Bamberton Project on Saanich Inlet

SIPS Meeting with EMLI Summary

SIPS Board and Members met with EMLI (Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation) to offer suggestions and questions in the continued effort to protect the environment and eco-system of Saanich Inlet.

Attending

EMLI

Derek Hughson, Project Manager
Nini Long, Regional Director
Heather Cullen, formerly retired, brought back to complete Permit requirements

SIPS

John Pennington, SIPS Member
Francis Pugh, SIPS Board
Eric Falkenberg-Poetz, SIPS Board
Maureen Alexander, SIPS Member
Mea Hutchinson, SIPS Member
Daniel Kemway, SIPS Member

1 - Visual Impact

We encourage EMLI before any permit is issued, to require the Proponent to conduct a visual impact assessment and modelling, showing the expected appearance of the quarry at five-year intervals, viewed from a representative location on the water in Saanich Inlet. This ought not to be overly burdensome. Forest companies frequently conduct similar assessments. Given the Proponent’s commitment to progressive reclamation, modelling could provide assurance to the public that the visual impact will not increase significantly in future. It would also provide a basis on which to evaluate reclamation activities over time.

EMLI Response

  • Derek Hughson said that they will be required to deal with both the Visual Impact as well as a Reclamation Plan
  • He wasn’t certain if they were required to submit a Visual Impact Assessment, or a Progressive Reclamation Plan, but Derek said this was a good suggestion by us

2 - Community Involvement

We encourage EMLI to require the Proponent to establish certain measures to facilitate community involvement and provide a forum for addressing concerns in future. One such measure could be a website for posting important information such as:

  • technical reports filed as part of the permitting process
  • periodic monitoring reports
  • information on hours of operation
  • notification of blasting

Another measure could be the establishment of a community liaison group involving members of the public and local municipalities.

EMLI Response

Derek said these are good ideas we’ve suggested.

Question

John Pennington (SIPS) asked if the current Mines site website link, that was sent to us, informing us of the Public Comment Period, that had all the Bamberton Quarry information, could simply continue to be updated and used so that the Public would continue to be informed about what was going on, to increase communication and transparency.

EMLI Response

  • Derek said this might be a possibility, with the enhanced process.
  • Said they would consider it in their report to the Statutory Decision Maker
  • Derek liked the idea of a Community Liaison Group, said it was progressive and he has seen it in use

3 - Enforceable Permit Conditions

We encourage EMLI to establish enforceable permit conditions respecting a number of issues, if a permit is issued. First, we would like to see a term substantially less than 30 years. A lot will change in the Inlet in 30 years. And the results of monitoring and the upcoming cumulative effects assessment will need to be taken into account. No substantial investment is contemplated, so a lengthy term is not required to support investment.

Second, we would like to see enforceable requirements to comply with the standards, monitoring and reporting set out in the:

  • Reclamation and Closure Plan
  • Sediment and Erosion Control Plans
  • Environmental Management Plan
  • Dust Mitigation and Monitoring Plan

EMLI Response

This is probably the best take-away from this meeting, as Derek said that all the many reports filed by Coast Mountain Resources (these 4 above are just some of them), will now be part of the permit conditions and fully enforceable. They require monitoring, reporting and enforcement.

  • As well, EMLI can change and amend and require further reports and conditions from CMR in managing the mine going forward.
  • Part of the enhanced Permitting required, the need to take into account the cumulative effects, as well as the Environmental Review Committee will also have an impact. Derek said he would send me an example of how this works.
  • We emphasized having a shorter time frame for the permit, as above. They were quiet on this point, the Statutory Decision Maker makes this decision based on all input received from EMLI, including Public Comment and FN’s.

4 - Operations

Mea Hutchinson, Maureen Alexander & Daniel Kemway (SIPS Members)

Third, we request reasonable conditions concerning hours of operation, lights and advance notice of blasting. This would include expanding notification of blasting to Willis Point residents, as these would not be included in the current proposed thousand-metre notification radius.

