Editor, The News:
The Katzie First Nation and Canadian Aggregates Inc. have applied to lease Crown land located on Blue Mountain for the purpose of gravel mining.
I strongly urge council to oppose this application as myself and many others, including the Whonnock Community Association, Blue Mountain Conservation Group, and Chilliwack Forest District, share grave concerns over the potential environmental impacts. Those include the proposed access route, which the Kwantlen and BCIT woodlots also actively oppose.
Principle 23 of Maple Ridge’s Official Community Plan states: “The community values the protection of environmentally sensitive areas including, water (for its intrinsic value, habitat and aquifer recharge), areas of natural beauty, forests, etc.”
The proposed access route for the gravel mine would traverse many streams, including Kanaka Creek, negatively effecting aquatic life and the drinking water of residents living in Kanaka and Whonnock.
Siltation and soil compaction from the construction of the access route will also have a tremendous effect on the recharge area of the Kanaka and Whonnock Creek aquifer and, thus, residents’ wells.
Under the memorandum of understanding, signed by both the District of Maple Ridge and the Katzie First Nation, it is stated: “Both the Katzie First Nation and the District of Maple Ridge are interested in the stewardship of Kanaka Creek.”
In order to uphold this belief, as well as the principles of the OCP, I again urge council to oppose the application.
Blue Mountain is an environmentally sensitive area that not only contains history important to the district and the Katzie First Nation, but also endangered species.
The Coastal Tailed Frogs and Red Legged Frogs are a “Blue Listed” Species located on Blue Mountain and require special protection to avoid further endangerment and potential extinction.
However, it is not just frogs that consider Blue Mountain to be their home, but also bears, cougars, bob cats, deer, and, of course, the people of Maple Ridge.
Residents who use the provincial park for recreation, such as walking dogs, horseback riding, and hiking, will also suffer as these opportunities cannot coexist with gravel trucks.
It is my hope that council, on behalf of the District of Maple Ridge, will work alongside the Katzie First Nation to hold true to their definition of “sustainable” under the memorandum of understanding so that “activities described in the agreement do not have a negative long term impact on the environment.”