Laying healthier groundwork and meeting cleaner targets in the midst of the Trail mining industry has led to a national nod.
The Trail Area Health and Environment Committee (THEC) is one of eight finalists from a list of 23, up for the 2016 Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Award for environmental excellence and community engagement excellence.
The TSM initiative looks at performance-based programs whereby mining operations like Teck, evaluate, manage and publicly report on critical environmental and social responsibilities.
The structure of THEC fits this criteria like a glove – the group puts the community in the driver’s seat, the chair is the Mayor of Trail, and 11 out of 16 seats are held by community representatives.
Entering his second year in both roles, Trail Mayor Mike Martin says the award is great recognition for the hard work of the committee, the program team and the entire community in improving health and environment.
“It lets us know that our community driven approach is at the forefront of the industry for community engagement and decision making,” Martin said. “It is a significant honour to have Trail’s work recognized by this national organization, the Mining Association of Canada, the senior body of the mining industry nationally with representatives from the senior levels of the major mining firms.”
THEC has promoted “It Starts with the Kids,” for 20-plus years, a child-centric healthy development plan and lead exposure prevention partnership between locals, the city, Teck Trail Operations, Interior Health, and the BC Ministry of Environment.
Recently a new ensemble called the Community and Family Working Group was added to the roster for bimonthly THEC meetings, which cover Teck Trail reports about air quality and fugitive dust, updates about in-home visits for families with young children, blood lead testing, garden and yard soil testing, support for those with levels above the typical range, and other community matters related to the industry.
The new group is another example of reaching out to the community for assistance in program development and feedback, says Martin.
“They are just getting things rolling,” he shared. “But I must say it’s already a very engaged and embraced group.”
As THEC begins planning for a fall project, public consultation in advance of setting new and lower lead exposure targets for the next five years, Martin says being part of the working committee is a perk of his job.
“The accomplishments of the group have been nothing short of remarkable,” said Martin. “Even with this, there is the drive, passion and energy to reach for the next goal knowing that the actions already taken have made a significant difference to the health of the community,” he added.
“It is absolute delight and pleasure to work with such an engaged and committed group of individuals and without a doubt is one of the most rewarding aspects of my role on council.”
TSM award winners will be announced May 2 at the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum convention in Vancouver.
Since 1935, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has been the national voice of the Canadian mining industry. Working alongside members, MAC promotes the industry nationally and internationally, works with governments on policies affecting the sector and educates the public on the value mining brings to the economy and the daily life of Canadians.