Will the Province repeat past mistakes in Howe Sound gravel mine review?


28th November 2017

SQUAMISH, BC — My Sea to Sky is frustrated the provincial government is once again reviewing a major project without independent data — this time for wild salmon that are at risk from Burnco’s proposed gravel mine on McNab Creek.

“The environmental assessment process is completely broken,” said Tracey Saxby, marine scientist and Volunteer Executive Director of My Sea to Sky. “Public engagement is nothing more than a checkbox on a form, and the process relies on science that is bought and paid for by the proponent. It’s a clear conflict of interest.”

Last month, the Province announced it would review the practice of professional reliance which allows companies to hire consultants to determine the impacts of proposed projects. It’s the same policy that allowed Woodfibre LNG to ignore herring spawn in Howe Sound thanks to the lack of baseline data.

“There is no point engaging in this broken process, so we decided to bypass the process and email the Ministers directly,” said Saxby. “This is a real opportunity for the government to fix the mistakes of the previous government and ensure that our wild salmon are protected.”

This is the first environmental assessment decision to be made by the new BC NDP government. More than 2,600 people sent a letter to the Ministers, calling for them to:

  1. Initiate a review of the environmental assessment process for the Burnco gravel mine thus far.
  2. Conduct a robust and fully independent baseline assessment of wild salmon populations in McNab Creek.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has already refused permits, twice, for a gravel mine at McNab Creek, due to the impacts to this critical salmon spawning habitat.

“We need the province to press pause until it restores public trust in the process,” said Saxby. “We can dig up gravel anywhere, but our estuaries are irreplaceable.”



Tracey Saxby, marine scientist and Volunteer Executive Director of My Sea to Sky