House of Commons Debates, 41st Parl, 2nd Sess, No 196 (20 April 2015) at 12760.
With respect to the Raven Underground Coal Mine Project: (a) has the Minister of the Environment had, or does the Minister plan to have, any public consultations regarding the proposed project and, if so, what are the details of these consultations; (b) has the Minister been in contact with representatives from the (i) Comox Valley Regional District, (ii) Island Trust Council, (iii) Cumberland Village Council, (iv) Courtenay City Council, (v) Comox Town Council, (vi) Port Alberni City Council; and (c) has there been any consideration on the part of the Minister to refer this project to a review panel with public hearings in order to allow the public to address concerns related to the environmental effects of this project and, if so, what are the details of any such planned panels?
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the raven underground coal mine project is subject to a comprehensive study under the former Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and is being reviewed in close co-operation with the Province of British Columbia. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office have consulted the public as part of this co-operative environmental assessment process through public comment opportunities and community meetings, including on the potential environmental effects of the project. In 2013, the agency asked the Compliance Coal Corporation to provide more information to fully understand the environmental effects of the project. Should this information be provided, future steps in the environmental assessment would include public consultation on the proponent’s environmental impact statement and the agency’s comprehensive study report.
With regard to (b) (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) and (v), I have written directly to these municipalities in response to correspondence they had sent.
With regard to (b) (vi), the Port Alberni City Council is participating in the technical working group as part of the environmental assessment for the project. This working group communicates with the agency for which I am responsible.
With regard to (c), based on the information currently available on the potential environmental effects of the project, the agency is of the view that a comprehensive study is the most appropriate type of assessment for the raven underground coal mine project.