SLRD makes requests to province regarding Ring Creek mine

Regional board cannot regulate mining

The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District has proposed conditions for the Ring Creek mine, should it receive a permit from the province.

During this agenda item on Jan. 30., the board addressed a petition circling through the community. Submitted on Dec. 29, 2018, it was signed by 217 people from Ring Creek and Squamish, 17 from the Sea to Sky Corridor and 26 from Greater Vancouver.

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"The community became aware of this application and there was a lot of, I guess, concern," Kim Needham, the SLRD's director of planning and development, said at the meeting. "Things were sort of getting blown out of control, which is why we brought this report to you to kind of clarify the scope of the application and the scale."

She added that the SLRD board is not able to regulate mining, although they are in charge of zoning, which she called "a weak tool."

"The community raised concern for about potential for noise pollution, loss of vegetation, concern about traffic on the road, wildfire risks, that the bridges would not be able to handle the loads of the trucks. They're concerned that they would lose recreation," Needham said.

On behalf of the Ring Creek community, Cascade Environmental Resource Group Ltd. submitted some of the residents' concerns, which were included in the board's recommendations.

If the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum approves the mine proposal, the board recommended nine conditions, including: limiting extraction to 900 tonnes (which is the proposed amount), using hand splitting methods only, and any additional changes to scope and scale must be seen by the SLRD before approval.

The use of a stone cutting saw would require a zoning amendment. The SLRD board also asked the ministry to add a gate to restrict vehicle access and make sure the bridges in the area can withstand the weight of loaded dump trucks.

The project description from BellaRock Enterprises Inc. said the basalt does not need to be excavated, because it sits on the ground surface. Since the stone can be assessed without excavation, the project application also does not expect to clear trees, dig or remove vegetation.

The petition's concerns were also addressed in the conditions, which recommend determining if a geotechnical assessment is necessary for the access road. The project would need to build around 1.2 kilometres of road, since it cannot use Garibaldi's provincial park road. The impact on old growth trees and nearby residences could also be checked through this amendment.

The board said they expect around 37 dump trucks to serve that project annually, the equivalent of less than one truck a week.

~With files from Braden Dupuis.


**Please note, this story has been modified with a new headline and first sentence, to clarify that the SLRD did not pass the permit, but set conditions on it, should it be granted by the province.

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