North Vancouver teen Chris Dietrich spent his summer vacation producing a video that captures the beauty and wildlife of Howe Sound in hopes he can help discourage industrial encroachment in the area.
Burnco Rock Products is planning a sand and gravel mine on a 320-hectare site in the McNab Creek area on the west side of Howe Sound north of the Langdale ferry depot. The company has plans to restore a defunct salmon spawning channel in the mine area in a new location and has already planted 60,000 trees on the site of a former logging operation.
Dietrich’s YouTube-based campaign Howe Sound 45 encourages viewers to log their concerns about the project on the website of the provincial Environmental Assessment Office. The comment period ends October 19.
The three-and-a-half minute video captures Dietrich’s friends, family and some friendly volunteers engaging in 45 different sports and recreational pastimes available less than an hour from Vancouver.
“I’ve never done anything around conservation before,” said the 16-year-old Handsworth student. But he feels a strong connection to Howe Sound and has spent countless weekends in the area and at his family’s tiny cabin on Gambier Island. McNab Creek Valley is clearly visible from the north side of the island and much of the sound.
He is concerned about the impact of the mine on local wildlife and the marine environment, not to mention the near-pristine recreation area so close to a major city.
“I just want to put a stop to that,” he said.
Dietrich shot most of the video over the summer — the balance came from friends and a handful of still images — depicting everything from the sound’s frequent visits by orcas and dolphins to water-skiing, wakeboarding, canoeing, rock climbing and hiking. He travelled to Gibsons and Squamish to get additional footage.
“I understand that people want jobs, but they could do so much more with that valley as a park,” he said. “Now that my friends have seen the video they want to come out there.”
Burnco estimates the mine will be operational for 20 to 30 years and serve the Greater Vancouver construction market.
“We thought that the Howe Sound video was well done,” said Burnco president Mike Powell. “It contrasted the natural beauty of Howe Sound with the considerable human activity that takes place within the region and the need for balance and careful consideration of effects on the local environment. We are constantly reminded of this as we design our project.”
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