The Baldy Ridge Extension project will extend the life of the Elkview coal mine (pictured). File photo

Sparwood liveability study to start this month

Study to inform Elkview coal mine expansion, District of Sparwood planning

How liveable is Sparwood?

Residents in the mining town will soon have a chance to share their views when the District of Sparwood launches a liveability study later this month.

“This study is about the quality of life that people experience, with a view to understanding the impacts of mining on quality of life in Sparwood,” said Manager of Planning Jeremy Johnston.

LOOK BACK: Committee to oversee expansion of Teck coal mine in Sparwood

The study is a permit condition for Teck’s Baldy Ridge Extension (BRE) project and will serve as part of the Socio-Community and Economic Effects Management Plan.

BRE will extend the overall life of the Elkview coal mine until 2045 and increase the disturbance area of the operation by 862 hectares.

LOOK BACK: Construction to begin on Baldy Ridge Extension

Johnston said the study will also help the District understand what aspects of the community and mining have the most impact on quality of life.

“In order for us to have results that reflect the whole community, we need to reach as many people from as many different walks of life as possible.” he said.

“Residents participation in this study will help us achieve that goal.”

Teck has previously hosted public forums on mining impacts, such as dust, which has been an ongoing issue in Sparwood.

Johnston said this study will look at the bigger picture, considering both broad and specific aspects of community liveability.

“We will look at pieces as part of a whole and get a better understanding of how a single issue relates to overall quality of life as opposed to a single event,” he said.

The study may also help guide future investigations into specific issues.

All Sparwood residents are encouraged to take part, however, anyone under the age of 13 will require parental consent. The District hopes to hold workshops at Sparwood Secondary School for interested students, as well as circulate a worksheet for them to complete.

Community engagement initiatives will be announced soon and get underway in the second half of January. Evening workshops are also planned for mid-February.

Johnston said the study is expected to wrap up in early summer, with the results to be made public and uploaded to the District’s website.

For more information about the livability study, visit Sparwood.ca/livable.

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