October 24, 2016
Over 300 people attended the public information sessions held in Squamish, West Vancouver and Gibsons in September to review the professional consultant’s reports addressing the environmental impacts of BURNCO Rock Products’ proposed gravel mine at McNab Creek. Over 600 comments were submitted to the BC Environmental Assessment Office and more to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, 4% of the comments in support of the project, 96% against or expressing strong concerns. The 45 day comment period ended October 3rd, 2016.
Future of Howe Sound Society and Sunshine Coast Conservation Association submitted comments along with two reports by environmental consultants LGL Ltd. and Stamford Environmental Consultants The Islands Trust, the Chair of Gambier Island Local Trust committee submitted letters stating the project conflicts with the values and goals of the trust area and the Sunshine Coast Regional District submitted comments listing required changes or conditions.
We support many people’s views this location is unsuitable for a gravel mine and the data on which assumptions were based are outdated or insufficient.
Sunshine Coast Regional District board passed the following resolution on October 13th:
THAT Corporate and Administrative Services Committee recommendation No. 12 of September 22, 2016 be received, adopted and acted upon as amended, as follows: Recommendation No. 12 BURNCO Environmental Assessment Application
WHEREAS the documented ecological recovery of Howe Sound has been the result of concerted efforts to remediate the impacts of previous industrial projects;
AND THAT this fragile recovery is contributing to a renewed ecological, recreational, and commercial vitality to the area;
AND THAT the incremental collective effects of this project propose a risk to that recovery;
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) Board cannot support the application as presented at this time. CARRIED
The BC Environmental Assessment Office will be issuing its assessment report at the end of January 2017 and the Minister of Environment, Mary Pollak and Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett decision will be likely take place prior to the next Provincial election May 2017. There will be two more opportunities for public comment, dates will be announced when known: 1) The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency will prepare a Comprehensive Study Report. Prior to the Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna’s decision, the public has an opportunity to comment. 2) Burnco requires their land to be rezoned from rural to industrial in order to process the gravel. The Sunshine Coast Regional District will hold a Public Hearing for rezoning, however an application to rezone has not yet been accepted for first reading.