Letter: Coal facts missing

Conduct a balanced assessment of Raven Coal project.

I feel compelled to respond to the recent public out cry against the proposed development of the Raven Coal Mine west of Buckley Bay BC.

I feel much of the resentment is predicated on a lack of knowledge of the facts. The other factor is the ‘Band Wagon Effect’ or the need to identify oneself with a cause with the goal of saving the land from some perceived threat.

Much misinformation helps to stimulate the ‘cause’ and those with time on their hands are drawn in to what appears to be a looming catastrophe.

In the late 1800’s Union Bay was a booming Coal Port, I remember seeing the remnants of the loading facility on the Point that juts out into the Ocean beyond the North side of town. Pieces of coal littered the beach and probably some are still there. At that time coal was shipped, processed and stored between the town and the beach.

At this time the world knew nothing of environmental safeguards. Today the world is very different. British Columbia is home to some of the strictest and most comprehensive environmental legislation in the world, especially in the mining industry.

In recent years Vancouver Island has seen a large in migration of people with financial means derived from other parts of the country; during their younger working lives they were probably not so concerned about coal mining. Now with idle time they have resources to devote to saving the earth.

Sprawling subdivisions are growing up unchecked along the east coast of Vancouver Island. I find it amazing that no environmental impact studies are ever considered before starting a 300 home subdivision, no water samples taken, no protests launched. Indeed if the runoff from these sites was sampled it would probably exceed that which would be allowed from a coal mine. Population is growing and sewage treatment is generally still only at the primary level, upgrading is only considered if the money is there, no thought is given to damming up a lake on Mount Arrowsmith if it is to provide water for some politician’s friend who wants to start a new subdivision. In reality coal is a benign mineral; it can be eaten if it is ground up, with beneficial effects. Really, in Russia, it is sold in little packets in the pharmacy, as an antidote for hangovers and stomach upsets.

If anyone were to look at the plans they would see the proposed mine has a very small footprint; smaller than the average subdivision. In this climate the only coal dust is underground in the mine, any on surface settles within a hundred feet. There is more dust on a mile of logging road than at an operating coal mine. Again the dust is benign except inside the mine.

We have and continue to have all manner of logging trucks on our highways, no one even seems to notice, and they are either ignored or accepted. However the mention of a coal truck sends out waves of concern. In reality there is no difference.  Loads of coal are covered even though it’s largely unnecessary. The sad reality is that those people who stand to benefit from this mine are the younger hard working people of this community, whose who have not already been forced to move to Alberta in order to earn enough money to properly raise their children.

The people who stand to benefit from a badly needed primary industry are too busy working and raising their children to spare time for the fine art of organizing protest movements. Do you protesters realize that if this coal is not mined here it will be mined some were else in the world with far less regard for the environment.

Mining coal underground has no affect what so ever on the marine environment. In order to receive a permit to process coal the operator has to prove via environmental monitoring no effect on ground water or surface discharge water is taking place or will occur in the future.

I hope this project can be afforded a balanced assessment with decisions not being made in favour of those with the loudest voices.

Jim McMillan

Just Posted

Diver discovers possible historic anchor off Campbell River

The rusted, barnacle-encrusted anchor was wedged into the bottom off Quadra Island… Continue reading

Cold weather puts pressure on homeless shelters in Campbell River

Salvation Army and Sobering Centre offer a total of 40 beds

Back to school for Vancouver Island’s snow-covered kids, more snow coming

All school districts in business this morning but officials warn another 5-10 centimetres today

Comox Strathcona Waste Management looks at tipping fees

Fees part of planned review that could offset future tax hikes in regions

City of Campbell River responds to BCTS intention to continue Snowden harvesting plans

Yet another call for the province to halt timber harvest activities until long-term plan is in place

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Man in Vancouver Island hotel shooting pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Brandon Tyler Woody, from Victoria, to be sentenced in late March in B.C. Supreme Court

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Police track armed kidnapping across Thompson-Okanagan

RCMP allege it was a targeted crime believed to be linked to the drug trade

St. Paul’s Hospital replacement slated to open in Vancouver in 2026

Announced many times, but this time there’s money, Adrian Dix says

Fourteen ‘dream’ homes ordered evacuated as sinkholes open in Sechelt

Sinkholes throughout the subdivision have prompted the District of Sechelt to issue evacuation orders

Most Read