We are now accepting responses for the 2021 Community Grading Survey.  Please take 10 minutes to provide your views on the quality of life in Sparwood.  The information collected this year will be used to produce the 2021 Livability Report Card.  The Report Card and is updated annually to understand, measure, and monitor the quality of life in Sparwood.

What do we mean by livability?

Livability is another word for quality of life. In Sparwood, our quality of life results from a lot of factors. One of the biggest factors is mining; it is the biggest part of our economy, and is directly or indirectly the reason why most people choose to live in Sparwood. Mining also brings noise, dust, visual impacts, and other effects which need to be monitored and managed to ensure that our quality of life stays high.

A mine expansion on our doorstep has prompted us to look at livability more closely.

The District of Sparwood (the "District") is undertaking a livability study for the community. Over the next six months (January to June, 2019), community members will have a chance to share insights on what they value most about Sparwood, how best to measure our quality of life, and ways the community can ensure residents have an outstanding quality of life well into the future. A comprehensive engagement process is a key component of the livability study. Our goal is to ensure that all area residents have a chance to participate, sharing their perspectives and priorities.

The Livability Study is a permit condition for Teck's Baldy Ridge Extension project ("BRE"), and will serve as part of Teck’s Socio-Community and Economic Effects Management Plan (SCEEMP). It will also be used by the District to inform community planning and development activities in coming years. The study gives us an excellent opportunity to take the pulse of the community, learn what area residents value most and plan for a safe, sustainable and positive future. Open the "Livability Study" tab below for more information.

  • Teck is currently in the operations/construction stage of the Environmental Assessment process for the Baldy Ridge Extension project to Elkview Operations (“BRE”). BRE will increase the disturbance area of this operation by 862 hectares and bring mining closer to Sparwood than ever before. It will contribute to sustaining mine activities and jobs in this region for an additional 25 years.

    As part of the environmental approval for BRE, the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) has included a condition related to the social and economic effects that this expansion could have on residents and businesses within the District of Sparwood. This condition, known as Condition 21, will be a big step toward understanding and managing the effects of open pit mining operations on quality of life in communities near these resource extraction activities.

    The 2018 Socio-Community and Economic Effects Annual Report is available here.

    The following resources are available on our Document Centre:

    For more information on BRE, including inspection and compliance reports, please visit the EAO's dedicated website.

  • One of the stipulations of Condition 21 is for Teck to prepare a Socio-Community and Economic Effects Management Plan (SCEEMP). This Plan outlines how impacts of mine activities on economic effects, land use, visual aesthetics, and socio-community effects are monitored. It also provides an adaptive management process for addressing these potential effects. The SCEEMP is a living document that is formally updated every three years.

    The SCEEMP also refers to other management plans for BRE and ensuring that those plans are working as intended to minimize impacts on the community. The following plans are relevant to the SCEEMP:

    Plan Status Date presented to SCEEAC Link
    Air Quality and Dust Control Version 3 was completed in August 2018. Assess existing version continuously. March 12, 2019 Presentation to SCEEAC on March 12, 2019
    Blasting and Vibration Endorsed by Council and the SCEEAC on September 17, 2019. April 15, September 16, 2019

    Presentation to SCEEAC on April 15, 2019

    Plan presented to Council with SCEEAC recommendations on September 17, 2019.

    Noise Control Endorsed by Council on August 21, 2019 August 12, 2019

    Draft plan presented to SCEEAC on August 12, 2019.

    Plan presented to Council with SCEEAC recommendations on August 21, 2019

    Reclamation and Closure Not yet required. TBD - not required until future stage Not yet discussed at SCEEAC
    Visual Quality Endorsed by Council on August 21, 2019 May 6 2019
    August 12, 2019

    Presentation to SCEEAC on May 6, 2019

    Draft plan presented to SCEEAC on August 12, 2019.

