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Elk Valley Mayors Issue Letter to Teck with COVID-19 Concerns

The Mayors of Elkford, Sparwood, and Fernie, as well as the RDEK Director for Electoral Area A, voiced their concerns to Teck about the mining company’s workcamp in Elkford and their ongoing operations amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sparwood Mayor David Wilks said the letter was officially signed off and sent to Teck on Sunday.

The letter notes their concerns about potential spread into their communities due to continuing traffic through the Elk Valley.

“We have concluded that the most significant danger of this pandemic reaching our doors is through transient travel that occurs daily in the Elk Valley,” reads the letter. “Local government recognizes the importance of Teck Resources to our valley, however in this case the COVID-19 pandemic is far more important than any operational requirements that Teck Resources may have.”

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Teck’s Elkford workcamp is of specific and “significant concern” to the group, believing the “transient nature” of the workcamp makes it a higher risk for exposure and spread of COVID-19.

The group was also concerned about ongoing work to upgrade Teck’s Elkview Operations, noting the hundreds of contractors that continue to work at the site.

“We are therefore asking Teck Resources to review the Elkford workcamp immediately and delay the upgrades to the Elkview Plant until such time as the Province of British Columbia rescinds all orders in relation to the COVID-19 virus. “

The full letter can be found below:

 

“Review of Elkford Work Camp and Elkview Plant

Throughout the past week by authority of the Province of British Columbia invoking the Provincial Emergency Act all communities across British Columbia have closed most if not all public facilities. Neither Sparwood, Fernie or Elkford have declared a local state of emergency, however as this pandemic continues to spread, we will consider all options soon.

In consultation with health service providers in the Elk Valley, we have concluded that the most significant danger of this pandemic reaching our doors is through transient travel that occurs daily in the Elk Valley.
Local government recognizes the importance of Teck Resources to our valley, however in this case the COVID-19 pandemic is far more important than any operational requirements that Teck Resources may have.
The Elkford workcamp is of significant concern to local government in the Elk Valley, especially Elkford and Sparwood. The transient nature of the workcamp aids itself to a higher level of exposure to COVID-19.
There are also hundreds of contractors currently working at the Elkview plant. Again, we recognize the importance of the upgrade needed at the Elkview plant, however the COVID-19 pandemic is one that takes precedence.

We are therefore asking Teck Resources to review the Elkford workcamp immediately and delay the upgrades to the Elkview Plant until such time as the Province of British Columbia rescinds all orders in relation to the COVID-19 virus. “

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