Raven Coal Mine meeting in Courtenay, May 30 - Photo by Carolyn Walton

Raven Coal Mine Hearings Draw Huge Public Opposition


The controversial proposal for an a coal mine in Vancouver Island’s Baynes Sound – home to a thriving shellfish industry – saw large crowds turn out to voice their opposition at three separate public meetings last week. The joint federal and provincial environmental assessment hearings on Compliance Energy’s proposed Raven Underground Coal Mine drew some 1,500 citizens in Courtney, Port Alberni and Union Bay – the vast majority vocally opposed to the project.

“It’s obvious the public has deep concerns about the proposed coal mine and the approval process,” said CoalWatch Comox Valley president John Snyder after the final public meeting concluded in Union Bay Friday night, with over 450 people in attendance.

According to CoalWatch – which, along with Coal Free Alberni, has been leading the swelling public opposition to the project over the past year – Monday’s meeting at the Filberg Centre in Courtney saw nearly 600 people, while 400 attended the Port Alberni meeting on Thursday, with another 600 tuning in online.

The hall in Union Bay was so packed the fire marshal had to restrict access.

In all, a staggering 200 people spoke in opposition to the project, with only one in favour.

“Public opposition to the mine is overwhelming,” said Tria Donaldson, Pacific Coast Campaigner at the Wilderness Committee. “It’s time for the federal and provincial governments to listen to what people are saying. There is simply too much at risk for this proposal to proceed.”

CoalWatch’s John Snyder said people expressed a wide variety of objections to the mine.
“The proposed mine puts hundreds of jobs in the shellfish industry at risk, it threatens our drinking water, air quality, and road safety, and it does not conform the vision our communities have for the future,” he said. “That’s why it’s crucial for the government to establish an independent expert panel review with full public hearings before any further consideration is given to this proposal.”
Now that they’ve have spoken out loud and clear for themselves, we at The Common Sense Canadian are urging our readers around the province to show their support for the people and environment of Vancouver Island. Click here to submit your own comments to the environmental assessment process by June 27.


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

4 thoughts on “Raven Coal Mine Hearings Draw Huge Public Opposition

  1. I totally agree with the comments above. I live in P.A and the thought of more truck traffic on our already over- congested highway is absurd. Over the years many people have died on this short stretch of road. These coal people want to use our road because they can hang the upkeep of the road onto the B.C taxpayer. This project will provide very little employment in P.A. Just when I thought that we here in P.A were shaking that old image, it rears its ugly head again. This time with the mostly quiet approval of the Mayor and some of his council. Ah, yes, the Port authority will take in a few bucks for use of our Port. Big deal!!!! at what cost to we citizens. Here, I have a great idea, lets load the coal onto Sea-span barges and send it to Roberts Bank coal port in Vancouver, the facility is already built, and ready to go. Maybe it is true, democracy might be dead. Corporate greed bought it, and greed has no conscience. After all these people don’t live in our beautiful B.C and most likely do not care.

  2. Being far from Port Alberni, the coal trucks would travel a long way sharing the road with the public. Two members of my family travel the shared section between Coombs Junction and the Inland Highway both directions 3 times a week, where deer are frequently seen and occasionally a black bear. Many heavily-loaded coal trucks run the risk of being unable to stop, or may swerve , causing a danger if an animal chooses to cross. The Inland Highway nearer Courtenay has a high animal fence for several kilometers for just this purpose. Equally if not more dangerous is the Alberni Highway between Cameron Lake and Port Alberni itself. It is twisty and steep for most of its length. Imagine many coal trucks a day there!

  3. BC people are going to have the fight of our lives. Coal is a very dirty, filthy energy. The Alberta dirty tar sands, may be worse. I’m not sure on that one.

    Greedy giant fuel company’s, could care less about the damage the filthy coal does to the eco system. That crud gets into the air, and poisons the farmlands, lakes, river, streams and oceans. It causes serious diseases, to humans and wildlife. China’s dirty polluted air, even drifts as far as Canada. The Chinese people, even have to wear masks, to try and keep the filthy coal residue smoke, out of their lungs.

    The dirty coal residue, will float all over the Island. It will settle in the sea, rivers, lakes, food crops. It will most certainly leach, into the clean drinking water. The forests will be poisoned, by rain carrying coal dust. Wildlife and fish will be poisoned.

    Canada is no longer a democratic country. Force will be used, as in a fascist, dictatorship country regime. Harper has sent police, to break bones of protesters, which they did, just like the Brown Shirts. There is now a terrible evil, in our once good, safe and decent country.

  4. hi there,
    i live in port alberni,but because i had to work last week i could not attend the meeting in town.i am totally against the coalport.unfortunatly nobody understands the consequences,as far as i am concerned
    the people who live up island dont want it,so this means if we live in a democracy no! no more meetings needed,but since money counts and we have a corrupt government nothing seems to matter.
    regards peter rueschmann

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