Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Activists: Aggregate Pilot Project Has Major Flaws
FVRD directors set to decide on the precedent-setting plan June 26
Submitted by Reg Longmore, Deroche
hould it be any surprise to anyone, that once again the directors of the FVRD have lowered our expectations of them once more?
Here is a group of people elected and funded by the people who delight, it would seem, in keeping the tax payers of the Fraser Valley in the dark when the most important and contentious issues are on the line. Probably the most important decision in the history of the FVRD is about to be made, and does every Fraser Valley resident know about it? No.
The fact is that very few people are aware that the incredibly contentious, and biased (APP) Aggregate Pilot Project will be voted on by the FVRD Directors on June 26-2012 at the Evergreen Hall in Chilliwack.
This potential legislation, if approved, will be spread throughout the Province of British Columbia. Most people are totally unaware of the APP and what the future ramifications will be. Meetings held (behind closed doors) between the Provincial Government, the FVRD and the Aggregate Producers (with zero public input) have produced a document so severely flawed and biased, that the governing bodies are trying their very best to keep citizens ignorant of the facts.
We have two directors however who believe in democracy (Directors Bales and Adamson) who tabled several motions in an attempt to convince their counterparts to institute a region wide mail out in an attempt to inform people of the seriousness of the upcoming vote, but the other directors voted “no” to the mail out, you need to wonder why.
The fact is that the Provincial Government is holding a carrot before a bumbling donkey, promising "Super Fees" or tonnage fees to the FVRD if they vote in favour of the APP, although no one knows what or how much that will entail. Ask yourself, how can we hope to have the Regional District cast an impartial vote, when the Provincial Government is pressuring them to do otherwise?
Do not be misled, this is all about profit, big government, and big corporations, who don't give a dam about the sacred rights of British Columbians. Although the public who have found out about this farce, have bombarded the FVRD with complaints, these have been met with virtually deaf ears and indifference, which makes one wonder whether the end result was preordained from the outset.
If the remaining directors of the FVRD had an ounce of democratic decency, they would disqualify themselves from the vote because of conflict of interest, and allow a referendum to be held by the citizens of the FVRD.
June 23rd - 1-1:30 P.M. Kilby Hall
June 26th - 7 P.M. at Evergreen Hall
The following is a letter from Randy Hawes, Minister of State for Mining, to Reg Longmore
Once more you push out ill-informed and inaccurate information that could only be characterized as fear mongering. Please explain how planning where FUTURE gravel pits might be located results in poisoned aquifers, loss of salmon, wildlife and dust "mitigation" (I assume you mean migration).
The APP does not decrease
the scrutiny that now takes place by the Ministry of Environment,
DFO, and others and the same standards are to be met whether there
is an APP or not. I fail to understand why you persist in spreading
Why not just say you don't
want a gravel pit near you and leave it there. Your bias seems to be
making you smear everyone and everything associated with aggregate
and that is simply wrong.
Below, Reg Longmore responds to Lloyd Forman, FVRD Director Area A, who wrote in support of Hawes' letter to Longmore, above.
Thanks' so much for your contribution Mr. Forman,
Could it be that your decision was already made prior to the information meetings?
Keep sucking up to Mr. Hawes, it will not betray your bias. I notice that you colored almost all of your area GREEN (good to go for mining interests) did you think to ask the residents of your area, as well as First Nations whether they agreed with your decision, or is this all your idea? Did you even consider where the water sheds are located in the area you represent?
Below, Reg Longmore responds to Hawes' letter above, June 13 2012
You ask "what is wrong with planning where future gravel pits will be located?" If you can't answer that question yourself Mr. Hawes, you are indeed short sighted. Maybe you should ask yourself what is more important, having a hundred year water shed plan, or a hundred year gravel mining plan.
Many locations chosen as "primo gravel" locations come into direct conflict with major water shed locations, which do you believe are more important? Secondly, no one has ever denied that having a plan for new gravel locations is a good idea, the problem arises when it is the gravel industry who choose the locations, without input from the public and unbiased environmental reports.
Your own ministries' home page proudly announces that aggregate is the most common product on the planet, so why is it so important that you and the aggregate industry choose locations so sensitive to human and animal life? Maybe the directive from the aggregate industry that locations should be chosen close to major highways to increase profits is the ultimate goal.
