Stick to the OCP

I wish the city had just kept quiet about Prosperity Mine until the CEAA panel had done its job.

I  wish the city had just kept quiet about Prosperity Mine until the CEAA panel had done its job.

Along with “Partnering with First Nations,” the 10 strategic priorities in the Williams Lake Official Community Plan  include  11 pages of  “Creating our Future- Cherished Ecosystems.”  ( See the city website.)

It begins: “The  health and well being of the community is closely linked to the health and well-being  of our natural environment including lands and water bodies both within and outside our city.  Clean air, soil, water, and healthy local ecosystems underlie our health and well being, and attract people to live, work and visit and invest in our city. To be good stewards of our environment  means working with our community so that we do not systematically undermine nature’s ability to continue providing the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which all life depends.

“By protecting and preserving existing natural areas, their biodiversity and ecological functions,we will ensure a healthy ecosystem for the enjoyment of city residents, Protecting these natural areas can contribute to improving our social, economic, spiritual and physical health. and well being.”

I was among  city residents who were pleased when council realized there was value in our natural resources besides digging them up or chopping them down. It came as a something of a surprise when council began promoting the latest mine proposal.  And therein lies the dilemma.  As a city, are we saying we’ll protect and preserve the natural areas within our boundaries,  but we don’t care what happens in the Chilcotin?  Are we saying it’s OK if we systematically undermine nature as long as it’s happening in someone else’s back yard? Nobody knows how the three wise men on the panel will decide. They have many points to ponder.  My question is,  if they  reject the proposal,  will the  city (and CRD)  lobby the federal government to let the mine proceed?

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.