By Judith Lavoie.
A controversial proposal for a gravel mine at the mouth of a salmon-bearing creek on Howe Sound is a graphic illustration of a broken environmental assessment process – one that relies on science paid for by the proponent, say opponents of the Burnco Aggregate Project on McNab Creek.
“This project is going to impact one of only three estuaries in Howe Sound and it’s critical for salmon spawning habitat, but there is no independent data even on how many salmon are in the creek,” Tracey Saxby, marine scientist and volunteer executive director of the environmental organization My Sea to Sky, told DeSmog Canada.
The company plans to extract up to 1.6 million tonnes of gravel a year for 16 years, which would be shipped from a marine barge loading facility to company operations in Burnaby and Langley. But Saxby says that since estuaries are vital for wild salmon it makes no sense to consider such a project without independent data, pointing out that residents are also concerned about noise, dust and barges travelling to and from the facility every other day.
Saxby is spearheading a campaign that has bombard Environment Minister George Heyman and Energy and Mines Minister Michelle Mungall with more than 2,600 letters asking them to stop the Burnco gravel mine and to rethink the environmental assessment process.