Bales asks candidates their stances on two local issues
Submitted by Wendy Bales, FVRD Director Area C
of all, let me congratulate you all for winning as candidates for
your parties in this riding!
As a local government
representative for Area C in the FVRD much of my electoral area
overlaps into some of the provincial Chilliwack-Hope riding along
with several First Nations governments.
I know that there are many
timely issues in our overlapping ridings that will need to be
addressed very soon by the candidate that wins this riding. We have
lacked provincial representation in recent months, so I am sure that
you will need to hit the ground running with all of the issues
As candidates I would like to ask that you respond on how you stand
on some issues that I will list below. Since I am sure that many
others would also like to know before the election, could you also
respond to some of our local media as well?
If there is something that you are not up on or need clarification
on please feel free to contact me. I would also be happy to set up
tours before the election if that would help. I will split my
questions into 2 parts and may send more in a couple of days.
Hemlock Valley just had its OCP updated along with some Bylaws last
year. In this process areas of avalanche risk were identified. We
were fortunate to receive a grant from MOTI to do further studies
that have detailed the problem areas, some that will affect property
owners and possibly random tourists that may be in the area. A few
owners bought many year ago in good faith from the provincial
government of the day as a future retirement or investment property.
There are other crown lands that are still available in the Hemlock
area, but infrastructure water and sewage is limited.
If elected, would you be willing to work out a property trade with
equitable density amenities, with the current infrastructure density
available for effected property owners? What would you do to help
protect tourists in the area?
For a historical timeline of info see the below message that was
sent to me by a Hemlock property owner;
Thank you in advance for helping to introduce the candidates
running for the by-election, and lobbying them to provide a
commitment to address the avalanche issues if elected. If a meeting
with them could be arranged (preferably together or if not
separately) we would be happy to join this meeting. We would also
appreciate communicating with them by e-mail or phone. As you
requested in our telephone discussion, we hope the following
timeline of our involvement with our lot at Hemlock Valley will help
in the lobbying effort:
originally this was
crown land prior to the establishment of the ski resort in the
the Hemlock Village
planning scheme was done around 1979/1980, and density and lots
were allocated without proper study
we purchased our 4
6-plex serviced lots in the fall of 1980, approved by the
Provincial Government as habitable building lots, with no hidden
after we purchased the
property the first Avalanche Reports were undertaken in 1981 and
property owners were then compensated for their at-risk
properties, with new, equal lots in another subdivision
however during our
building permit application process we were forced to deal with
the new conditions imposed by the reports
we consolidated the 4
lots into 1 large lot, and in 1981 we obtained a building permit
for 24 units which was maintained in effect for approximately 6
second avalanche study
/ report dated 2000
third avalanche study
/ report dated 2010
notice of Public
Information Meeting by FVRD for down-zoning our lot in November
Public Hearing held
avalanche report (by McClung) just received last week.
if the currently
proposed new zoning is approved we will be left with a property
that is effectively impossible to build on and worthless
we purchased the 4
lots in good faith, and the subsequent avalanche issue
materialized after we applied for our building permit in 1981
our lots were
initially included in the “no build” zone but were removed in
the 1982 report after it was discovered that we had a Building
Permit, - had we remained in the “no build” zone we would have
received compensation at the time in the form of new lots (this
seemed a bit suspicious to us)
The Aggregate Pilot
Project (APP) could affect many area residents property values
health, safety, community watersheds, aquifers, salmon and other
habitats, major tourist interests and road corridors to name a few
things. The APP was supposed to address community conflicts as well
as assure aggregate supplies. Over the last decade gravel mining has
just about tripled in B.C. while meaningful regulating or
enforcement has plummeted, or often left to residents to monitor.
Whether because of the outdated Mines Act or the proposed APP,
conflict over area pits has escalated What is your stand on the
gravel issues, the proposed APP and the outdated B.C. Mines Act?
Minister Terry Lake agreed in a letter to me the cumulative impact
of area pits pose a serious problem for our community watershed,
which I believe could also affect the Harrison river. As well, the
Auditor General put the aquifer in a high risk category. This is a
watershed that local municipalities were considering as a future
water source. Minister Lake also stated on the April 4th 2012 Bill
good show “ If you don’t have an environment nothing else matters”.
As it is also one of the world’s most important salmon habitats and
a significant international tourist area as well as water source,
would you be in favor of turning the local watersheds and corridor
into a gravel zone? If not how would you protect the area?
MLA Hawes stated in 2005; “one of the project’s goals is to find
areas of aggregate supply that are not near residences and can
accommodate a plant.”
Area creeks that run through pits have been dry this December for
the first time known in recent history and yet the local pits under
the APP plan could destroy the whole mountain. There have also been
the dust issues effects on community health brought up. What would
be your priority for the area, a continuing sustainable, healthy
community and watershed with renewable selective logging or shorter
term resource extraction?
MLA Hawes stated last fall on camera in a public meeting that there
would be tough new regulations and penalties for gravel trucking
infractions within a few weeks and that Minister Shirley Bond was
working on it. We are still waiting and as you can see by a few
pictures from just April 3rd and 4th of many previously submitted
pictures, that truck and road safety is still a continuous ongoing
problem. How would you address unsafe road and trucking issue?
Last fall there were amendments made to the Mines Act at the last
sitting of the B.C. Legislature, (although I would call it a
downgrade). At UBCM the Mining Act Resolution that I submitted
passed on the floor by a big majority of B.C. local governments and
has been discussed as a problem by many communities across B.C.
(short copy is attached).
Would you lobby to amend
the B.C. Mines Act in order to limit where and how much gravel
extraction can happen in or next to communities, in important
watersheds and tourist corridor areas?
Would you include the interests of others like community groups,
First Nations and tourism groups in discussions about community
resources from the start?
There is no time limit on these questions, although many would like
to know who to support before the by-election and so would
appreciate knowing your stand on these and other important issues.
Download the proposed
Download Terry Lake
Minister of Environment
Thank-you for your time.
Wendy Bales, Area C Director FVRD 1-604-302-8740 or by e-mail
Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice