The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency held its first public comment session on the New Gold Blackwater Gold Project in Vanderhoof Tuesday.
The session was well attended. Local resident Craig Smith says he’s happy with the level of engagement from the proposed gold mine.
“By the looks of it here today they’ve done a lot of the footwork to make sure this is done in an economically feasible way but also with a great amount of care for the environment”
Another attendee, Donna (last name unavailable), says environmental concerns and the disaster at Mount Polley in Williams Lake are at back of mind.
“Those are the kinds of things we are looking for reassurances, answers and what kinds of processes are in place. I’m glad to see that there is going to be ongoing consultation not only with the residents here, but the First Nations communities that have a vital place in this.”
The proposed open pit gold/silver mine 110 kilometres southeast of Vanderhoof would provide 1500 construction jobs and 500-600 permanent jobs over the 17 year life of the mine.
Tim Bekhuys is the Director of the Blackwater Gold project.
“A lot of the concerns we have heard tonight; and we’ve been having similar open houses over the past four-five years where we’ve been hearing the same sort of concerns, are what types of jobs are available and when are you hoping to get into construction.”
The company is currently constructing a gold mine in Ontario while they conduct outreach here in BC. If all goes to plan, Blackwater will be under construction in 18-24 months.
The federal government is holding another session Wednesday in Fraser Lake (Mouse Mountain Elementary School 430-830pm)
The company itself will be hosting a series of their own open houses later in February;
· Quesnel on February 9 at the Best Western Inn 5-8pm
· Fort St. James on February 10 at the new Community Centre 5-8pm
· Burns Lake on February 11 at the Vineyard Church 5-8pm
· Prince George on February 16th at the Ramada Hotel 5-8pm