The proliferation of gravel pits in the Fraser Valley is a concern for communities throughout the region. Yet another permit application further threatens the small community of Lake Errock. We have endured one, now exhausted, mine for enough years to know that gravel pits make extremely bad neighbours.
Rather than reclaim the eyesore that is the old mine, as was the original promise, operators are seeking to double the size of the scar on the landscape and use the old mine as a staging and processing area, despite the acknowledged risks to traffic and the community’s concerns.
It has been a year and a half since this application was made, and the community remains vehemently opposed.
What has become absolutely clear is that the permit process for gravel pits is designed for approval and to exclude the affected community’s concerns.
The many problems with open gravel pits so close to our community are well documented and, should this permit be granted by the provincial government, it will demonstrate that the permit process is a sham. If Lake Errock cannot stop this mine, no community can.
The environmental studies related to this permit application were bought and paid for by the mining interests and do not even consider the impact on we who live nearby; a case of funding bias in research if there ever was one. Residents who live near the proposed site were not notified of the permit application, no sign has ever erected at the site, just a small advertisement in the newspapers of neighbouring towns.
Many residents are only finding out about it at this late hour. Municipal zoning is simply ignored in this process. The list of problems with the process is too exhaustive to outline in full here.
The government and the industry avoid public meetings if at all possible. After an intense campaign the people of Lake Errock have now been granted a public meeting on a date as yet unannounced. The history of this kind of public meeting is that they rarely stop, or even hold up, the permit being granted. If the evidence against the mine is extremely damning the process may be slowed up, but the mining interests just get to reapply until the permit is granted.
If this permit application is granted, it will guarantee years, if not decades, of conflict between the mining interests and the community.
So be aware citizens of the Fraser Valley, if this permit goes through, your community could be next.