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Stop the Mine

The Highlands District Community Association (HDCA) has filed an appeal of a recent BC Supreme Court decision to uphold a bedrock mining permit for a 64-acre parcel of land near the southern gateway of the Highlands municipality.

The Highlands Stewardship Foundation has teamed up with the HDCA to raise funds to keep this fight alive through the BC Court of Appeal. You have the opportunity to help fund the appeal of this landmark environmental court case through a tax-deductible donation.

This is a ‘David and Goliath’ struggle. At stake is a small community’s right to determine its own destiny and protect its local watershed ecosystem. This site is in Premier John Horgan’s own riding, where his government has once again betrayed its mandated climate change commitments while sacrificing a small rural municipality’s rights.

Formed in 2002, the Highlands Stewardship Foundation’s mission is “to promote the care and protection of land, water and air in the District of Highlands through community involvement and public education.”

Your donation could help reshape a happier ending to this story….

In the spring of 2020, the provincial Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources granted a Mines Act permit to OK Industries (OKI) to allow a bedrock strip mine on a 64-acre property at the southern entrance to the District of Highlands – bordered on one side by Thetis Lake regional park.

Flying in the face of the world’s climate crisis, the proposed mine will see extensive deforestation and the degradation of a wetland adjacent to Millstream Creek. Surrounding neighbours and wildlife will be subjected to ongoing noise and dust created by drilling, blasting and large machinery. Public and wildlife safety will be at risk from increased heavy truck traffic on Millstream Road over the next two decades. Not only will these mining activities negatively impact the quality of life and property values for local residents, the project threatens to imperil the lifegiving groundwater upon which Highlands residents rely for their drinking water, as the mine site sits adjacent to a CRD toxic waste dump.

Try as we might, our community’s voice has largely been ignored. District of Highlands Council denied OKI’s request to change the site’s zoning from Greenbelt 2 to Industrial, and our Council subsequently and consistently communicated its objections to the project in response to two separate referrals. The CRD Board also voted unanimously to support the District’s position. 

Through a community petition initiated by the HDCA, almost half of the District’s 2,200 citizens opposed the mine, and more that 8,800 others have signed a petition against the mine. It is hard to imagine any project running into greater opposition than this one, relative to the size of the community.

Having exhausted other means to get the Province and the mining company to accept that the Highlands does not want this mine inside its boundaries, the HDCA took the community’s objections to provincial court as a last measure. In June this year, the HDCA petitioned for a judicial review of the mine permit, which was rejected by the BC Supreme Court this October. The HDCA’s court costs for the judicial review were mainly funded through the now defunct Highlands Preservation Society, a generous grant from West Coast Environmental Law and a reduced rate for legal services provided by Mackenzie Fujisawa LLP of Vancouver.  Now we need your help to carry on the fight.

Have your say: help us to overturn the Province’s decision to approve this mine by contributing to the HDCA’s legal appeal through the BC Court of Appeals. All donations large or small are greatly appreciated!


Kenn Faris
Victoria, BC

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