Upcoming Walk: Saturday May 13th 2017, Union Bay Coal Hills Walk

This easy walk starts at the Union Bay Boat ramp and explores the remains of Dunsmuir’s Coal terminal, located on both sides of Hart (Washer) Creek. In 1887 Robert Dunsmuir had a deep water coal terminal 600 feet long built to load wind and steam freighters which carried the high quality coal from Cumberland around the world. Little of the infrastructure, which included coke ovens, a coal washer, and workers barracks remain. What does remain are mounds of low quality coal and coal dust, removed before shipping to ensure that only the best coal went aboard. Coal dust is explosive and water from Hart Creek was used to remove much of it here.  Use of the site only stopped in 1960, and various uses of the area have been suggested over the years since then. This site is a fascinating, if toxic site, and a reminder of how poorly we treated the environment not that long ago.  More information is available at these three web sites:

http://comoxvalleynaturalist.bc.ca/nature-viewing-guide/8-baynes-sound-area/union-bay/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Bay,_British_Columbia

http://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/news/union-bay-coal-hills-on-priority-contaminated-site-list-in-b-c/

 

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