    Plan presented to Council with SCEEAC recommendations on August 21, 2019

  • The Socio-Community and Economic Effects Advisory Committee (the "SCEEAC") is a select committee of Council. Our online Document Centre contains all the documents for the Socio-Community Economic Effects Management Committee.

    View SCEEAC Agendas and Minutes here.

    Keep track of SCEEAC action items: review the tracking status report (current to October 8, 2019).

    The SCEEAC will comply with Condition 21 of the Baldy Ridge Extension permit, and:

    • Perform an advisory role, focused on making recommendations to Council and Teck for consideration with respect to implementing Condition 21;
    • Provide a broad community voice;
    • Act as a conduit for Teck Elkview Operations and DOS to reach citizens and for citizens to reach Teck EVO and District of Sparwood – and to build trust;
    • Advise on engaging the broader community of Sparwood;
    • Review results for other Management Plans required as per BRE EAC #M16-01; and,
    • Assist in identifying on-going socio-community impacts and possible solutions for adaptive management

    The Terms of Reference for the SCEEAC was approved by Council on December 3, 2018.

    District of Sparwood Adaptive Management Lead and SCEEAC Coordinator: Jeremy Johnston

    Teck Adaptive Management Lead: currently vacant


    District Council appointed seven volunteer community members, as well as representatives of two from Council and three from Teck.

    Councillor Joe Jarina

    See Joe's bio here.

    Jason Christensen

    See Jason's bio here.

    Mayor David Wilks

    See David's bio here.

    Don Sander

    Don is the currently the General Manager at Teck’s Elkview Operations, a position he’s held since 2014. Previously he was the General Manager at Greenhills and Line Creek Operations, he has worked at all of Teck’s operations in the Elk Valley except for Coal Mountain. He is a long time resident of the Elk Valley, having arrived in Sparwood back in 1993. Don is a professional engineer and possesses an MBA.

    Chris Stroich

    Chris is currently the Environmental Superintendent at Teck’s Elkview Operations. Prior to employment at Teck, Chris spent 9 years with BC’s Ministry of Environment as a Section Head for the Kootenay Boundary Region out of Nelson. Chris moved to the valley in 2015, and has resided in both Sparwood and Fernie. Chris brings a wealth of environmental monitoring, risk assessment, permitting operations and management experience to the Advisory Committee. He sees the SCEEMP as one of many opportunities to further develop Sparwood as a diverse and vibrant community.

    Nic Milligan

    Nic is a long time resident of the Elk Valley, having lived in Fernie on and off for the last 49 years. Nic has been employed at Teck for 23 years and has held numerous roles including his current position as Manager, Social Responsibility for the last 11 years, providing him valuable experience to share with the other members of the Advisory Committee. Nic’s educational background includes FSS School, Lethbridge College Journalism Diploma, UVIC Degree in English & Writing and currently enrolled in Teck Executive MBA. He hopes the Advisory Committee can create a collaborative, participatory process that recognizes and incorporates the self-defined aspirations of the community of Sparwood & its citizens and that supports the continued sustainable operation of Elkview.

    Alison Burton

    Ali is a Plant Scientist and Professional Agrologist. Originally from Vancouver she’s spent the last 8 years or so in Cranbrook, and has recently moved to Sparwood as of Christmas last year. She has worked all over BC doing mine reclamation, and has been working for the Ktunaxa Nation Council for the past 3.5 years. Currently she manages the Nation’s engagement into everything environmentally related with Teck’s 5 operations in the Elk Valley. Ali is keen to contribute to her community, and is excited to dive into opportunities to enhance what Sparwood already has to offer and build new areas as well. She looks forward to exploring shared interests and values with the members of the Committee, and is hopeful that we contribute to positive change in the community.

    Don Crawford

    Don was born in Adelaide, South Australia and started early life on a ranch. Don's career has included operating and maintaining earthmoving machinery, supervising mechanical repairs on infrastructure projects, and even a stint with the Australian Army. He moved to Canada in 1972 where he took a job with a Caterpillar Dealership. Since then he has spent most of his time in Sparwood. Don has been active in the Sparwood community, serving 23 years as a paramedic. Don and his wife have three boys who were raised in Sparwood, and completed their higher education overseas. He is an avid traveler and always looks to bring back new ideas to improve our community. Don is excited to contribute to the important work the District and Teck have begun through his participation on this advisory committee.

    Tracey Brook-Baker

    Tracey was born and raised in Maidstone, Saskatchewan. She attended Minot State University and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Biology. After University, Tracey moved to Saskatoon and later Regina where she worked primarily as a retail manager. She met and married John Baker in Regina and in 2011, they moved to Sparwood when John was hired at Line Creek Operations and Tracey became Assistant Branch Manager for the new Sparwood branch of East Kootenay Community Credit Union. Tracey is quite active in the Community as a member of the Lions Club, Treasurer for the Sparwood Food Bank, Director of the Coal Miner Days Society, committee member for the Terry Fox run and volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Campaign. She looks forward to joining the Socio-Community and Economic Effects Advisory Committee to further understand how the District and Teck can thrive together while protecting our environment and the abundance we’ve come to appreciate through coal mining.

    Wes Pinsent

    Wes Pinsent has worked in the Natural Resource Industry for close to 40 years. He has worked for Government, Private Industry and as a Consultant in various positions. He is a Registered Forest Technician with a very well rounded experience base. Applying practical solutions to environmental concerns has been a large portion of his work experience. Living in Sparwood since 1995, and previously in the Crowsnest Pass since 1988, he has seen the many changes that have occurred in this area first hand. The mining industry has been a big part of his life in Sparwood. He looks forward to applying his experience to help the Baldy Ridge Committee make meaningful decisions and recommendations.

    Cal McDougall

    I am married to Norma and we raised two children Adam and Layne here in Sparwood. We owned and operated the Express Mart Convenience store for 35 years and during that time I was an active member of numerous clubs and organizations. Chamber of Commerce, Golf and Curling club to name a few. I was proud to serve as Mayor from 1997 to 2005 and then again from 2015 to 2018. I am presently a Director of the Chamber of Commerce and the Sparwood Futures society.

    One of the most important projects undertaken during my term as Mayor is the work on the Baldy Ridge Extension Project. I look forward to continuing those efforts as a member of the SCEEAC. I am presently retired and willing to provide the time commitment required to be an effective member of this committee.

    Harold (Hungry) Baytaluke

    Harold has lived in Sparwood since 1969, having worked in several different roles and sectors since then. He served as Councillor for the District for four separate three-year terms, and is currently a member of the Lilac Terrance and Sparwood Public Library boards. Harold can be reached at 250-425-2944 (home) or 250-423-9403 (mobile).

    Calvin Domin

    Calvin is a long time Sparwood resident who was born and raised in Sparwood. After graduating from Sparwood Secondary School, Calvin tried city life for 8 years while gaining work experience and his trade certificates in plumbing/gas fitting from SAIT. In 2006 he returned to Sparwood with his wife. Calvin completed his A-Class Gas fitter certification in 2013 and works predominantly in commercial heating and gas including subcontracting to the local mines. Calvin is an elite athlete in his spare time, competing on the world stage in Tae Kwon Do and running the trails competing in ultra marathons. Calvin holds a Director position with the Sparwood Trails Alliance where he was the founding president of the organization prior. He is known around town as Coach Calvin as he coaches minor soccer while at the same time enjoys watching his daughter compete in dance competitions. Having a wife who has works in health care combined with Calvin’s experience in industry, Calvin looks forward to participating on this committee, learning from others, and is excited to be a part of supporting Sparwood to be a well-rounded, healthy community in which to live.

