Count­ing cars

Donkin Mine of­fi­cials ini­ti­ate traf­fic count to find way to al­le­vi­ate res­i­dents’ con­cerns

Cape Breton Post - - Glace Bay / New Waterford & Area - BY SHARON MONTGOMERY-DUPE smont­gomery@cb­post.com

The gen­eral man­ager of Kameron Coal’s Donkin Mine says they’ve ini­ti­ated a traf­fic count in the Donkin and Port Morien ar­eas in hopes of com­ing up with a plan to al­le­vi­ate res­i­dents’ con­cerns over truck­ing.

Shannon Camp­bell said the idea be­hind the count is not want­ing to spec­u­late on the traf­fic and make a wrong de­ci­sion that could af­fect a lot of folks.

There are nu­mer­ous traf­fic coun­ters set up in­clud­ing those on Tower Road, Donkin-Morien High­way and Long Beach Road. This one is be­ing done through as­sis­tance of the de­part­ment of trans­porta­tion (DOT).

“We want to en­sure the de­ci­sion we make is based on real data,” he said, adding DOT has been ex­tremely ac­com­mo­dat­ing.

“There’s more people around than just on Long Beach Road and I just want to make sure if we do make de­ci­sions to change things we un­der­stand the rat­i­fi­ca­tions of this. I don’t want to make a so­lu­tion for one and cause a big­ger prob­lem for some­one else.”

The process started a few weeks ago and when it will be fin­ished is not known yet. Camp­bell said they want it com­pleted when coal trucks are on the road. Right now they are ready to be­gin com­mis­sion­ing their pro­cess­ing plant so they haven’t been truck­ing coal but are in­stead stock­pil­ing it at the mine site.

“We’ve been al­low­ing it to build up in front of the pro­cess­ing plants so we can use it to help us work through the bugs. We will start truck­ing coal again in about two weeks.”

The de­ci­sion for the traf­fic count came from the Donkin Mine, said Glace Bay MLA Ge­off MacLel­lan, min­is­ter of busi­ness, en­ergy, trade and Ser­vice Nova Sco­tia.

“The Donkin Mine wants to do what they can to work with the com­mu­nity and to keep the dis­rup­tion and the im­pact on res­i­dents as low as pos­si­ble.”

MacLel­lan said back in May res­i­dents met be­cause they were con­cerned over the in­crease in truck traf­fic to and from the mine

Through the traf­fic study MacLel­lan said Donkin Mine of­fi­cials can de­ter­mine ser­vice and coal trucks routes and find a way to al­ter­nate routes that would be more ac­cept­able and ben­e­fi­cial to the com­mu­nity.

Claude Peach of Long Beach Road said trucks have been mov­ing through the area steadily from May through July with six or seven trucks go­ing back and forth con­tin­u­ously ev­ery day. That’s in ad­di­tion to con­struc­tion ve­hi­cles. Peach said there has been a lull over the past few weeks.

“I don’t know if they were

stock­pil­ing or what they were do­ing but there seemed to be a lull in traf­fic with the coal trucks,” he said.

In a story in the Cape Bre­ton Post in May, Peach or­ga­nized a com­mu­nity meet­ing over res­i­dents’ safety con­cerns about coal trucks trav­el­ling to Long Beach Road down the Donkin-Morien high­way to Dearn’s Cor­ner, con­tin­u­ing to Syd­ney and pass­ing each other on nar­row roads with­out shoul­ders and side­walks. Res­i­dents wanted to know if Kameron was look­ing at any other routes or if they would con­sider a pro­posal for a truck­ing route that could cross the high­way from

the mine site and fol­low the pole line to Sand Lake.

Peach said they have asked the Donkin Mine com­mu­nity li­ai­son com­mit­tee for a pub­lic meet­ing and were told after the traf­fic count con­cluded a pub­lic meet­ing would be held. In the mean­time MacLel­lan said the de­sign of the coal road is un­der­way with the crit­i­cal work be­ing done on the en­trance and exit ways on Brook­side Street and the Old Air­port Road.

MacLel­lan said when one talks about build­ing a coal road en­trance and exit people think it’s an in­signif­i­cant and small project but it’s an in­vest­ment of sev­eral mil­lion dol­lars by the prov­ince.

“This high­lights the mag­ni­tude of this coal road. This is not a lit­tle path through the back of the for­mer dump, this is a ma­jor in­vest­ment by the mine it­self and for the de­part­ment of trans­porta­tion. We’re lis­ten­ing to con­cerns and mak­ing in­vest­ments to fol­low up on those con­cerns.”

Be­fore con­struc­tion starts there will be prepa­ra­tion work to the en­trances and ex­its to the coal road it­self, work to ad­ja­cent land and some re­align­ment on the Old Air­port Road.

“If there is still time in this con­struc­tion sea­son to get work

started we cer­tainly will.”

U.S. min­ing gi­ant the Cline Group LLC gained full con­trol of the Donkin Mine after pur­chas­ing a 75 per cent ma­jor­ity stake in the op­er­a­tion from Glen­core Xs­trata PLC and a 25 per cent in­ter­est from Morien Re­sources Corp. The mine is owned by Kameron Col­lieries, a Halifax sub­sidiary of the Cline Group and be­gan pro­duc­tion in Fe­bru­ary.

SHARON MONTGOMERY-DUPE/CAPE BRE­TON POST

A truck trav­els through Tower Road to­wards Donkin over one of nu­mer­ous traf­fic coun­ters set up for a traf­fic study to an­swer res­i­dent’s con­cerns about heavy truck­ing. Coun­ters have also been in­stalled on the Donkin and Port Morien high­ways and Long Beach Road.

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