The Fraser Valley Gravel Extraction Scheme
Right now, governments and industry are developing a plan (called the 'Aggregate Pilot Project') to extract vast tracts of Fraser Valley gravel. This plan does not account for the potentially devastating impacts of massive gravel extraction on the health of our home waters, our drinking water or the fish and wildlife these waters support. It fails to respect Aboriginal rights and title and the authorities that have developed the plan have not sought meaningful input from the communities and local residents that will be affected by it.
The website of the Fraser Valley Regional District articulates that the Aggregate Pilot Project seeks to “develop a set of recommendations to industry, local governments and the provincial government for new approaches that significantly reduce conflicts and secure a long term, economic, stable supply.”
More specifically, it aims to improve the efficiency of aggregate industry by improving communications between the Provincial Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas, the Fraser Valley Regional District and industry. It also seeks to use a "RED-YELLOW-GREEN" approach to permit unfettered aggregate mining. Furthermore this process claims to be using a new approach for decision making and is being offered as a precedent process that could be used in other jurisdictions in the Province.
To date the Aggregate Pilot Project has developed several maps which relate to the Fraser Valley Regional District. The process has been hosted by the Provincial Minister of State for Mining, Randy Hawes with the input of the Aggregate Producers of British Columbia, City of Abbotsford, City of Chilliwack, District of Hope, District of Kent, District of Mission, Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources; and Fraser Valley Regional District.
The crafting of the Agreggate Pilot Project has been underway for nearly 9 years, the majority of which has happened without the involvement of local community residents who stand to be most directly impacted.
Upon review of the maps and the process, it is clear that the Aggregate Pilot Project has some alarming deficiency. Primarily it fails to respect the Rights and Title of the First Nations whose territories are intersected by these maps, and it puts at risk the integrity of our local water systems that include numerous salmon bearing streams. In the case of Map A which surrounds the region of Boston Bar more than 90% of the forested, stream-rich, region is provided with a green light for aggregate miners to stake their claim and begin operations without the need for an environmental assessment or public review.
To ensure our home waters are protected, there needs to be meaningful land use planning that respects Aboriginal Rights and Title and ensures 100% community control over decisions that impact on our shared home waters.