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LETTER: NS quarry regulations meaningless to NSE


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Letter writer Danny Smith from Brooklyn Road during a rally at Premier Stephen McNeil's office opposing a quarry on the North Mountain.

The writer of the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, in a moment of frustration at the seeming futility of life, writes:

“Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

These ancient words seem to sum up rather well the approach Nova Scotia Environment (NSE) appears to take towards its own ‘Environment Act’ and ‘Pit and Quarry Guidelines.’ As the concerned residents of Brooklyn Road have found time and time again these government documents are not worth the paper they are written on.

In reference to the proposed Brooklyn Road quarry it has been shocking to witness the lengths NSE has gone to in order to skirt around their own environmental regulations. Several scientific reports, prepared by experts in their field, have been submitted to NSE by concerned Brooklyn Road residents. Evidence for these reports was gathered onsite at the location of the proposed quarry by qualified professionals. Each report suggests the same thing: that the location for the proposed Brooklyn Road quarry is inappropriate and violates several of NSE’s own regulations.

The scientific evidence gathered suggests that the proposed quarry would put at risk the community's water and that it will negatively impact 18 properties, more than 400 acres of agricultural land, over five hectares of contiguous wetland, and numerous rare plants. Yet it is as if NSE were not aware that regulations even existed that dealt with such matters.

In contrast to the evidence submitted by Brooklyn Road residents the quality of evidence the quarry proponent has submitted to NSE in defence of their application leaves much to be desired. Many, if not all, reports submitted by the proponent have contained numerous pieces of incomplete and inaccurate information. This has been to such an extent that NSE has repeatedly had to request that more information be given or that reports be redone. In addition to this, the major “site survey” conducted in support of their application was not even conducted on site but in an office in Halifax.

There are still numerous ongoing inaccuracies and deficiencies in the proponent’s application and reports submitted to NSE, yet NSE seems content to accept anything the proponent gives them without asking too many questions.  

One has to wonder if NSE has been instructed to treat quarry applications the same way our education system treats students: no one is allowed to fail no matter how inadequate, inaccurate, or inept the work submitted is.

The residents of Brooklyn Road are growing frustrated. This frustration led to a rally being conducted outside Premier Stephen McNeil’s office on November 21 in response to our MLA’s lack of support for this part of his constituency and a lack of will by the Minister of Environment, Randy Delorey, to address this issue in any meaningful way.

As the government department’s Mission statement states:

“Nova Scotia Environment provides leadership through science based decision making and regulation to ensure that our environment is valued, protected and improved.”

The Minister of Environment should provide that leadership and reject the proposed quarry based on the clear scientific evidence, that based on NSE’s own regulations, the proposed quarry is not appropriate for this location.

 

Danny Smith

Brooklyn Road Resident

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