Tuesday January 25, 2011

 

Environment  

Losing Confidence In Public Consultations

Lake Errock resident's voices not being heard

Submitted by Jan Longmore, Action Committee for Environmental Stewardship (ACES)

 

s a very concerned and outraged resident of the community of Lake Errock I hereby submit my letter in vehement opposition to the below stated public notice which was published in the Abbotsford Times on February 12, 2010.

MINES ACT NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR PERMIT APPROVING THE MINE PLAN AND RECLAMATION PROGRAM FOR TAKE NOTICE that Dave Vernon of Ekset Contracting Ltd. has filed with the Chief Inspector of Mines, pursuant to Part 10.2.1 of the Health and Safety Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia, a proposed mine plan together with a program for the protected and reclamation of the land and water courses related to the proposed Errock Pit (Sand & Gravel) located at Fraction South Half parcel F (Plan 4708) 315018E except firstly part on SRN Plan 59961 secondly part on Plan 25990 North Half. Local address - 43873 Lougheed Highway, Deroche, B.C. VOM 1N0 A copy of the permit application, including supporting documentation, is available for public viewing at Regional District Office Deroche, B.C. Any person affected by or interested in this program has 30 days to make written representation to the Chief Inspector of Mines, Ministry of Natural Resource Operations, c/o Operations Coordinator, Coast Area, PO Box 9395 Stn. Prov Govt. Victoria, BC. V8W 9M9, Facsimile: 250-953-3878, with a copy to Dave Vernon, Ekset Contracting, 100, 19429-54th Ave. Surrey, BC. V3S 7X2.

As stated I am absolutely appalled that this application has been submitted let alone is being considered as a possibility to further degrade, compromise, and negatively affect our beautiful corridor of lakes, trees, natural habitats, eagle nests, salmon spawning channels, wildlife, and fragile eco-system.

I have read the application notice and the reports on file. I am extremely concerned regarding the fact that Mr. Vernon requested these reports and had a private consulting firm “create” these reports. At the end of the report it is stated that “…this report was prepared for the exclusive use of our client and designated consultant or agents….” I would feel much more confident with these reports if they had been written by an independent company totally unbiased and not paid for by the aggregate producer! We all know that reports can be written biased towards whoever is actually “paying the consulting fee”. I am not being disrespectful, I just have worked in the public domain for many years and I know very well how the system works.

I take great exception at the mention in the report of the proposed site being situated in a “green zone”. I was not aware that the Aggregate Pilot Project had been adopted as read and passed. According to all FVRD Directors and our illustrious Minister of State for Mining, Randy Hawes, the APP was and still is a “draft” and all the zones are conceptual. How can these reports blatantly state in writing that a green zone actually exists? Do you know something that I don’t, or was the APP always a “done deal”, and all the public meetings were strictly to placate the public into thinking that they were being heard?

I attended our Deroche Public Consultation Phase Meeting and saw the frustration, anger, outrage, and immense opposition voiced by all community members. Our opposition is loud and clear and yet no one hears us or chooses not to. Nothing has changed, all my concerns and my neighbors’ concerns have not been addressed they are still festering and growing each day. My concerns are:

  • Traffic and safety

  • Health and welfare for the residents as well as the gravel pit workers. Worksafe BC has massive information regarding the horrific effects from Silica Dust

  • Noise

  • Compromising of our aquifers, streams, lakes, wells, waterways etc.

  • Degradation of our natural habitats

  • Pollution

  • Decrease in property values

  • Erosion of our mountains, creating land/mudslide possibilities

  • Catastrophic destruction of our environment

  • Self regulation of the mines has me very worried. Mr. Vernon’s mine operates illegally, regularly working outside of set hours, and in no way respects residents’ complaints. I demand that this application be denied by the Ministry of Mines and that Mr. Vernon develop a proper “good neighbor” policy with the residents bordering his pit. Blatant disregard for the community and total disregard for rules and regulations is not winning him any accolades. There is no deterrent for this and I am convinced that this “bad” partnership will continue until we have no tourism, no habitat, no wildlife, no fish, no water, and no environment but at least the government and the aggregate producers will have a fat wallet!!

    I once again, state my absolute opposition to this insanity.

    For more information visit Action Committee for Environmental Stewardship (ACES): www.areacenvironmentalstewards.com 

     

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