This column isn’t very Christmassy but it does reflect my opinion about the actions of some of our local politicians which aren’t very Christmassy either.
For instance. Some time back Williams Lake council gave conditional support to the New Prosperity Mine. The conditions were that the project “meets provincial and federal environmental standards and First Nations are adequately consulted.”
I really don’t know anyone who disagrees with that. I’m not sure about provincial standards (are there any?), but the mine has twice failed federal environment tests and there is no evidence First Nations have been adequately consulted. Yet, Mayor Kerry Cook has leaped on the rah, rah wagon for the mine. What have I missed?
Anyone who attended the panel hearing or read the CEAA panel report knows the project would have significant environmental impacts, some that can’t be mitigated. Have the proponents not read the report, or don’t they care? Maybe both?
The mayor believes the project will give our regional municipalities and First Nations communities an opportunity to work together and address common challenges in terms of job growth, business and community development. That dream sounds great for the sort term, but then what? How about leaving politics out of it and plan for sustainable development rather than boom or bust? What about finding projects that are fair to everyone including future generations? It’s the same with the lumber industry.
Once the parks and protected areas are logged, then what? Then there are school boards, which, unlike municipalities, don’t raise taxes to pay for stuff. They do rely on taxpayers money, but it’s doled out by the province. That doesn’t give them much wiggle room. The proposed increase in hydro costs will whack their budget, the money will have to come from other programs. That didn’t stop trustees from dipping into the budget to give themselves some substantial increases in their personal expenses. Oh well.
Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.