Scrap the APP

Rally planned in front of MLA's office Friday afternoon

Editor, The Record:

B.C. Watersheds along with Friends of Deroche Mountain are sponsoring a World Water Day Rally in the Valley.

The rally is scheduled for March 22, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in front of MLA Randy Hawes office on First Avenue. Hawes is the chair of the (APP) Aggregate Pilot Project.

We could be at the 11th hour of major irreversible destructive changes to our water sources. Mining zones are planned for our most important Fraser Valley Watersheds, above and in habitats that are also some of the best watersheds for salmon spawning areas left in the world.

Many believe the APP could be approved before the next election and if approved the APP will help to rubber stamp permits in large mining zones, accelerating the current unsustainable aspects of the Mining Act.

We want the APP scrapped and the Mines Act amended.

The main selling point of the APP on the FVRD’s website:

“The objective of APP is to develop a set of recommendations supported by local government and the Aggregate Industry for new approaches that reduce conflicts and secure a long-term stable aggregate supply.”

Well over 90 per cent of those speaking at public meetings have been opposed to the APP. Since we already have over a 100 years worth of gravel permitted for our local needs, what is it really about?

Many of the details of the APP have been decided in closed door meetings without public inclusion.

In spite of the opposition, almost all FVRD directors are in favour. I believe the main selling point for local government has been the tonnage fees that would go to the FVRD. I believe this is more about control over large areas of Crown land, water and forest resources.

As a member of the APP tri-party committee, I believe that both the APP as well as the Mines Act could facilitate a system that will be unsustainable for our needed affordable water supply. International corporations are already buying up control of our watersheds through mining permits.

With the recent downgrades to DFO and Ministry of Environment, any expectation of meaningful proactive regulating of our watersheds and habitats is unrealistic. The FVRD has not enforced its last new improved zoning bylaw for mining. The Ministry of Mines does very little in the way of effective regulating and enforcement. Whether by the proposed APP Zones or by the archaic Mines Act if we want a sustainable future, mining with no limits or consideration of hydrological and cumulative impacts has got to be stopped.

Wendy Bales

Area C FVRD Director