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While many are still in disbelief those responsible for protecting the environment have approved the mining of 21 million tonnes of gravel in the McNab Valley in Howe Sound, Burnco still has one more hurdle.   Approval for rezoning the land from its current rural use to industrial is needed in order for the processing of the material to take place on site. According to the planning department, if the SCRD Board resolves to move forward with amending the zoning bylaw a public hearing will be required.  Should rezoning be turned down Burnco’s business case would have to reconsidered.

It is unlikely anyone who values the area for the peace and quiet close to nature will support the rezoning application.   For generations the area has been a retreat away from the noise.  The mine’s detrimental impact on the social values will never be offset.

In May the Canadian Environment Minister, Katherine McKenna approved the project and followed by the Fisheries and Oceans decision. No details are given behind the Fisheries and Oceans decision and the steps forward will be even less transparent.

Should the project commence, close monitoring  and implementation of best practices will be essential to preventing harm.   After the Mount Polley disaster, a groundbreaking and comprehensive analysis of BC’s Health Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines (“HSRC”) and Mines Act, The Path to Zero Failures outlines the many changes the BC government needs to make to the HSRC and the Mines Act, in order to prevent future catastrophic failures.   The natural capital of this area is too valuable to settle for anything less.

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