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Comox Valley chapter opposes Raven coal mine on Vancouver Island

Raven coal mine

Map of where the Raven coal mine would be located.

Compliance Energy has just re-submitted an application for its proposed Raven coal mine on Vancouver Island.

The British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) now has 30 days (until about March 2) to evaluate if the application is complete. If the application is assessed as complete, then a 180 day review process will begin (through to about September 2), which would include a 50 day public comment period.

The Parksville Qualicum Beach News reports, “The underground operation would be centred about five kilometres west of the Buckley Bay ferry terminal and the coal would be stored and shipped out of Port Alberni.” If approved, about 30 million tonnes of coal and rock would be extracted from the mine over a 16 year period. The mine has prompted concerns about water safety because it would be located about five kilometres from Baynes Sound in the Cowie Creek and Tsable River drainages. The sound is the narrow western off-shoot of the Strait of Georgia that separates Vancouver Island from the mainland on British Columbia.

CoalWatch president John Snyder says, “With no evidence of social license being granted by the residents of the Comox Valley or Port Alberni, many may have thought the Raven Coal Mine Project had gone away. However, Compliance Coal seems intent on moving their project forward despite the ever increasing headwind of opposition from Vancouver Island residents.”

The Council of Canadians Comox Valley chapter has been actively raising concerns about the proposed Raven coal mine for almost five years.

Gwyn and MaudeIn December 2010, the Council of Canadians Comox Valley chapter presented its Community Action award to CoalWatch for its work against the mine. In July 2010, the chapter joined the peaceful direct action coalition to mobilize against the mine. In September 2011, Maude Barlow spoke to about 600 people at a public forum in Courtenay in opposition to this mine. In January 2012, the chapter joined a protest of 400 people in Buckley Bay against the mine. In November 2012, the Council of Canadians formally passed a resolution to oppose the Raven coal mine at our annual general meeting in Nanaimo. And even though the Environmental Assessment Office rejected the first application for the mine (stating it was incomplete) in 2013, in May 2014 the chapter held a rally that attracted more than 100 people to downtown Courtenay to protest the mine.

The late chapter activist Gwyn Frayne said, “The Council of Canadians is very committed to protecting our water and environment; we believe the Raven coal mine threatens both.” The Council of Canadians is dedicated to stopping this mine in her memory and in defence of the land, water and climate.

Photo: Gwyn Frayne and Maude Barlow