British Columbia

Mike Ruttan, mayor of Port Alberni, B.C., worried about Raven Coal Mine

The company behind the controversial Raven Coal Mine is trying to revive the proposal for an open coal mine in the Comox Valley.

The company behind a controversial coal mine in the Comox Valley has re-submitted its application

Environmental groups and local First Nations have fought the Raven coal mine proposal for several years. (Judy Leblance/CBC Hyperlocal )

The company behind the controversial Raven Coal Mine is trying to revive the proposal for an open coal mine in the Comox Valley.

The Compliance Coal Corporation put in a new application on Jan. 30, after being turned down by the provincial environmental assessment process last May.

While considering the application — which would see six coal trucks coming through the downtown core every hour — B.C.'s environmental assessment office will hear from affected communities, such as Port Alberni.

"[Those trucks] would come right through the centre of town, past our hospital, past our old folks homes, down one of the two busiest streets in the city and right along a major arterial route, right to the harbour and dump their load," Port Alberni mayor Mike Ruttan told On The Island's Gregor Craigie.

Ruttan said he's worried about coal dust affecting the health of residents, and worried about the heavy trucks putting a strain on the city's infrastructure.

The project does promise to create up to 21 jobs for the city, but Ruttan isn't convinced it will deliver on its economic promises.

"Some of the jobs — particularly those for longshoremen — they're full time equivalent jobs and not likely to flow to city residents because the ship that is being filled would only come in once every two weeks," he said.

"In terms of economic impact, potentially it would cost us more as a city that we would ever make."

"At this point there doesn't seem to be much to recommend the project to city residents."

No one from the Compliance Coal Corporation was available for comment.

To hear the full interview with Port Alberni mayor Mike Ruttan, click the audio labelled: Mike Ruttan worries about Raven Coal Mine's impact on Port Alberni.

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