A flawed en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary -

I have re­viewed the En­vi­ron­men­tal As­sess­ment doc­u­ment sub­mit­ted to Nova Sco­tia’s Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment by Dex­ter Con­struc­tion Co. in sup­port of its ap­pli­ca­tion for a three-fold ex­pan­sion of its Money Point quarry, and its re­quest for per­mis­sion to op­er­ate the quarry for the next 40 years, un­til 2058. The as­sess­ment is flawed in many im­por­tant ways. In par­tic­u­lar, the as­sess­ment does not ad­dress the most se­ri­ous im­pacts of the pro­posed quarry ex­pan­sion which are a) the so­cial and eco­nomic im­pacts on lo­cal res­i­dents caused by Dex­ter’s heavy truck traf­fic mov­ing through our com­mu­nity along a nar­row, wind­ing , hilly and much trav­elled road, and b) the so­cial and eco­nomic im­pacts of the quarry’s in­dus­trial ac­tiv­i­ties and truck traf­fic on our lo­cal and re­gional tourism sec­tor, in­clud­ing ero­sion of our area’s rep­u­ta­tion as a world class, un­spoiled nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. Dex­ter is seek­ing per­mis­sion to truck up to 50,000 tonnes per year of crushed rock through our com­mu­nity. This works out to 4000 trips by heavy trucks through our com­mu­nity each year for the next 40 years, mostly dur­ing the busy and eco­nom­i­cally im­por­tant tourist sea­sons of sum­mer and fall. These trucks cre­ate noise, dust, road con­ges­tion and safety con­cerns for res­i­dents and vis­i­tors alike. On­go­ing ef­forts to pro­mote our beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment and our at­trac­tive har­bour vil­lages as part of an ex­panded tourism sec­tor will be un­der­mined by this truck traf­fic and in­dus­trial scale quarry ac­tiv­ity. Dex­ter ar­gues that since the com­pany has been rolling trucks through our com­mu­nity for the last 20 years, the Com­pany should be al­lowed to con­tinue this im­pact­ful ac­tiv­ity for 40 more years. No way, Dex­ter! This is 2018! The En­vi­ron­men­tal As­sess­ment makes state­ments about eco­nomic ben­e­fits of the ex­pan­sion, but fails to pro­vide any num­bers on such ben­e­fits. It fails to as­sess the broad so­cial and eco­nomic costs to the com­mu­nity of the ex­pan­sion. Dex­ter’s con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mu­nity was vir­tu­ally non-ex­is­tent. On the ba­sis of the in­ad­e­qua­cies and crit­i­cal omis­sions in the En­vi­ron­men­tal As­sess­ment doc­u­ment, Nova Sco­tia En­vi­ron­ment and Vic­to­ria County Coun­cil should re­ject the Dex­ter ap­pli­ca­tion.

Rob Macdon­ald Sugar Loaf, N.S.

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