A former councillor strongly recommended that Sparwood’s current council draft a letter to the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) to provide a stronger voice for the community in regards to the Baldy Ridge Extension Project.
The project itself is proposed to produce an estimated 6.8 million tonnes of coal per year for the next 30 years.
On Jan. 19, Hungry Baytaluke wrote a letter to council, requesting that council ask to place a 10-year cap on the project’s EA permit.
“That permit is being issued at the request of Teck Coal based on the life service of the mine,” said Baytaluke. “When I spoke to one of the EAO representatives, they said it isn’t something that absolutely is not possible to change but they generally take the request from the proponents and if the project is meant to last 30 years, they automatically draft the proposal to last the term of the project.”
By placing a 10-year cap on the permit, the project would have to undergo at least two more assessments during its operation.
In addition to the letter, Baytaluke also urged council to set an example for the district by leaving comments on the EAO public comment webpage, which only hosted two comments as of Feb. 4.
Baytaluke also suggested that the district host their own open house in addition to the government-sponsored event that was held on Jan. 22.
“If you haven’t heard enough from some of the voices in the community I think it would be wise to possibly hold an open house so that you could form an opinion based on what the public is suggesting to you,” noted Baytaluke.
The Baldy Ridge extension would introduce new pits, waste rock, expand on current tailings facilities and relocate the mining infrastructure. The extension would also bring Teck’s operations even closer to the District of Sparwood.
The EAO’s public comments form will be made available until Feb. 16 and is located http://www.eao.gov.bc.ca/pcp/forms/baldy_ridge_form.html