Town rankled over mine

Qualicum Beach passes Raven Coal motion, despite wrangling

The Town of Qualicum Beach has reiterated its call for an independent review of the proposed mine development at Fanny Bay.

The move however, didn’t come without rancour and the result was not unanimous.

The motion, by Councillor Kent Becker, called for the review but also included a list of specific concerns they want addressed in such a process. The motion, which had clauses that stretch over three and a half pages of printed text, didn’t go down well with Coun. Mary Brouilette.

“I can see a lot of work has been put into this motion,” she said. “It actually disturbs me a great deal. It has a very singular perspective.”

Brouilette said the motion should not be seen as a blanket endorsement of its provisions by council.

“I do not believe it is this council’s position to say this proposed (review) is inadequate,” she said. “I don’t believe this is our role at all.”

That said, Brouilette stressed she does support council calling for an independent review of the Raven Coal project. It’s the preamble that gives her pause.

“To ask every councillor here to support a very biased position on this is unworthy of the process,” she said.

In response, Coun. Barry Avis, a strong opponent of the mine proposal, noted the environment committee, with 18 members, is the largest committee of council, including such diverse groups as the North Qualicum Beach Homeowners Association, Chartwell Residents Association, the Oceanside Development and Construction Association, the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce, Friends of French Creek, Brown Property Preservation Society, Friends of Hamilton Marsh and the Brant Wildlife Festival, among others.

Avis said Qualicum Beach residents can’t afford to be complacent about the proposed development.

“We should be quite concerned here,” he said. “If this material is ever moved by train, we know where the track goes in Qualicum Beach.”

Coun. Jack Wilson was unimpressed.

“Perish the thought we should have some economic development in this region,” he said. “It’s inappropriate for council to address this issue. I think it’s outrageous to put this in the council agenda. This is a left-wing crusade that I don’t think this council should be part of.”

However, Coun. Kent Becker weighed in with Avis, as did Mayor Teunis Westbroek, so the motion passed, with Wilson and Brouilette voting in opposition.