Letter to the editor – Keep it wild

Keep It Wild

The family dogs are buried there. My sister was chased by a moose there. My dad came face-to-face with a grizzly bear there. I grew up there but I’m afraid my memories might die there.

You see my family owns a longstanding cabin nestled in the stunning wilderness just outside Elkford, BC. This cabin is truly one of a kind. Originally built in 1934 this place has seen its fair share of generations come and go. My family has been lucky enough to have been enjoying this home away from home for 20+ years now. It maintains much of its original structure and features and is very much “off the grid”. We love it that way! Imagine a place where you can drink right from the creek because the water is so clean, unpolluted, and fresh. A place where you can identify each star in the night sky and when the time is right watch the Northern Lights dance above you. A place where animals have their own names because they are long-term residents like yourselves. A place where the busy noise of everyday life disappears; you hear only birds singing, a bubbling stream, a fire crackling, and your own peaceful thoughts. A place where families come together to know each other better and memories are inadvertently locked in time. Our cabin offers all of this and so much more. It is hard to put into words what this special place means to my family. Unfortunately, the land our cabin sits on may soon become the centrepiece for the proposed Bingay Coal Mine.

The Bingay Coal Mine is set to begin construction in 2018. The final project is expected to cover over 40km2 and sits directly on top of my family’s deep-rooted cabin. The development of this mine will sadly leave my family in a “get paid out” or “get pushed out” situation, but I am also deeply concerned about the impact this mine will have on the citizens of Elkford and the Elk Valley.

Bingay Creek is footsteps from our cabin and the Elk River and Blue Lake are only a short walk away. All three are frequently used for recreation by locals and tourists alike and all three will be directly impacted by this new mine. Blue Lake, a BC Forestry Campsite, will arguably see the biggest impact. The Bingay Coal Mine has planned for it to be lost through the use of a rock storage area for the project. I love that Elkford, B.C. has a highway to nowhere. Beyond this highway are the grand Elk Lakes, miles of snowmobile access, world class fishing, lush territory for endangered species, and any outdoor activity you could imagine. It is a nature lover’s paradise and development of the Bingay Coal Mine means access here will be cut off. In place will be a road for haulage trucks, rail lines, and processing plants. Elkford’s goal to translate into tourism will suffer as backcountry resources turn out to be unavailable. These examples have only scratched the surface of what is at stake here.

I hope this letter motivates people to consider how the development of the Bingay Coal Mine will influence their lives and those of their neighbours. I encourage you to stand up for your health, the environment, future generations, and hopefully my home away from home.

A public comment period is open until Dec 4, 2017. You can help by writing a short comment to the Environmental Assessment Office about the Bingay Coal Mine project at the following website:

Elkvalleycoal.com/bingay-coal-project-description-released/

Thank you for listening,

Amanda Taylor,

Elkford, B.C.

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