Monday April 16, 2012
What They Said
Candidates respond to Bales' APP questions
Submitted by Wendy Bales, FVRD Dir. Area
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 Whether because of the outdated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 and 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outdated B.C. Mines Act?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?
Office of BC NDP candidate Gwen O'Mahony
I have been involved with concerned citizens and groups who are
working hard to resolve issues arising from the way gravel
extraction is being done in our community. I have heard from many
residents and First Nations about the lack of consultation,
confusion about the process and the responsibilities of the three
levels of government, concerns about damage to our environment, the
negative effects on other industries like tourism, and important
quality of life issues like excessive noise and dust pollution. It
is abundantly clear that there has not been sufficient regard for
the public interest and the environment from non permitted
operations or in the permit approval process, and in the monitoring
and enforcement that is supposed to be happening afterwards. Closed
doors have characterized too many of those decisions and that
approach has increased the conflicts and the confusion.
If elected as your MLA, I will continue to work closely with
residents and I will bring pressure to bear on the provincial
government and provincial ministries involved in regulating the
gravel industry and protecting the environment and residents'
BC Liberal MLA Randy Hawes' Aggregate Pilot Project (APP) is not
meeting the test with respect to balancing our community's economic,
social and environmental goals and I have not supported this APP
initiative for that reason. I will work hard to bring greater
clarity to how decisions are being made, to ensure that the
decision-making and approval process is open and
transparent, and to ensure better planning and assessment so our
environment and other industries that are important for our
community are not ignored.
We need more and much better public consultation and accountability.
We need more and better enforcement of both local government by-laws
and federal and provincial legislation. We need greater clarity on
which level of government actually has decision-making and
enforcement responsibilities. (The current court case on this issue
involving the Municipality of
Peachland may be very important in helping to sort that out).
We need to see
laws, by-laws and public decision-making processes that give people
confidence that their needs as local residents, the needs of water
quality and fish habitat protection, the interests of First Nations,
the needs of the tourism industries, and the goals of reclamation
will be addressed as well as the interests of those in the aggregate
I want to add that there are companies that do have regard for local
residents and the environment but it is up to governments to make
sure that all extraction activity is happening in a way our
community can get behind and I want to play a positive role in that
process going forward.
Office of BC Conservative candidate John Martin
With respect to
gravel extraction and limits, enforcement divisions of the
government have been cut - this is similar to how the criminal
system has been cut to the point where prosecutions are being
dropped due to
lack of timely court time. Without adequate enforcement, it will not
how much additional legislation is in place - the gravel extractors
beyond their permitted amount will continue to get away with it
Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice