On Oct. 19, an annual public meeting (APM) was held by the Environmental Monitoring Committee (EMC) at Sparwood’s Senior Citizen’s Drop In Centre to communicate and inform participants on the activities of the committee and the reviewed monitoring conclusions. This was the second year of the event. Last year’s event in Fernie had 30 attendees, according to Bruce Kilgour, the EMC’s independent scientist.
“This year, in Sparwood, the meeting was attended by about a dozen people. The meeting was advertised in print, on online news sources and via radio. Posters were placed in the community and direct email invitations were sent three weeks prior to, and the week of the public meeting to a contact list of approximately 100 people,” he said.
The APM began with a Traditional Knowledge perspective from Ktunaxa Nation Council representative, Lillian Rose.
“The committee formally presented information for over two hours, beginning with an overview of Permit 107517, the Area Based Management Plan, and the Committee’s purpose,” said Kilgour. “Committee members presented summaries of water quality trends in the Elk River watershed; a review of studies on algae, invertebrates and fish in the Elk River watershed including the Koocanusa Reservoir; a summary of available results of a human health risk assessment; a description of a tributary evaluation and management plan; and a description of Teck’s proposed Adaptive Management Plan.”
In November 2014, Teck was issued BC Environmental Management Act (EMA) Permit 107517. The permit requires the EMC to hold an APM, according to Kilgour.
“The permit requires the committee to hold an annual public meeting to inform the public of monitoring submissions and information reviewed by the committee and the results of audits,” he said, “The public meeting is an opportunity for the committee to communicate the results of monitoring as it relates to activities under the EMA Permit.”
The EMC is comprised of representatives from private, provincial and federal stakeholders.
“Committee membership includes representatives from the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the Interior Health Authority, the Ktunaxa Nation Council, and Teck. The committee membership also includes an independent scientist (myself), who provides an external perspective on monitoring activities required by the permit. I am a private consultant (biologist) from Ottawa,” said Kilgour. “The committee reviews monitoring submissions required under the EMA Permit and provides technical and Traditional Knowledge advice with the goal of strengthening technical monitoring submissions to the Ministry of Environment.”