The following comes from the Future of Howe Sound Society – with introduction by Rafe Mair.
In beautiful Howe Sound on the Sunshine Coast we have the beginning of yet another environmental travesty, where there has been no public consultation and which has had virtually no coverage in the mainstream media. If permitted to go ahead, Burnco Rock Products will build an aggregate mine in the midst of the McNab Creek Valley – home to wild salmon populations and many other species at risk – producing yet another environmental catastrophe, thanks to a federal government that couldn’t care less about our world renowned outdoors and ignored by a provincial government so in thrall to the feds that they dare not utter a dissenting peep on any of these environmental catastrophes that are bent on destroying what we all hold so dear.
Why should we care?
Here, from the Future of Howe Sound Society fighting to protect the McNab Creek Valley, are ten very good reasons:
1. Why would anyone develop a gravel mine in Vancouver’s ocean playground, an area of outstanding natural beauty? This is where an ever growing city comes to sail, dive, kayak, fish, camp and hike. Tourists flock from all over the world to see “SuperNatural, British Columbia”, how would a gravel pit look in the tourism advertising?
2. Howe Sound is only now showing encouraging signs of environmental recovery after decades of industrial misuse. Should we now allow a reindustrialization of the area?
3. How can we consider developing a massive 77 hectare pit which will excavate the entire McNab estuary from one side of the valley to the other, completely eliminating one of only three river estuaries in Howe Sound, without developing an integrated, long term land and water use plan for the whole of Howe Sound?
4. The size of the gravel pit will limit access to the foreshore for wildlife such as elk, deer and bears who currently frequent the area to forage for food.
5. The excavation of the river estuary will dramatically change the movement of water through the valley and have a significant negative impact on the freshwater habitat.
6. The proposed mine developer, Burnco, filed a judicial review application against DFO in BC Supreme Court to ‘strong arm’ the DFO to allow them to proceed to an environmental review. The DFO have since agreed to that review with serious concerns as “the project presents a high risk to Salmon and Salmon habitat”.
7. In addition to the destruction to fish habitat, Burnco’s own consultants believe the mine site could be home to 21 species at risk including a population of Roosevelt Elk re-introduced to McNab Creek in 2001 by the BC Ministry of the Environment.
8. The noise from the gravel crushing facility and loading of barges will be significant. It will have a negative impact on the enjoyment of the area by boaters, kayakers, fishermen, tourists and other in Howe Sound. The mine developer has stated at meetings that if the demand is there, they want to run the mining and crushing facilities 24/7, 365 days a year.
9. Noise and light pollution will have significant negative impacts on the land and aquatic animals in the area. Noise and vibration pollution have been found to negatively impact the ability of marine mammals to communicate, navigate, find food and it is believed increasingly to impact their fertility.
10. The mine will have an impact on the economic potential of the Howe Sound area. There is considerable potential in Howe Sound to continue to grow the tourism industry with significant economic multipliers that would accrue to the local economy. A mine is not going to add to the beauty of the area.
How can you help?
Howe Sound needs to be protected for the enjoyment of both current and future generations so we are asking you to be an ambassador for Howe Sound in telling the government that you support the recovery of Howe Sound.
Please take action and sign our petition because, as Dr. Murray Newman, Past Director of the Vancouver Aquarium so aptly put it:
“If Howe Sound were in any other part of the world, it would be a great national park.”