What Matters In Our Valley (WMIOV) was founded in 2017 by a group of Telkwa and other Bulkley Valley residents who share a deep commitment to the conservation of our rivers, water, fish, wildlife, air and the quality of life in our exceptional area. Our current goals are:
What Matters In Our Valley cares about the social, environmental, and economic health of the Bulkley Valley. At this time we are reviewing the proposed Telkwa Coal Project.
(Photo Credit Phillip Hopps)
The Telkwa Coal project continues to bear watching. Here's the latest update for February 2021:
Telkwa Coal has not yet submitted its revisions to the document called the Application Information Requirements that were previously filed with the Province as a draft.
Many people commented on that draft (over 200), including What Matters In Our Valley. Many of you, like us, were very concerned that the draft did not place sufficient value on protecting our water. It identified water (including the rivers, the creeks, the underground waterways and all other water sources in the watershed) as a so-called "Intermediate Component". This meant that as long as Telkwa Coal presented a plan that arguably protected against, or purportedly provided a way to mitigate harms to the Valued Components(such as Fish and /fish Habitat; Vegetation; Wildlife; Birds; Heritage Resources; Human Health) then impacts on water would not need to be taken into account in making the final decision in the Environmental Assessment process.
We thought this wrong given the centrality of water to the history, culture and ecology of our region.
It seems that the EAO responded to the pressure of the public comments as on Feb. 18th, we received the following information from Matt Rodgers, Project Assessment Officer from the EAO:
" The Application Information Requirements have not yet been finalized for the Tenas Project. We are still working through resolving working group comments with Telkwa Coal Limited (TCL) and, pending resolution of outstanding issues/concerns, anticipate finalizing the AIR in the next few weeks. As I mentioned during our call, one of the key changesthat has been made to the AIR is making all Intermediate Components (ICs) into Valued Components (VCs). Once the AIR is finalized, we will post the document to EPIC along with a working group comment tracking table which will include responses from TCL to all working group comments received.
The next opportunity for public input into the project will be during the minimum 30 day public comment period on TCL’s draft Application for an environmental assessment certificate."
This is great news as it means that Water will now also be a Valued Component (VC).
Telkwa Coal apparently intends to file the final version of the Application Information Requirements sometime in the next few weeks. There will not be another public comment period regarding this document.
The next stage after this in the process involves Telkwa Coal filing its draft Application for an Environmental Assessment Certificate (i.e., its mine plan). The public comment period for this document can be as little as 30 days. Since this is the most important part of the whole process, we do not think that a 30 day period will be anywhere near adequate. We will be suggesting a much longer period since the plan will contain full details about how Telkwa Coal believes it can address all major issues. Such final details have not been presented up to now.
We will keep you up to date about all of these steps, including any deficiencies we see in the final Application Information Requirement document and, of course all issues raised by the mine plan.
We will be asking for your support throughout the next steps. We will be seeking expert advice on the mine plan and will need all the help we can get from the public to make sure the Valley is fully informed about the risks of this project.
For an example of the types of issues raised by operating an open pit coal mine near fish bearing waters and close to populated areas, you might want to read these two articles:
Thank you for all of your support. Contributions to WMIOV can be made by etransfer to email@example.com or by mail to WMIOV, Box 2393, Smithers, BC, V0J2N0.
February 23, 2021
We have retained consultants to help us with this process and we intend to distribute our comments to the public in time to help with your own response.
Preparing our comments to participate in the EA process will cost a substantial amount of money due to the need for technical assistance. Obtaining this kind of expert advice throughout the Environmental Assessment process is a costly exercise. Consequently, we are now raising funds so that the public can contribute to our activities. We believe it is important that expert opinions not only come from consultants paid for by Telkwa Coal.
Donations can be made to: WMIOV, Box 2393, Smithers, BC, V0J 2N0 or by etransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For your information, the dAIR (draft Application Information Requirements) and the public comments can still be viewed at: https://projects.eao.gov.bc.ca/api/public/document/5ed190afebb76e001ae10913/download/200504_Tenas%20Coal%20dAIR.pdf
A small organizing group meets monthly to keep up to date with the current happenings regarding the proposed Telkwa coal mine. We will plan informative evenings regarding concerns with key issues incl. water and air pollution, concerns with fish habitat, caribou and other wildlife, noise, haul road and loading site issues. We also have a group of active supporters who don't attend regular meetings but help and volunteer when events are planned. Whether you help through volunteering your time, or spreading our mission through word-of-mouth, thank you. We couldn't accomplish our goals without the help of supporters like you.
We have retained expert assistance to aid us in the task of reviewing the dAIR. Obtaining the kind of expert advice that the public will need throughout the Environmental Assessment process is a costly exercise. Consequently, we are now raising funds so that the public can contribute to our activities.
We have set up a bank account for this purpose. Donations can be made to WMIOV, Box 2393, Smithers, BC, V0J2N0 or by etransfer to email@example.com