The first question the Tribune asked the candidates running in the provincial election is about their stance on the New Prosperity Mine proposal and process as follows:
Under what circumstances do you support the New Prosperity Mine project going forward?
Is the current environmental review process working to your expectations? Answers are as follows:
MLA, Donna Barnett, Liberal Party (incumbent), Cariboo-Chilcotin
I fully support the Prosperity Mine project moving forward.
The project was approved by the British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office and is now being considered by the Canadian Environmental Agency.
Once the agency has finished its review, it will submit its findings to the federal minister of environment, who will make a final decision. It then returns to the province to make any necessary adjustments to our approval.
This illustrates one of the problems with the environmental review process — until recently, often two separate processes had to occur to obtain a final approval.
Our government has worked to improve cooperation and eliminate a duplicative assessment process for a single project, thereby increasing efficiency.
Through an agreement with the federal government signed in March, the B.C.’s environmental assessment office will conduct environmental assessment for specific projects, while the federal government will provide its expertise. This will eliminate much of the duplication that has existed in the environmental review process.
Charlie Wyse, New Democratic Party, Cariboo-Chilcotin
The New Democrats are strong advocates for sustainable mining in B.C.
I believe that the New Prosperity Mine — like any mine proposal — should be able to proceed if it passes the test of a science-based environmental assessment and legally-required consultation.
I also believe we need a better and more efficient process for environmental assessments, because it’s better for business and better for the community if we can get to ‘yes’ or ‘no’ sooner.
The NDP will encourage mining jobs in B.C. by extending the mining flow-through share tax credit, we will promote exploration with an average 55-day turn-around time for notice of work permits, expand and improve B.C.’s apprenticeship system and establish a $100 million needs-based grant program for skills training, to prepare our young people for good-paying jobs.
Dustin Price, Green Party, Cariboo-Chilcotin
The BC Green Party would not support the Prosperity Mine.
If I were to entertain the fact that we would support it, there would need to be a solid balance with the “triple bottom line” in addressing all the concerns of the environment, society, and economics.
The long-term effects on the social and environmental values will be at risk with this project. On the question of employment, this is not the saviour project for the region that many supporters claim it is.
The majority of the jobs that would be provided are for a highly-skilled labour force that mines rely on.
Currently there is a shortage of these workers in British Columbia, so those that would be employed by the proposed Prosperity Mine are currently working.
To go with this fact, mines in B.C. have a history of closing their doors with little or no warning depending on the volatile price of a commodity.
This region cannot afford to have a dark cloud of unstable employment hanging over it; the BC Green Party stance on diverse local economies is the way to a bright and stable future.
Gary Young, Independent, Cariboo-Chilcotin
New Prosperity: any support is completely dependent on the results of the environmental review.
This failed previously and prosperity is not getting data required by the panel.
The review process is stalled and not working.
In candidate forums there seems to be a shift to the no side.
This has gone on for 15 years while some other mining properties could be developed.