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Raven coal finally dead

Editorial, Alberni Valley News, March 8 2016

If there was anything attractive about the Raven coal mine proposal, it was jobs.

Then again, jobs at what price?

Surely, we as a society, at least on Vancouver Island, have moved past coal as a legitimate source for, well, anything. We should honour and admire the past, a time when places not so far away from here—like Union Bay and Cumberland—thrived because of coal mines. People, a lot of people, died in those mines.

But coal is so 1880.

That was a time when we didn’t know what we know now about air quality or the effect coal production has on the ocean, and how it can decimate links in the food chain.

China doesn’t seem to care. Have you seen the photos of their air quality? Canadians have bottled air—that’s right, air—from here and sold it to the Chinese who are just looking for a fresh breath.

Coal is a cheap fuel for industry. We don’t have to be cheap.

The Raven proposal hung around the periphery of possibility and had its proponents because of the jobs it promised.

For the Alberni Valley, those jobs were never in the high numbers. For other central Island communities, such as Parksville-Qualicum Beach, they were practically non-existent.

In the end, Raven Coal had no real support, not from the people and not from the Environmental Assessment Office.

Its death was one whose time had come, and none too soon.