Letters to the Editor: Oct. 31

Parkland Re-zoning

This is the first and only letter I have ever written to a newspaper. I am writing about the recent re-zoning of property in the Parkland area.

I along with about 45 other property owners attended Monday’s City Council meeting, all of us against this application.

Into the hearing, it appeared to me to be an absolute joke and a complete waste of time for everyone. It appeared to me that Council had already made up its mind, and what we had to say was of no interest to them. One councillor threatened to have a speaker removed.

The mayor had the following comments: We have a lon-term vision, and we need these developments no matter what. He said the project was for the betterment of the community. He said it is not a negative to have a high density and a low density together. He said that we (the residents) should visualize and that this apartment was not that big. He said he would prefer to have an apartment rather than duplexes. He said that if we were to become aware of the unknowns it would remove all negativity.

With that, an entire neighborhood was destroyed. It appeared to be dictatorship at its best. This now sets a precedent, and all vacant property in Cranbrook could be rezoned for apartment blocks, and that zoning means nothing to this council.

Ron Sheffield

Cranbrook

Line Creek Water Treatment

Teck just announced the shutdown of their Line Creek water treatment plant, which was designed to remove selenium from water flowing from the mine waste dumps, but was actually increasing the amount of toxic selenium in fish downstream.

Selenium, which leaches from the waste rock dumps at the Elk Valley mines, is taken up by fish, birds and amphibians in concentrations that can prevent reproduction and cause birth defects.

While Teck plans an advanced oxidation process add-on to the treatment plant for summer 2018, there still is no long-term solution for the selenium leaching problem which will continue for many centuries.

Teck’s government-mandated Elk Valley Water Quality Plan calls for two water treatment plants to be online by 2018 in order to meet the short-term selenium reduction goals in the plan. It’s clear that Teck won’t be able to meet their commitment to have two working treatment plants by 2018.

Teck is working very hard on the short-term treatment options for selenium pollution, but this problem has been known since the 90s and it’s time to move beyond band-aid solutions. Teck can’t keep piling up more selenium-leaching waste rock while chasing short-term solutions—treatment plants that won’t be operating for the centuries that selenium will continue to leach out of the waste rock dumps, long after mining is finished.

We’re long overdue for a change in mining practices, so that the waste rock being dumped today isn’t making the long-term selenium problem worse.

The 2010 report from the independent Strategic Advisory Panel on Selenium Management urged Teck to make material changes to their mining practices to prevent selenium from leaching into water in the first place. These recommendations have largely been ignored while all of Teck’s efforts have focused on water treatment.

We need to get all levels of government to the table to address the long-term selenium pollution issue. We’re looking at centuries of water pollution and we desperately need some leadership from government.

As water flowing from the Elk Valley mines crosses into the US in Koocanusa Reservoir, the selenium pollution problem is an international issue that needs a long term solution. Wildsight supports the Ktunaxa Nation’s call, along with the US Kootenai tribes, for a binational commission with the US, with the participation of all levels of government, to address selenium and other water quality issues that flow from the Elk Valley.

Ryland Nelson

Southern Rockies Program Manager

Wildsight

BurntwoodHearing

This letter is to acknowledge the great service at Burntwood Hearing in Cranbrook.

Garth and Chris go out of their way to make sure clients receive the best product at the best price for their individual needs. They let you test the hearing aid(s) for as long as you need, make the necessary adjustments and do not require payment until you are fully satisfied.

After purchasing the hearing aid(s) they continue to provide all necessary adjustments free of charge. Garth and Chris are a credit to the Cranbrook business community.

Grant Giles

Cranbrook

Game Changers

On Friday, Oct. 27, the Kootenay Game Changer Awards were presented in the St. Eugene Pavilion.

This special annual event, which included an excellent dinner, was enjoyed by a full and lively audience. It involved some 50 nominees representing 14 different categories.

Many thanks to the Organizing Committee for the huge amount of time and energy that must have been spent on this event. I congratulate those members on presenting such a splendid evening and look forward to attending next year’s.

Bud Abbott

Cranbrook

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