licence provided that the exploratory drilling take place outside a 30 metre buffer zone established around streams within the area.

In April of 2016 the province offered Lehigh a licence, subject to terms and conditions that are not available to the public.

The brief document available on the ministries application database said that the proposal from Lehigh, which also isn’t available to the public, is consistent with government policy and local government zoning.

The document said that there were no significant environmental impacts identified by mandated agencies and no impacts on aboriginal rights.

When further inquiries were made as to those reasons, The Mirror was referred back to the online database.

“Since the submission of the application in April 2015, the company has conducted a detailed review and analysis of the potential aggregate reserve in the area,” said Jeff Sieg, director of corporate communication for Lehigh. “The results of that review have led the company to conclude that it is not economically feasible to pursue further drilling or development of this reserve.”

Early in May a group of people with vested interest in maintaining the areas natural beauty began a campaign called Save Desolation Sound against the proposed project. They wrote letters, signed a petition and engaged with local governments and First Nations groups to try and prevent the industrial activity so close to the marine provincial park.

In a press release sent after the announcement that the project would not be proceeding, Russell Hollingsworth, one of the leaders of the initiative, thanked everyone for participating and said the society would continue to monitor industrial applications that might affect the area.