SIMON NATTRASS: Coal – not in anyone’s backyard, thank you very much

Think about coal for a moment. What comes to mind — 18th century industrial barons? Towering black plumes of smoke? Steam engines?

Think about coal for a moment. What comes to mind — 18th century industrial barons? Towering black plumes of smoke? Steam engines?

For many who have never even spoken of coal except as a Christmas gift for naughty kids, the idea that its use continues despite alternatives is baffling. In fact, two new mines are currently seeking approval on the southern Island. Both would be located in the heart of the Comox Valley, just a few hours drive from The Capital. Named after the animals whose habitat they threaten, Raven underground mine and Bear open pit mine are proposed by Compliance Energy Corporation. Meant to start operations in 2011, the projects have been mired in bad PR while awaiting approval from the BC Environmental Assessment Office.

The devastation that comes with mining is old news for a public bombarded with apocalyptic images of the Alberta tar sands landscape. Living near a mine means a higher risk of contracting cardiopulmonary, lung and kidney diseases, hypertension and mercury poisoning, yet CEC and partners continue to claim the mines pose no risk. Raven and Bear would also gouge deep into the Valley’s watershed, threatening not only human and nonhuman inhabitants, but the holiest of the holy: the local economy. It should come as no surprise that a majority of Comox Valley residents oppose the mines.

While a three hour drive doesn’t exactly place the Raven and Bear mines in our back yard, it’s time to make these projects our problem before this century’s Black Gold Rush makes its way to our neck of the woods. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria dealer sells Batmobile replica at Arizona auction

Tim Quocksister sells Batmobile replica for $165,000 US at auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Cowichan Calligraphers mark 25 years of loving letters

For the past 25 years our group has worked regularly with the public.

Nanaimo psychedelic rock duo releases 30-minute instrumental track

‘The Archaeus Cycle’ reflects on life during COVID-19 and the healing capability of music

Greater Victoria performer does ‘lawn tour’ for neighbourhood 7 p.m. shows

Stephanie Greaves started in Oak Bay and can’t keep up with requests

Artist Ali Spence finds freedom to paint in adopted Vancouver Island home

Spence is one of several artists whose work is showing online at DRAW Gallery

Most Read