  • Project History

    The Sparwood Livability Study is being undertaken by District as per the requirements of Condition 21 of the Environmental Assessment Certificate #M16-01. Teck is currently in the operations/construction stage of the Environmental Assessment process for the project. BRE will bring the operation closer to the community of Sparwood, and will increase the operation’s disturbance area by 862 hectares. The project will see mine activities and job creation within this region for an additional 25 years, producing up to 10 million metric tonnes of clean coal each year.

    Project Scope

    The Sparwood Livability Study will analyze and address quality of life indicators, will facilitate engagement with communities, and will study and define livability. The role of the natural environment in physical/mental health outcomes will also be addressed. Community input will help define livability and identify appropriate quality of life indicators, which must be credible and replicable over time. Once determined, these indicators will be applied and assessed in today's context. The study is also intended to highlight past trends and occurrences that have impacted quality of life across the community. Through best practice research, the analysis of existing livability studies in comparable communities and extensive consultation within the community, the process will result in a customized, innovative and responsive approach that meets the specific needs of the Sparwood community in general and the Baldy Ridge Extension Project in particular.


    • The District is undertaking a livability study with support from a consultant - Intelligent Futures, and Teck.
    • This livability study and community feedback will serve as input for the District and the SCEEAC.
    • A comprehensive engagement process has been developed to ensure everyone has a chance to influence the outcomes of the study.
    • Resident participation is vital to the success of this process, area residents, businesses and community groups can ensure their priorities and concerns are reflected in the study.
    • Participants will be able to share their ideas on what makes Sparwood unique, and ways we can ensure the community is vibrant and welcoming for generations to come.
    • Community feedback will be reflected at all stages of the process through What We Heard Reporting and phased discussions.
    • The permit condition requiring the completion of a livability study, is a first for Teck, and the permit condition is one of only a handful of such conditions across the province of B.C.
    • The study process will include input from the SCEEAC, made up of community volunteers, District Mayor and Councillor and representatives from Teck (Elkview GM, Elkview Superintendent Environment, and Manager, Social Responsibility).
    • This Livability Study is one requirement of Teck's SCEEMP. The SCEEMP outlines specific requirements for Teck pertaining to the Baldy Ridge Extension Project (BRE). The SCEEMP also prescribes an Advisory Committee, known as the SCEEAC, that is a committee of Council which will participate in the Livability Study and make recommendations to Council and Teck about managing impacts from BRE.

    Project Documents

  • Help us build this list! Have a question we haven't answered? Send it to sparwood@sparwood.ca.


    • How do I provide my input to the SCEEAC?

      A Feedback Form is available here to provide input directly to the SCEEAC. These forms are received and then become information items on the next SCEEAC meeting agenda.

      SCEEAC meetings include a question period where members of the public can ask questions pertaining to items on that meeting's agenda. Questions, concerns, or comments for the SCEEAC can also be submitted to livable@sparwood.ca.

      SCEEAC meetings are open to the public (unless portions of the meetings are closed for reasons consistent with the Community Charter) and follow the reporting procedures required for Council meetings.

      Residents can always submit any concerns related to mining operations directly to Teck through their feedback mechanism.

    • How will the SCEEAC provide advice for management/mitigation?

      The SCEEAC will review and provide recommendations for management and mitigation options for various impacts that BRE may create. Once the SCEEAC understands the issues and options, they will make recommendations on preferred approach to mitigation. Those recommendations will go to District of Sparwood Council and/or Teck, and decision makers in those organizations will make the final decisions on how to proceed.

      It is important to remember that the SCEEAC is meant to be a conduit between the residents of Sparwood and the District and Teck. Therefore, individual opinions of SCEEAC members should be tempered by the information provided and broad public feedback that the SCEEAC receives.

