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Texada Island regional director wants well water protected

qathet Regional District's planning committee supports mining application near Blubber Bay
SHARES CONCERN: qathet Regional District Electoral Area D director Sandy McCormick shared concerns about wells in the vicinity of planned drilling in the Blubber Bay area of Texada Island. She requested that well owners be notified of planned mining activity.

qathet Regional District (qRD) planning committee is recommending the regional board support a mining permit in the vicinity of Blubber Bay on Texada Island, with conditions.

At the July 3 planning committee meeting, directors reviewed a recommendation that the regional district advise BC ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation that it has no objection to the notice of work for a mining permit submitted by Zyrox Mining Company Ltd. The recommendation spelled out four subjects.

Electoral Area D director Sandy McCormick asked if the regional district could add anything in the conditions regarding the existing domestic wells that are on the site. She said well owners should be notified, with an opportunity to respond to the government before the deadline.

qRD manager of planning services Laura Roddan said there is mention of the wells in the staff report, however, it is not within the regional district’s authority.

“It is the province’s responsibility to assess the interests on that crown land,” said Roddan. “The recommended condition is an advisory to the province to consider. They would reach out to the agency responsible to determine the status of those wells. They are responsible for the public participation component of it.”

McCormick asked if the conditions could include that the applicants notify well owners of this application so the well owners have an opportunity to respond if they feel affected.

“I’m concerned these people aren’t going to know about this application,” said McCormick. “I am concerned they are going to be blindsided and possibly negatively affected without an opportunity to respond or express a concern.

“Could we include a condition that the applicant be required to notify the well owners of the application?”

Roddan said she believed the condition could be added.

McCormick said she wanted to move an amendment as an additional condition that the applicant be required to notify the owners of those wells within the mining area of the application. She said she is trying to protect people relying on those wells in terms of water quality.

Roddan said it might be problematic for the applicant to provide notification because the applicant has no access to the information. She said process-wise, it would be more accurate to have the province determine the status of the groundwater wells and notify well owners, versus getting the applicant to do it.

McCormick’s amendment, however, carried.

Subjects stipulated by the planning committee in the recommendation for regional board approval include the applicant being required to notify owners of the wells located within the mining area project. Another is the applicant being required to monitor groundwater quality before, during and after drilling activities.

A third subject was that sensitive ecosystems along the coastline be removed from the mining permit area. A fourth is that the applicant performs ongoing restoration and rehabilitation of the land, where resources are being extracted, as opposed to such action at the time of project completion.

The fifth subject is that the applicant obtains archaeological information on the proposed mining permit area from BC Archaeology Branch, and if the records show the property may contain an archaeological site, obtain an archaeological impact assessment by a qualified archaeologist.

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