Buffer zones and proposed area of operation in a recent site map created by Westbrook Consulting Ltd. (Swikar Oli/ News staff)

Highlands group invites provincial leaders to a panel opposing local mining application

The public forum begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Highlands Community Hall, 729 Finlayson Arm Rd.

A local group is holding a question and answer panel for Highlands residents today about the proposed aggregate mining site on Millstream Road, near the district’s southern gate.

Premier John Horgan and Michelle Mungall Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum are among those invited, said Highland District Community Association chair Scott Richardson.

“We think it’ll be interesting to see if any of those parties show up more than their delegates. And it will be interesting to hear what they have to say,” he said.

ALSO READ: Highlands raise concerns over proposed quarry near subdivision

The group’s core concern is that the mining legislation in British Columbia is “extremely skewed towards land owners and miners,” he added.

The imbalance is such that a company can come into the Highlands, meet the technical requirements for putting a mine, then blast rock, “reading massive amounts of dust for… years,” without having to pass a public interest test, Richardson said.

A letter from the group addressed to the premier highlights the community’s opposition to the Mines Act Permit that O.K. Industries Ltd. submitted to the province for a 60-plus acre lot on Millstream.

“In June 2018, the HDCA hosted an open house to discuss the situation and the Community Hall was filled to capacity (in excess of 135 people),” the letter states.

ALSO READ: Association calling for more information on mine proposal

The ministry previously wrote in an email to Black Press that the permit is still being reviewed and added that O.K. Industries has been asked to present its updated plans in an open house next week.

“The ministry makes a serious effort to consider and weigh all relevant information and perspectives, and takes this application very seriously and is committed to conducting a thorough and comprehensive review based on input from the District of Highlands and other affected stakeholders and agencies,” they wrote. Further requests for comment were forwarded to Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources and has not been addressed by press time.

The minister would not attend the session tonight however, they replied.

“As the permit application is with the Statutory Decision Maker for consideration, it would be inappropriate for Minister Mungall to attend,” they wrote.

O.K. Industries was not invited to the open house, Richardson said, because “this is between us and the province.” The company will make a presentation on lengthy environmental reports they have commissioned at an open house next week.

ALSO READ: Highlands residents invited to view potential industrial site

Their latest proposals have made attempts at appeasing locals by increasing buffer zones around riparian areas and reducing their carbon footprint.

President Cory Sangha told Black Press previously that O.K. wants to make a deal that pleases the community and can still make a profit.

“Our family’s been here for 60 years. We’re not going anywhere, and I want to work with the community,” he said.

O.K. Industry hosts a public information session at the Highlands Community Hall, 729 Finlayson Arm Rd. on May 2, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Greater Victoria woman goes on gratitude mission to thank first responders

Jen Klein fainted while driving and crashed on Pat Bay Highway in 2019

Non-venomous ball python missing in Vic West

Snake was reported missing to Victoria police Tuesday morning

Multiple Victoria officers injured during violent incidents, including mental health calls over long weekend

Police deploy pepper spray, conducted energy weapon while arresting suspect

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Most Read