The following are Letters to the Editor of the Comox Valley Record from a member of the community. Despite the RCMP’s attempts at painting resistance to the Raven Coal Mine as vandalism and damaging to public opinion, members of the community wrote the following to the local paper.

Comox Valley Record – Letters to the Editor

‘We cannot remain silent’ about coal mine

Published: July 05, 2012 5:00 PM
Updated: July 05, 2012 5:16 PM

Dear editor,

After reading your editorial (Record, June 13) regarding the cost to public property Raven Coal mine protesters caused when hanging a banner over the Bank of Montreal and the charge they “pushed the envelope,” I hope readers are asking themselves why a group of “young protesters” would feel the need to make such a dramatic gesture to get the public’s attention regarding the imminent threat the Raven Coal mine presents to the Comox Valley.

Estimates of $2,000 to repair property damage are insignificant when matched against the costs Raven and its associated mines in Cumberland and at the base of Mount Washington would create — the cost to poisoning the Baynes Sound with toxins that will end a sustainable shellfish aquaculture business employing 600 people, the cost of lowered house value of impacted communities like Ships Point, Fanny Bay, Denman and Hornby islands, the cost of buying water when domestic wells become contaminated, the cost of millions of dollars of reclaiming poisoned water sources after the mine closes in 16 years and the cost of health care for black lung disease that is on the rise among young coal miners and families breathing coal mine toxins.

If the Comox Valley community understood these costs and the threat Raven poses to their quality of life and livelihood, they would have joined the “young protesters” who felt compelled to “push the envelope.”

Each of us is compelled to protest transforming the Comox Valley into a coal mining zone in his or her own way.  We cannot remain silent.

Sharon Small,

Comox Valley

Youth protesters opposing coal mine applauded

Published: June 12, 2012 3:00 PM
Updated: June 12, 2012 3:48 PM

Dear editor,

How about some balanced reporting on the young people “loudly protesting” against the proposed Raven Coal Mine?

Associating their pictures on the front page with the article about a youth homicide trial was not fair to either story. These protestors were not armed and were peacefully trying to draw attention to

a web of systems that are all apparently insane.

I’d like to see an explanation of how it could possibly cost several thousand dollars to clean up “numerous” protest signs? Why not save the money and leave them up?

How much do you think it would cost to clean up: a toxic tailings pile “X” acres large leaching into streams and aquifers feeding Baynes Sound, a burst pipeline in a pristine wilderness, or a leaking oil tanker “Y” times the size of the Exxon Valdez ruining our coast?

It is indeed unfortunate that this direct action made some people feel threatened as they went about their banking business. I’m guessing that the young protestors also feel that their safety and security are being threatened.

It does not seem at all like business as usual in our province and nation when the governments continue to put corporate interests above democracy, concern for the rights of their citizens, and environmental sustainability.

The right to public hearing has been made into a sham, scientists have been censored, environmental protection we once achieved is being diluted, fair play and honesty are not upheld. This is the vandalism that needs to be cleaned up.

The protestors should be identified alright and they should be praised for being among the first local youth to do something to make a difference. Granted all don’t agree with the methods they chose to achieve this, but it is very astute of people so young to see the connections between banks and environmental threats and to want unmask them.

Putting posters up as far as 26th street and bannering the bank represents a lot effort and determination. Calling this mere vandalism and asking for people to rat them out is wrong. Please interview them and report their concerns.

Diane Bostock,

Area C