Howe Sound locals and tourists alike are celebrating the amazing return of Pacific White-sided dolphins, Grey and Orca whales, salmon, and the herring spawn that lies at the base of the aquatic foodweb. We cannot allow this progress to be placed at risk. Howe Sound is making a remarkable recovery from the residue of over a century of heavy industry that included leaching copper mines, sulfuric pulp mills and a leaky chemical plant oozing mercury. This reclamation is largely due to persistent effort by Streamkeepers and other volunteer organizations and the investment of millions of dollars of taxpayer funding.
Unfortunately, the McNab Creek aggregate mine proposed by Burnco envisions a 70-hectare mine on Howe Sound’s McNab Creek estuary with a 30 hectare pit excavated to depths of 55 meters below surface grade and more than 15 meters below the water table. McNab valley will be changed forever. The proposal includes building a gravel processing plant, conveyor belt bridge, and barge dock, that will bombard wildlife and adjacent communities at McNab, Lions Bay and Gambier with sound and light pollution 300 days a year. And Burnco mining will disturb constructed biocells and capped soil mitigation from historic logging activity on the site with unknown ecological spillover.
McNab Creek estuary is so critical to the rebound of salmon in Howe Sound that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has repeatedly opposed the Burnco project in the past. In Burnco’s own environmental study, the proponent acknowledges that their processing plant will obstruct and stress foraging wildlife, negatively altering behaviour and breeding capacity. The report identifies 20 resident species at risk including theRoosevelt Elk reintroduced to the valley in 2001. The report offers no mitigation options but proposes a vision for a berm and “pit lake” habitat that will manage creek water and replace the present estuary.
Destroying a rare, productive estuary within Howe Sound will pose substantial ecological, economic, and cultural damage, while yielding insignificant benefit to the community. The 12 low-skill jobs promised by Burnco will come at the cost of more sustainable industries including fisheries, recreation, film and tourism from which dollars are currently flowing into Howe Sound communities.
This weekend is our last chance to submit comments to the Environmental Assessment office before the window closes on October 3, 2016 at 12 midnight.
Comments can be submitted online:
Or by email:
On behalf of Concerned Citizens Bowen,