Canal Flats council eye Gypsum mine proposal

Several key items were listed during the recent village of Canal Flats regular council meeting.

Several key items were listed during the recent village of Canal Flats regular council meeting held at the Columbia Discovery Centre on July 14th.  Notable items on the agenda included the Gypsum Mine environmental review, the discussion of a Valley Wide Visitor Centre, and village branding.

The Ministry of Environment is currently assessing the Gypsum Mine in an environmental assessment. The parent company, which has 6,000 employees worldwide, is in France. The mine in Windermere currently exports 400,000 tons of extractions yearly, 200,000 of which is trucked to Calgary and 100,000 elsewhere.

The Gypsum mine in Windermere has less than  eight years left in its lifespan and the new one proposed for Canal Flats boasts a 38-year capacity. The government is to rebuild the land in the process. Options for exportation of the mine’s resources include using the existing railroad, or trucking resources for extraction to Invermere. Impact on the highway was discussed as well as concerns for wildlife,  archaeological concerns, habitat, and exhaust issues.

“It’s a five-year process, waiting for a 2015 approval, and the go-ahead with a certified environmental assessment certificate,” stated Wendy Booth, Area F director for the Regional District of East Kootenay who attended the meeting.

Among other notable topics was the discussion of the proposal of a valley-wide visitor service centre. Concerns over the lack of cohesiveness in the valley were brought to light, along with taxation issues that would accompany such a move. Council voiced strong opinions against the move and suggested it would be appropriate at a later time.

Village branding was also on the agenda as a pertinent matter to enhance and bring awareness to the community. However, council concluded it was more foreseeable in the future when Canal Flats is in a better position to utilize a huge marketing scheme. At this time, discussion of website branding as a marketing tool was suggested and held in favourable light as the most appropriate marketing tool.

Other issues discussed included the expansion of washrooms at the beach. New designs will be implemented in a cost-effective manner to expand and complement beachcomers.