Two months after the Highlands District Community Association wrote a letter regarding O.K. Industries Ltd.’s potential new venture, the association finds itself writing yet another letter, this time to Premier John Horgan.
Highlands council initiated a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources regarding O.K. Industries’ Mines Act application.
The request was brought up at a committee of the whole meeting, as community members want more information on the ministry’s mine reclamation plan, environmental assessment and impact of migrating fish in nearby streams.
The FOI request also includes a request for public consultation records and records for consultation with First Nations. The request is in response to O.K. Industries’ plans to create a rock quarry off Millstream Road.
Scott Richardson, Highlands District Community Assoication president, said they decided to escalate the matter, by sending a letter to Horgan, to try and help move things along, but they aren’t expecting an answer right away.
“We were getting nothing from the ministry, we were just awaiting an answer,” Richardson said. “We understand he’s not just our MLA, he has another job too.”
Richardson said they were given some assurance from Minister Michelle Mungall, that she understood the concerns of the Highlands.
But “the more we thought about it, the more we thought she didn’t,” Richardson said.
“The process governing the mine application is from the dark ages.”
Mayor Ken Williams said the District has requested new information beyond what was included in the original referral sent by the province.
Kent Karemaker, a spokesperson for the ministry, said a comprehensive review is done based on input from all parties, the District of Highlands, and other stakeholders and agencies.
“The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources has advised the District of Highlands that we would share the information provided by O.K. Industries with them once we receive the complete package,” he said. “We anticipate that this package will complete the information required to make a decision on the application.”
The Highlands District Community Association is hosting an information session for residents on June 14 at 7 p.m. in the Highlands Community Hall, 1980 Millstream Rd.