EMLI Response

  • Mea, Maureen and Daniel, provided good examples of the impact on their communities with examples of blasting, noise, lights, visual impact, dust, hours of operation starting too early and running too late.
  • Derek said that a lot of this has already been heard from residents and will be a factor when they submit their report to Statutory Decision Maker.
  • The Statutory Decision Maker will determine what is allowed in the permit conditions when they make their decision.
  • No discussion was made on where residents can go to make formal complaints, or who will follow up on this, or fines, or repercussions of not following these operation standards.

5 - Bond

Fourth, we believe a substantial bond should be required. This should, at a minimum, be adequate to cover remediation costs if the quarry is abandoned.
 
These requests are in addition to the measures stipulated in the Minister of Environment’s Reasons for Decision (June 27, 2023), which include an Environmental Review Committee and public reporting of environmental monitoring and potential for cumulative effects impacts.

EMLI Response

  • We confirmed that the current bond held now is very low at only $25,000
  • They agreed that this was a very low amount, but that the standards have changed and that there is a new calculator that will take much more into account and that it will be higher. Implied much higher.
  • Derek said, this is a stipulation required by the Permit in Advance of issuing it to the Proponent

6 - Questions Regarding Lot 183 & Biosolids

We would like to understand the status of District Lot 183. DL 183 is Crown land. Does MICO have authorization to operate on DL183? Is there an application for authorization?

EMLI Response

  • Derek said there is no current permit in place and that they would require a permit to Mine on this spot.

Question

We have heard mention of the potential use of biosolids at the quarry, either for the purposes of storage or for the purposes of reclamation. Are you able to shed any light on this? Would this be allowed?

EMLI Response

  • Derek confirmed that there is NO inclusion for them to store any biosolids on the quarry or use them in their reclamation purposes
  • If they wanted to, they would have to get approval from Mines to do so.

7 - The Soil Storage Facility

We remain concerned about the status of the soil storage facility. The contaminated soil at this location contains antimony, arsenic, chromium, cobalt, copper and lead. However, it is our understanding that this is no longer the responsibility of EMLI.

EMLI Response

  • Showed them the photo and commentary that Michael Simmons sent us (shared screen)
  • Soil Storage Facility (SSF) is now omitted from the Permit and no longer the responsibility of EMLI, which they confirmed
    • It however is still the responsibility of the Environmental Ministry (EM)
  • We asked if Coast Mountain Resources (CMR) would still be required to submit reports to the EM
    • Derek said we would have to contact the EM to determine
    • We did receive a current report from the EAO recently that was submitted to them by CMR
  • Derek agreed that the Berm needs to protect the SSF
    • He did recognize that the crushed rock was on the SSF, but that it had never posed a concern before

8 - Public Input, Our Announcement to SIPS Members

We will be releasing an information update to all members that we have discussed these items with you, to let them know that they can comment on these and other items, in the upcoming public consultation phase.

  • We reiterated that we would be doing this, especially as the Public Comment time period has now been made public by EMLI
  • It’s important during this Public Comment Period that EMLI hear new concerns if possible, versus more of the same concerns from the Public, as Derek said they already have past letters with these concerns

9 - Permitting Decisions

When Statutory Decision Maker, Makes the Permit Decision, can we have a copy of this Report please?

EMLI Response

  • Derek said that this report will be made Public and yes we can have a copy

10 - Further Discussion

Can we book another meeting, to discuss your response to all of the above items, or receive a written comment from you on these please?

EMLI Response

  • No further meeting will take place, they have taken our comments under advisement

11 - Final Decision

What is next on final decisions?

EMLI Response

  • The Statutory Decision Maker, must still consult with First Nations, after the Public comment period is over, before making the final decision.

12 - Conclusion

John and Eric discussed the meeting afterward and believe they have taken our comments under consideration and that this could have some impact on the final report that goes to the Statutory Decision Maker

If nothing else, we believe that SIPS involvement and its members throughout the EAO environmental assessment decision process, and our discussions with EMLI, impacted CMR and MICO, as they were then required to file all these reports (some listed in #2 above). This is relevant, as all of these reports are now part of the Permit conditions, require monitoring, reporting and are enforceable by EMLI

Each of these reports can be found under BC Mine Information under the others tab.

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