Having communities living in close proximity to these pits, is just a slight inconvenience. Every human being has a God given right to clean water, by allowing gravel industries free access to these water shed locations, they in turn get control of people's water supply, one has to wonder whether this is a secondary objective.
Why also do you think that the incredibly biased APP is so important to the aggregate industry and local and provincial government, but so despised by the citizens who have taken the time to study it? Various "Citizens Groups" have supplied your government with an alternative 100 year aggregate plan called the ASP (Aggregate Supply Plan) which is fair and unbiased, however your government have refused to consider it, is this because it was not corporate driven, but rather considerate of the rights of British Columbians?
Maybe before attempting to correct my grammar, you should instead concentrate on the welfare of British Columbians whose rights you were sworn to protect.
Using your own
documentation, it has been shown that there is enough aggregate at
the Hope Slide to supply all of British Columbia's needs for
over a hundred years, maybe if your government had not been so short
sighted in selling B.C. Rail, a steady supply could have been
supplied by fuel efficient rail, with zero impact on the environment
to supply all our needs.
Before you even start saying this would not be cost effective, try explaining why British Columbia aggregate can be purchased in California at a lower cost, than at the pit head here in B.C.?
Lastly I reiterate, everyone realizes the importance of the gravel industry to British Columbia's economy, however, locations must be chosen and administered to limit impact on the environment, and the people's health, and water supplies.
The aggregate industry has
hidden far too long behind the archaic 19th century Mining Act, this
is the 21st century Mr. Hawes, maybe it's time to wake up.
My name is Jan Longmore
and I live in the once serene area called Lake Errock. Most of you
have heard my story many times as I attended all the APP public
information meetings last year and spoke passionately at each one. I
will not bore you with repeating my tale of woe. However I do have a
few important thoughts to convey.
The people of this area
have lost huge amounts of their “retirement funds” as they are
unable to regain the initial costs of their properties. It brings to
mind what Minister Hawes mentioned to me when we had a meeting back
in 2009. He told me that I should not be concerned as to property
prices as they would “sky rocket” when the APP was approved and the
aggregate permit approvals proceeded.
How wrong that was. I realize that is in the past and one should move on but at this point in time, we are now facing another public information meeting (June 26th, 2012) which is the most important meeting to be held to date and once again the directors of the FVRD are failing in their elected duties to approve a mail out. This is totally unacceptable – we have two directors (Directors Bales and Adamson) who have the decency to see their constituents’ plight and we have five directors who trivialize their constituents’ concerns and brush them off with their complacency.
How wrong this is. Yet,
they tell me that they are fairly representing all sides and are not
biased towards the aggregate producers and they take great offence
at my suggestions that they are being pressured by the provincial
government, Minister Hawes and the aggregate producers.
Of course, Minister Hawes has denied this on a number of occasions, belittling me and suggesting that I am either deaf or stupid – of which I am neither. This remark regarding legislating the APP into power was also heard by two directors of the FVRD as well as two other citizens on several occasions.
How could this not be
preordained when Minister Hawes also mentioned at that meeting that
the APP meetings would be held in early 2010 and the APP would
probably be ‘up and running by June/July of 2010..’ sounds very much
to me that a time frame had already been decided on.
The pits are private
property – so therefore their operations go unmonitored. My
complaints are handled with indifference and rudeness and my
concerns go no further. My emails are treated the same way and if I
say something derogatory (out of complete frustration) then a few of
the directors will not correspond with me as they are offended by
This government prides
itself on its’ transparency – none of this displays transparency, it
displays covert, secretive planning whilst keeping their
constituents in the dark and ignorant to the schemes which will
affect every aspect of their lives and lifestyles.
I am not fear mongering,
everything I have said or repeat is true. Minister Hawes feels that
he is being “personally attacked” well, he has been Minister of
Mines, he is my MLA, and he is a powerful advocate of the APP and
the aggregate producers – this is not personal, this is about the
welfare and survival of my community of Lake Errock and the
residents living in this community.
How can the ministry deny
this when there are letters on file from the aggregate producers
mentioning that they have been very patient and have put a lot of
money into the APP and now it is time to more or less “get it
Below, A letter from Walter Neufeld, received June 14 2012
Dear Mr. Hawes,
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