BC Environment Minister, George Heyman, has decided that NO Environmental Assessment (EA) will occur for the Bamberton Projects. Instead, he expects permits issued by the Ministry of Mines, the Ministry of Forests, and the CVRD to do the job of protecting Saanich Inlet. He is mistaken.
Given the overwhelming evidence and public support for SIPS’s application for an Environmental Assessment SIPS is extremely dissatisfied and frankly frustrated with this flawed decision. The devastating environmental effect the Bamberton Projects could have on Saanich Inlet cannot be overstated.
SIPS submitted a response to the EAO Draft Report in which we corrected their many errors and outlined all the key reasons that an Environmental Assessment is needed. Our Conclusion (page 19), says,
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy “is responsible for the effective protection, management, and conservation of BC’s water, land, air and living resources.”
Rather than passing off responsibility to other ministries, we urge you to take a robust and comprehensive approach to your mandate, an approach that affirms the purposes set out in section 2 of the Environmental Assessment Act: protection of the environment, the well- being of communities, transparency and impartiality, meaningful public participation, and best available science. An approach that breathes life into section 11, which provides an avenue for citizens to request an environmental assessment.
We also urge you to honor the recommendation of the BC government’s own, 1996 Saanich Inlet Study (16.3mb), which states:
Development proposals in … Saanich Inlet must be assessed in terms of their impact on the environment …. all environmental impacts related to a given proposal should be considered not only those required by regulation or permit; attention to non-point source contaminants is a high priority.
The EAO (Environmental Assessment Office), who made the recommendation to deny the SIPS request for an Environmental Assessment to Minister Heyman, wrongly dismisses the Saanich Inlet Report as “being not directly relevant”. The EAO also accuses those of us who expressed concern as circulating, “exaggerated or unsubstantiated claims regarding potential effects”. They characterize our opinions as based on misinformation! We find this insulting.
Although we feel Minister Heyman’s decision to not require an EA is incredibly short-sighted and will not adequately protect Saanich Inlet’s fragile ecosystem, and the people impacted by the Bamberton projects, we know turning away from this issue in anger will not help anyone.
Therefore, we will continue to monitor the situation and pressure the permitting departments; the Mines Ministry (for the Quarry permit), and the Forest Ministry (for the Foreshore Lease), to amend these permits where required to protect Saanich Inlet.
Although it may feel like our hands are tied, public awareness is a powerful thing. We urge you to reach out and write letters, voicing your discontent with Environmental Minister, George Heyman’s erroneous decision to NOT have an Environmental Assessment on the Bamberton Projects.
Send to Times Colonist Newspaper: email@example.com (must be less than 250 words)
Send to Cowichan Valley Citizen Submit a Letter
Also, please write to:
Honourable George Heyman,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (“Minister of Environment”)
Copy letters to Premier Honourable David Eby,
Premier Donald Eby,
Your voice can make a difference!
SIPS, Board of Directors