      The hypothetical example below demonstrates how the Committee might make a recommendation related to noise:

      A combination of factors leads to an increase in noise events in Sparwood in one year. The Committee has already been provided an overview of the issue of noise and how it is addressed by Teck. At their November meeting, the Committee gets the following input:

      • A summarized record of public feedback about noise grievances received during that year
      • Presentation by Teck on their noise mitigation measures during that year
      • Data on actual recorded noise levels
      • A list of mitigation alternatives to consider

      The SCEEAC receives all of that information, and then deliberates on the issue at hand. The SCEEAC is aware of existing options for mitigation, but also discusses some new ideas. The SCEEAC determines that their recommended approach is:

      • For Teck to install a temporary wall around the noise source

      The SCEEAC agrees on this recommendation and shares it with Council and Teck. In this case, the recommendation pertains to Teck’s operations, so Teck would ultimately decide on how they will proceed. The recommendations, and subsequent actions of Teck and/or the District, would be tracked, recorded and reported, to understand how, when, and why recommendations of the SCEEAC are, or are not, being followed. This process is part of the adaptive management cycle and would be monitored (i.e. the following year) to ensure progress is made over the long term. New management/mitigation options may be selected in a future adaptive management cycle as needed. The SCEEAC would be involved in each subsequent cycle.

    • Why are we doing this now?

      The SCEEMP, Livability Study and SCEEAC are required as part of the Environmental Certificate issued by the BC Environmental Assessment Office. The Baldy Ridge Extension project is underway and it will increase the size of Elkview Operations and its proximity to the Sparwood community. We want to ensure that any impacts from new mine activity are carefully managed and the community is involved in the process; the SCEEAC is a way to reach the broader community and give this topic the attention it deserves.

    • What is the purpose of the SCEEAC?

      In plain language, the purpose for the SCEEAC is to have an informed group of citizens, Teck, and District appointees, that can consider the impacts of  BRE project on the community of Sparwood and provide recommendations to the District and Teck on how to minimize or mitigate those impacts. From the SCEEAC Terms of Reference:

      • Perform an advisory role, focused on making recommendations to Council and Teck for consideration with respect to implementing Condition 21;
      • Provide a broad community voice;
      • Act as a conduit for Teck Elkview Operations and DOS to reach citizens and for citizens to reach Teck EVO and District of Sparwood – and to build trust;
      • Advise on engaging the broader community of Sparwood;
      • Review results for other Management Plans (Table 4-1) required as per BRE EAC #M16-01; and,
      • Assist in identifying on-going socio-community impacts and possible solutions for adaptive management
    • Who is paying for this SCEEAC?

      The SCEEAC is made of up volunteers from the community, and appointees from the District and Teck. Financial support for administrative aspects of the SCEEAC and expert advice, when required, will be provided by Teck. The District will provide in-kind support, such as time required by staff members to prepare for and attend meetings.

    • How can I become a member of the SCEEAC?

      SCEEAC members have been appointed for the first 3-year term by the District of Sparwood Council.

      Calls for new appointments will be advertised widely when necessary. Members of the public are welcome to attend and provide input at all meetings of the SCEEAC. These meetings will be open to the public (unless portions of the meetings are closed for reasons consistent with the Community Charter) and follow the reporting procedures required for Council meetings.

    • How can I stay informed of the operations and recommendations of the SCEEAC?
      • Review meeting minutes on the Document Center and available in person at the District office
      • Visit this Sparwood.ca/Livable website for any major project updates (i.e. the Livability Study)
      • Follow Council Facts  which will reference SCEEAC meetings when minutes are brought to Council
    • What does the SCEEAC discuss?

      The SCEEAC is tasked with providing comments on several of Teck's management plans. These plans are discussed in the SCEEMP document and include things like air quality and dust control, blasting and vibration, noise control, reclamation, and viewscape.

      SCEEAC meeting agendas are posted in our Document Center approximately 5 business days before each meeting.

Feedback for the SCEEAC? Fill out this SCEEAC Feedback Form.
Or contact:
Jen Woodall at livable@sparwood.ca 

Questions or feedback for Teck's operations in the Elk Valley?
Contact: feedbackteckcoal@teck.com, or 1.855.806.6854, or fill out a feedback form available at locations throughout the Elk Valley. Visit Teck's Elk Valley Dust Management page.