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LETTER: Osisko flouting zoning rules with major building in Wells

Gold mining company incorrect, says writer, in zoning assertions
The concentrator, also called the services building, is slated to be built inside the village of Wells village. Some say that is too dominant a feature of the upcoming gold mine while others accept its positioning. (Image from Cariboo Gold’s feasibility study)

Osisko Development has put in writing that they believe that Wells land use and zoning bylaws do not apply to this corporation.

Those bylaws give Wells jurisdiction over “non-essential mining activities,” specifically the processing activities proposed in the residential area of Wells.

Exercising its power to prohibit these activities would give Wells control over the economic feasibility of the project and could force Osisko to rethink its proposal to adopt the location compromises suggested by municipal residents and councillors.

The legal issue of compliance with municipal bylaws was first identified as early as 2020 by the land use planners (Urban Systems) who were funded by Osisko and contracted to the municipality of Wells to assist with the development of the Wells Official Community Plan.

It has been raised repeatedly by members of the public to both Osisko and as representatives of the Environmental Assessment Office’s (EAO) Community Advisory Committee, for the past four years.

The municipality’s legal jurisdiction was confirmed by a study written by the University of Victoria Environmental Law Center in 2022.

It was identified in the EAO’s report to the ministers in the September 2023 Report to the Ministers.

Compliance with municipal law is also identified as a requirement in the Ministry of Mines Permit Co-ordination Plan.

However, in a written statement earlier this month, Osisko says it has no legal obligation to the municipality of Wells and will proceed with the Cariboo Gold Project without seeking municipal approval for the portions of the project which fall under its jurisdiction.

Dave Jorgenson


Friends of Responsible Economic Development (FRED)

For a more extensive exploration of Jorgenson’s assertions, CLICK HERE

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