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UPDATE: Lake Errock gravel pit vs. the right to drink clean water

Ekset gravel pit at Lake Errock

Ekset gravel pit at Lake Errock

Lake Errock is located east of Mission in the Upper Fraser Valley of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. It lies southwest of Harrison Bay, a sidewater of the Harrison River, and is separated from the nearby Fraser River by a large rocky hill.

It has been brought to our attention by concerned area residents that a gravel pit that is already doing serious harm to Lake Errock is seeking a permit to expand its operations. In September 2011, a media release by ACES, a group opposed to the permit, notes, “Ekset Contracting Ltd. has requested a mining permit for the area immediately adjacent to the existing pit that would border the two creeks that traverse the property and calls for a large and permanent sediment settling pond to be built only 200 metres away from the community water wellhead. A well that citizens lobbied hard for and the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) recently build and operate to ensure a safe, regulated water supply to the community.”

This past January, area resident Dehlia Simper wrote, “Our concerns have fallen on deaf ears as the profit gained for a few pit owners seems to take precedence over our rights to drink clean water and live in a safe clean environment.” She highlights, “The residents of Lake Errock were not directly told of the new pit application but discovered it through someone reading the tiny announcement posted in the Abbotsford Times which is not even a newspaper that services our area. This was not adequate notification and is a breach of our democratic rights.”

An open letter on the BC Watersheds website also states, “The four study reports on the proposed Lake Errock pits which I have read fail to deal with the problems of air quality and damage to Lake Errock. …The changes in the lake need to be assessed as all residents have noticed the increased silt in the lake and a brown layer emanating from the mine is frequently visible in the lake. …Please do not dismiss the concerns of the local residents of Lake Errock in regard to this permit. We are legitimately concerned about our health and the health of Lake Errock and our issues have not been addressed.”

Simper adds, “We live in an ecologically sensitive area with a prime salmon spawning channel by our lake and are area is home to one of the largest congregations of eagles in Canada. The mountains behind us are filled with aquifers and are the source of our water for Lake Errock and the surrounding areas. At this time we are facing more serious destruction with the proposed expansion of yet another pit by Mr. Dave Vernon of Ekset Contracting… The proposed pit is dangerously close to our watershed and many aquifers close by have already been disturbed and re-routed with the resulting contamination of near by water sources, such as what happened on Ohman road with the Debench pit. It only follows to reason that when whole mountains are taken away that there is no natural course for the water to follow.”