I am one of the farmers growing oysters in Baynes Sound and also a long-time homeowner in Fanny Bay.
This proposed Raven coal mine is in the heart of a major farming industry that heavily depends on clean water. The coal mine would definitely impact the existing industry that is already well established in the area, providing plenty of long-term jobs for Vancouver Islanders.
The story that doesn’t get told is that the seafood industry is big business, very big business, second only to big oil.
Currently, China wants all the seafood grown out of Fanny Bay and the demand is so big that no farmer would ever be able to fill it in their lifetime. Baynes Sound is also Canada’s oyster capital and we are not treating it with the respect it deserves.
We have something unique in our valley that deserves to be protected due to what is happening locally and globally. We see climate change is dramatically affecting our world — just look at what happened to Alberta this year — and we have population growth locally with sewage issues that will also dramatically impact the shellfish industry, unless the sewage is dealt with as population continues to rise.
Super, natural British Columbia is known for its oceans and natural abundance, and the shellfish industry fits into the new way of doing business in the future. We want cleaner water, cleaner air, better jobs and long-term prosperity for Vancouver Island. As we develop geoducks and create higher-value shellfish, Fanny Bay and the area where the mine is situated is ready to develop into a billion-dollar-a-year industry that is both sustainable and long term.
A coal mine can be situated anywhere in B.C. where it won’t directly impact another industry that highly depends on clean water to remain in business. Fanny Bay is the wrong location at this time for a mine of this magnitude.
Local families that live in Fanny Bay understand the uniqueness of our area. Maybe Parksville residents need to come and look at the sea lions at the Fanny Bay wharf in March — where the effluent of the toxic water from the proposed mine is supposed to run down Cowie Creek out of one our protected estuaries — before saying they want more jobs in our area.
It is true this mine will produce hundreds of jobs for 16 years. But it will disturb the local wildlife and the 30-million-dollar shellfish industry that is long established in the same area and that simply isn’t fair.
I am a very positive person with a positive outlook on life. However, this topic really stirs up strong emotions that are difficult to hold back.