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For those wanting to send a letter opposing the Thomas Mine Application in to The Chief Inspector of Mines, with a copy to Dean Hodgson of H & H Contracting, here is a sample letter for you to use or to draw points from for your own letter.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[Your Phone Number and/or email]

The Chief Inspector of Mines
Ministry of Energy and Mines
C/o Mining and Minerals Division
Southwest Region
PO Box 9395 Station Provincial Government
Victoria, BC V8W 9M9

Email: SouthwestMinesDivision@gov.bc.ca

[Date]

Dear Sirs:

Re: Proposed Sand & Gravel Mine – 33105 Thomas Avenue, Mission BC V4S 1L4

I am writing this letter to voice my opposition to the mining permit application on Thomas Avenue in Steelhead. Steelhead is a peaceful rural residential neighborhood with approximately 188 properties spread throughout forested mountains and valleys.  It is a place where residents can escape the noise and busyness of the city and relax in the tranquility of their properties. We bought property here ___ years ago because of the peaceful rural lifestyle in which we wanted to raise our family and eventually retire.

A gravel and sand pit right in the heart of the community would be devastating and ruin the quality of life that we and our neighbors enjoy so much.  I beseech you to hear my concerns and to take into careful consideration the enormous negative impact such an operation would have on the community and the environment in which we live.

My first concern is traffic and public safety. There is only one access in and out of the community, which is Cardinal Street. The roads are narrow with blind corners, very little room on the shoulder and several school bus stops.  The community hall and mailboxes are located near the entrance to the community with very little room on the shoulder to park.  Many residents and their children walk, run or bike on these roads at all times of the day.

With the proposed amount of gravel being extracted, it would mean at least 40 tandem dump trucks per day one way would be traveling on these same roads causing congestion, pollution, more wear and tear on the roads, and a greater potential for accidents.  Once it is finished, the Steelhead community hall plans to offer various programs such as day care, yoga and hall rentals for weddings and meetings.  80 trips a day of tandem gravel trucks rumbling by would negatively affect the programs and events held there and the subsequent revenue needed to maintain hall operations.  This community hall that is so important to us is being built for the Steelhead community as well as the larger community of Mission and built mostly by volunteer labour, fund raising and grant monies.

My second concern is noise, dust and pollution.  Steelhead is unique in its topography with many mountains and valleys.  The proposed mine is located in the south side of Steelhead in the heart of one of these valleys.   The noise, dust and pollution created by this proposal would adversely affect the entire community as wind travels through the valleys of Steelhead every day.  With the Davies pit already processing gravel less than 2km away, and another pit planning to begin operations beside Davies, and a gun club 3 km away that we can hear quite clearly, one can only imagine what the decibel level will be if this gravel pit is allowed to operate in such close proximity to residential properties!

My third concern is water.   The applicant proposes to excavate gravel 10 metres down which would be below the water table and would have a negative impact on neighbouring wells that are fed by the aquifers that flow through the property in underground streams. Water always follows the path of least resistance and any single, multiple or successive development or site alteration activities and would have an irreversible negative impact on community wells and important wetlands.

My next concern is Wetlands and wildlife.  There is a large wetland on the southwest corner of the proposed mine property that eventually flows into Steelhead Creek. The Ministry of Environment states that Wetlands are one of the most important life support systems on earth. Not only do they provide critical habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife, they help to minimize or remediate environmental problems and help regulate atmospheric gasses and climate cycles. They report that there is a growing concern over the escalating rate of wetland losses in British Columbia.

A gravel pit adjacent to this very important wetland would have an enormous negative impact by adding to the sediment washing into the wetland from run off on the property.  Airborne particulates as well as toxic emissions from trucks, equipment and machinery may seep into the ground and contaminate groundwater, which flows into the wetland and into neighbouring wells.

Another great concern is that if this application is approved, it will open this rural residential community up to multiple gravel or sand pits.  There are already 5 aggregate pits within a 12km radius, all which are currently outside of the community.  I understand that aggregate is a very important resource for our province and essential to communities for construction of roads, hospitals, schools, businesses and houses. But with such a proliferation of pits, and an overabundance of gravel coming right out of quarries located on more easily accessed roads, there is no need for another gravel pit, especially one in a rural residential area such as Steelhead.

In closing, I would like to say that a gravel and sand pit on Thomas Avenue would drastically affect our ability to enjoy our properties that we have invested so much money and time into, decrease our property values by as much as 30%, and destroy the quiet, peaceful community in which we live.  If a permit were granted, the negative impact that this pit would have on the environment and its inhabitants is irreversible.   It would compromise the health and safety of our community and ruin the character of this unique place forever.

I thank you for taking the time to hear my concerns and hope you will take them into consideration when making your decision about the future of our community.

Sincerely,

[your name]

Cc: Dean Hodgson dean@topendhomes.ca
Rich Coleman rich.coleman.mla@leg.bc.ca
Steve Thomson FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca
Terry Lake terry.lake.mla@leg.bc.ca
Marc Dalton marc.dalton.mla@leg.bc.ca
Randy Hawes randy.hawes.mla@leg.bc.ca
Premier Christy Clark christy.clark.mla@leg.bc.ca
Steelhead Community Association cmdiamond@wcteltech.net