Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Is The APP?
Area C Bales explains the Aggregate Pilot Project
Released by Wendy Bales, FVRD Dir Area C
the Fraser Valley if you were to ask on the street what the APP is
people would probably say something like; the APP is a software
application for mobile devices.
If you were to elaborate and ask; Do you know what the Aggregate
Pilot Project (APP) is?
Very few would know what
it is and fewer still would know any of the details. So why is that?
The APP has been worked on for over 8 years, costing a considerable
amount to fund, so it is surprising how few residents of the Fraser
Valley know anything about the APP. Or is it?
committee chaired by 2 different provincial ministers (currently MLA
Randy Hawes) as a closed door committee also consists of the Fraser
Valley Regional District Directors (FVRD) with their planners, and
the Aggregate Producers Association of BC (APABC).
Often present for
input were representatives of the Ministry of Mines, Energy and
Petroleum Resources (MEMPR) as well. Most of the planning to secure
a 50 to a 100 years of aggregate supply while trying to reducing
mining conflicts have been in closed door meetings with only one
special interest group, (the APABC) represented.
In the fall of
2010 the FVRD held 4 APP community meetings with the 2009 version
draft and mapping (which the public will now need updating on as
well as clarification of details).Before those meetings I asked for
a mail-out. At and after the 2010 meetings many people were angry
that there was not sufficient notice and a mail-out for such an
In fact I believe
that many of the people who came were more of a result of my
emailing list, networking and the ACES community group that did a
limited flier mail-out for area C. That was a big contention and so
eventually after a lot of complaints from electoral area residents
and discussion, it was decided by electoral area Directors and staff
that each electoral area would have their own mail-out budget.
At the time there were no qualifications as to what issues each
Director was allowed to use their mail-out budget for, and I have
used the budget without extra Board permission for 2 mail-outs so
There is an important APP meeting planned for the evening of June
26th 2012 at the Evergreen Hall in Chilliwack B.C. Even though the
mail-out budget was a result of the APP issue, I am now being told
that I would need to have special Board permission to do a mail-out
for what could be the only APP meeting before an FVRD Board vote on
accepting the APP mapping and general plan. Although I asked to do
the mail-out on May the 28th., I had to wait for over a week for a
decision. Waiting for Board permission to do a mail-out would of
course make it too late to be of use. The delay will make it hard to
raise community funds in time for an effective mail-out. For an
issues that can effect Fraser valley watersheds for a 100 years, it
is vital that as many people as possible are made aware. For more
info check the FVRD link posted.
Here is some of what they say on the FVRD website;
FVRD Aggregate Pilot Project (APP) was initiated by the Minister of
State for Mines in 2004 in response to persistent and intense
conflicts surrounding aggregate operations in the Fraser Valley
The purpose of the project is to develop a set of recommendations to
industry, local governments and the provincial government for new
approaches that significantly reduce conflicts and secure a long
term, economic, stable supply.
More specifically, it aims to:
understanding of aggregate supply and demand;
communication between MEMPR, FVRD and industry;
"RED-YELLOW-GREEN" approach to permitting aggregate operations,
including identifying lands suitable for aggregate uses and
lands not suitable for aggregate uses;
sustainable supply of aggregate for the long term;
develop a new
approach for decision-making respecting aggregate management;
model that could be used in other jurisdictions in the Province.
APP or the Mining Act could have a profound effect on massive areas
of FVRD watersheds. As stated by the committee the APP plan could
spread to other regions of B.C.. As well I believe that whether by
the APP or the Mining Act, mining will have a huge impact on the
cost, control and supply of available potable water in B.C. and yet
there is no adequate 50 to a 100
year water plan for the same areas of the FVRD.
Water is much
more valuable then gravel as a commodity and as a necessity that
should be protected. Under the Water Act you would not generally be
allowed to sow up or alter large areas of crown watersheds, but
under the Mining Act there are
exemptions to the Water Act. Under the Mining Act you can extract
nonrenewable resources destroying watercourses, while controlling
much of the watersheds with long term permits. If the APP goes
through, even having a yellow zone will be like an extra secondary
endorsement that it could be a possible gravel area. See updated
mapping proposed in this link below. Keep
in mind that at the last area C meeting area residents unanimously
agreed to opt out of the APP agreement as MLA Hawes said that we
After MEMPR permits are given to the mining industry even if the
FVRD can set limits for yearly extraction through bylaws, a MEMPR
permit holder will still be sitting on and have a controlling
interest on a watershed as long as the permit lasts which are most
often extended for long periods. They can then strip the land of
trees and divert water, even if there are limits on the extraction
amounts. How do I know that? It is happening in my own area's
watershed and there has been little to no regulating or enforcing of
permit clauses, zoning or bylaws enforced.
After years of dealing with mining violations and watershed
destruction, I am still of the opinion that the only way to protect
our watersheds and communities rights are through amendments to the
Mining Act as well as the Water Act. The Water Act with proper
amendments should be the most important and prevailing Act.
Meaningful sustainable limits and cumulative impacts on the current
Mining Act permits are not being properly regulated or enforce.
I think that it
is unrealistic to think that even with tonnage fees that the FVRD
would be able to manage the regulating and enforcing of gravel mines
on behalf of residents and other interests. They are not even
allowed to trespass on mine permit property without permission of
the permit holder, or
accompanied by MEMPR, or DFO (without permission of the permit
The gag order on the APP committee meetings has left other watershed
users, and communities at a huge information disadvantage, so please
help spread the word about this very important meeting June 26th, @7
pm, at the Evergreen Hall 9291 Corbould street in Chilliwack to all
residents of the FVRD. The public will need to get informed on what
took the committee over 8 years. Then, you can either submit letters
the day before or ask questions and then make comments at the
meeting. I will also write more details and some history soon.
Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice