March 22, 2018 – After a provincial public comment period from October 27 to November 27 2017, and a federal one from December 4, 2017 to January 26, 2018, the provincial Minister of Environment, George Heyman, has granted approval to Burnco to build the gravel mine. We are still waiting on the federal decision and the zoning decision of the Sunshine Coast Regional District for a zoning change that would allow for Burnco to process the gravel on site.
BURNCO Rock Products wants to dig a 70 acre (30 Hectare) gravel mine, create an onsite crushing and processing plant, to produce 20+ million tonnes of aggregate over 16+ years. A conveyor bridge is to be build to a new barge dock terminal. The project will create only 12 direct operational jobs while it will threaten one of the very few remaining natural productive estuary in Atl’Kitsem / Howe Sound.
Why is this gravel mine proposal such a bad idea:
- Estuaries are massively important for aquatic life. Estuaries are among the most productive ecosystems on earth and this 2006 Ecosystems at Risk ‘Estuaries in British Columbia’ published by the BC Ministry of Environment explains why.
- Estuaries are naturally rare, comprising only 2.3 percent of British Columbia’s rugged coastline.
- McNab Creek is a salmon bearing stream with higher salmon returns than the company admitted.
- The Depart of Fisheries and Oceans has rejected plans for a gravel mine at this location twice, due to concerns for wild salmon spawning habitat.
- Yet Burnco wants to continue with this ludicrous idea to dig a gravel pit in one of the few remaining natural estuaries in a recovering Átl’ḵa7tsem / Howe Sound.
- The Environmental Assessment report from the Environmental Assessment office suggests that digging a 70 acre gravel mine in an natural estuary, processing the gravel on site, building and operating a loading wharf for gravel barges, all of this would ‘not have significant adverse effects.’ Would you believe it?
What we are asking you to do is to send your letter about the gravel mine proposal and the broken Environmental Assessments process, right to the Minister of Environment, George Heyman, and the Minister of Minister Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Michelle Mungall.
What we really want you to do is to take your comments about Burnco and the broken Environmental Assessments process, right to the Minister of Environment, George Heyman, and the Minister of Minister Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Michelle Mungall.
You can send your email to Minister Heyman and Minister Mungall with this link
You can also use the My Sea to Sky letter sender
It is best to write your own original letter. Please use the information above, and make it your letter, that way it will have most effect!
And you can also submit a comment to the Environmental Assessment Office at:
the EAO Burnco Gravel Mine Project information page of the Environmental Assessment Office website.
Or you can send you submission to:
Burnco Aggregate Project
Environmental Assessment Office
P.O. Box 9426 Stn ProvGovt
Victoria, BC V8W 9V1
Or fax it to 250 387 0230
What is at stake in McNab Creek?
b>Estuaries are massively important for aquatic life. Estuaries are among the most productive ecosystems on earth. Estuaries are naturally rare, comprising only 2.3 percent of British Columbia’s rugged coastline.
Kw’ech’ténm / McNab Creek is renowned for hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing and for its beauty, and quiet.
Kw’ech’ténm / McNab Creek is also one of the last few remaining natural and reasonably intact estuaries in Atl’kitsem / Howe Sound. Estuaries are very important for fish stocks to reproduce. The largest creek in the valley is a salmon bearing stream.
In the 2011 edition of the company’s project report, 21 species at risk were identified as potentially occurring on the property.
The Vancouver Aquarium is concerned about the salmon, and rock-fish at the estuary mouth.
Squamish Chief: [Vancouver Aquarium] Researcher [Jeff Marliave] explores McNab Creek, Sept 2012. Photo: Squamish Chief
- The project will cause dust, noise and light pollution for wildlife, local residents and recreational users of the area.
- A permanent dike at the north and east side of pit lake would lock McNab Creek into its current flow, even though this creek has meandered over time, changing its flow path.
- This gravel mine project was turned down twice by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans due to serious concerns about the project’s effect on fish and fish habitat. See this letter from the department dated June 27 2011.
Please note, that from July 24, 2006 to May 9, 2017, Burnco has donated $350,700 to the BC Liberal Party. In 2013 it donated $12,500 to the BC NDP.
The ‘benefits’ of the project should be weight against the above described serious harm this project would cause.
Suggested project benefits:
- Profits for Burnco
- 12 full time jobs
- A suggested upgrade to artificial salmon spawning channel (Water Course 2), which was originally built to compensate for the damage done to Rainy River by the Port Mellon Paper and Pulp mill.
HOWEVER, the upgrade or rebuild would do nothing to compensate for the damage to fish and fish habitat in the McNab estuary.
Environmental Assessment of the proposal
A review by the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) is currently underway.
- In 2016 a Public Comment Period was held from August 15th to October 3rd.
- The overwhelming public response, 3,590 issues raised by the public, forced the company to request a 180 day suspension of the review period, something which was granted by the EAO.
- As of June 21 2017 Public comments and responses from Burnco can be viewed here. Use the find option in your browser or viewer to locate your name or comment.
- It is expected that another public comment period will be held before the final recommendations will be send to the Minister.
- If you want to go deeper: here is the link the EAO website for the proposed Burnco McNab Creek Gravel Mine Project.
What you can do:
- Visit McNab Creek! If you have a boat, access to a boat, or are about to go on a kayak journey in Atl’kitsem / Howe Sound, a campsite just east of McNab Creek is part of the Sea to Sky Marine Trail.
- If you have concerns about this project you can email the Environmental Assessment Office.
- Sign the Petition. (Hosted by the Future of Howe Sound Society).
- The Future of Howe Sound Society is taking the lead to have this project overturned. Their website contains a lot of information about this project
- Write letters to elected officials:
Honourable George Heyman
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy,
ENV.Minister@gov.bc.ca or george.heyman.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Honourable Michelle Mungall
Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources,
MEM.Minister@gov.bc.ca or michelle.mungall.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, MP West Vancouver – Sea to Sky – Sunshine Coast
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Jordan Sturdy, MLA West Vancouver Sea to Sky
6392 Bay Street, West Vancouver V7W 2G9
Nicholas Simons, MLA Powell River-Sunshine Coast
5, 4720 Sunshine Coast Hwy.
Sechelt, BC V0N 3A2
David Rafael, Senior Planner
Sunshine Coast Regional District
1975 Field Road Sechelt, BC V0N 3A1