By Wendy Bales. The Aggregate Pilot Project (APP) , is back up for air and more changes.
I would still venture a guess that if asked on the street a majority of regional residents still wouldn’t know what the APP is, other than a smart phone application. Last Friday I received word that the latest version of APP mapping is now up on the FVRD website.
There have been so many mapping versions to date that I have actually lost track of the number. Some versions never made it as far as the public for viewing. Even the FVRD staff map designer was not sure how many renditions there have been. Over the last decade, and since the notable 2009 final draft, there have been so many changes, that I wonder if anyone takes the APP seriously any more.
Last August 2013 I invited people to come to the EASC committee meeting and get informed about the new direction of the APP. After Randy Hawes left office the file and work on the APP was taken over by FLNRO (Forestry Lands and Natural Resources Operations) ministry staff headed by Stewart Guy.
The changed mapping will need some explanation for clarification on the new color scheme. For instance in the previous mapping (FVRD board approved, except for myself and Director Adamson), green meant a go ahead mining zone that could have asphalt and wouldn’t need public consultation or meetings about aggregate applications. In the previous approved mapping some parks were included in aggregate green zones as well as one whole electoral area, that has the driest climate of all the Electoral areas in the FVRD. Below is a very short meeting segment that has Director Adamsons opinion of the mapping process.
Aug 2013 Open EASC_D.Adamson_Segmemt-1b: this recorded segment is less than 2 minutes:
I agree with D Adamsons points, except for one thing, if you didn’t color the maps in a way that industry would agree to, then the mapping wouldn’t be accepted. So metaphorically, they would take away your crayons. Absent in Chair Dickeys list of participants have been the public and often their representatives in the planning meetings. Chair Bill Dickey said that the maps (meaning before they changed the color formula) were endorsed by the Board (all but myself and Dennis Adamson).
The maps that were endorsed by the board had one whole dry climate Electoral area A all in green mining zone. In that version of mapping, green meant a go ahead and mine without public input zone that you could do asphalt in as well. In area A even the parks were colored for mining as well as important water source areas.
In the newest mapping, the green color on the map is now supposed to only identify protected park areas. Stewart Guy talked about the need to protect parks at the August 2013 meeting and I do believe that he was quite sincere, but he didn’t seem as definite about what his political provincial bosses would accept.
So previously the FVRD board except for myself and Director Adamson thought that mapping parks and a whole arid electoral area as an aggregate zone was ok as they had voted in favor of them.
The full board except for myself and Director Adamson also voted for the new current version of mapping that colors the parks green as protected zones. Of note in the new mapping, is that the very important Norrish Creek Watershed that supplies much of Mission’s and Abbotsford’s water has no protection along the whole upper source. As well, a large area of Sumas Mountain, up to the edge of the park has no red zones protecting the boundaries of the park. Also of note is that there area mining zones along most of our main corridors and tourist routes, of which most are community watersheds.
So, there is a bit of irony that in the same week I had gotten the new mapping that shows the parks as what is supposed to be green protected areas, I have also read in several news articles that bill 4 was passed to open parks up to resource industry exploration. Are you confused yet? It is typical of other contradictions in government. It is like the clause in mining permits that says they are required to follow the wildlife or water act regulations and then you find out that in the Water Act that mining is exempt from Water Act clauses, or that protective clauses in permits can be changed at the discretion of the chief mining inspector.
From all the speakers at public meetings and written submissions from the public, I would guess that the public opposition that participated in the APP issue (as it was presented before) was around 98%. Many issues that were problems in past versions remain problems There needs to be mechanisms that would limit applications for mines permits in watersheds in order to be sustainable and fair to other stakeholders that live and work in the FVRD’s electoral area gravel zones and corridors. Unfortunately I don’t believe that the current APP as is will be able to set limits to mining applications that are needed for a sustainable future.Wendy Bales is FVRD Director for Area C