North Shore res­i­dents value water over gold

Truro Daily News - - Colchester County - BY HARRY SUL­LI­VAN

Water not gold.

Signs with those sen­ti­ments are com­mon on front lawns and ex­te­rior walls of res­i­dences and com­mer­cial es­tab­lish­ment in and around the Tatamagouche area.

That’s also the mes­sage a group of area res­i­dents want to con­vey to Colch­ester County Coun­cil tonight (Thursday).

“We’re hop­ing that full coun­cil will pass the two res­o­lu­tions that the Tatamagouche Source Water Pro­tec­tion Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee made and passed unan­i­mously at their meet­ing,” said John Perkins, a mem­ber of the Sus­tain­able North­ern Nova Sco­tia (SUNNS) cit­i­zens’ en­vi­ron­men­tal group.

The group stands op­posed to ef­forts by the province to be­gin gold ex­plo­ration in the War­wick Moun­tain/new An­nan area over fears the wa­ter­shed will be harmed.

Dur­ing a pub­lic meet­ing last week in Tatamagouche the ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee passed two mo­tions it will be pre­sent­ing to coun­cil on Thursday.

Specif­i­cally, the first mo­tion rec­om­mends coun­cil pro­ceed “im­me­di­ately” with the process for for­mal des­ig­na­tion of the wa­ter­shed as a pro­tected water area un­der sec­tion 106 of the En­vi­ron­ment Act.

The sec­ond mo­tion di­rects the com­mit­tee to rec­om­mend to coun­cil that a let­ter be for­warded to lo­cal

MLA Karen Casey re­quest­ing a de­lay in the is­sue of the re­quest for pro­pos­als for min­eral ex­plo­ration rights un­til such time as the des­ig­na­tion process is com­plete.

The is­sue arose in the spring of 2016 when the Tatamagouche Source Water Pro­tec­tion Com­mit­tee be­came aware of some po­ten­tial min­eral ex­trac­tion ac­tiv­i­ties within the French River Wa­ter­shed.

The province’s for­mer Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources (now Mines and En­ergy) had been in­ves­ti­gat­ing min­eral de­posits within the wa­ter­shed area and had placed a min­eral clo­sure on much of the area.

It is ex­pected the depart­ment will is­sue calls for pub­lic com­ment in Septem­ber, to be fol­lowed in Oc­to­ber with re­quests for pro­pos­als from in­ter­ested com­pa­nies for the min­eral ex­plo­ration rights within the clo­sure area.

The province has in­di­cated it ex­pects a min­eral ex­plo­ration per­mit will be is­sued this year.

But Perkins said con­cerned res­i­dents hope to win coun­cil’s sup­port in pres­sur­ing the province to hold off on its plans so that a water pro­tec­tion des­ig­na­tion can be put in place.

In­for­ma­tion con­tained in Thursday’s coun­cil agenda said coun­cil had for­warded a let­ter in March to the min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, the En­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter and to Casey, as the MLA for Colch­ester North, re­quest­ing the re­lease of the re­quest for pro­pos­als be de­layed.

“To date, a de­lay has not been granted,” the re­port says.

Perkins said he’s hop­ing enough pub­lic pres­sure will catch the at­ten­tion of the provin­cial gov­ern­ment.

“I would ex­pect there to be quite a large turnout,” he said, in re­gard to Thursday’s meet­ing.

And Perkins said a lo­cal pe­ti­tion in cir­cu­la­tion by SUNNS, also has about 550 sig­na­tures – rep­re­sent­ing be­tween 95 and 97 per cent of res­i­dents in the min­ing clo­sure area – from peo­ple op­posed to a gold mine.

“It ba­si­cally asks Colch­ester County Coun­cil and the rel­e­vant min­is­ters at the provin­cial level to re­spect the com­mu­nity’s wishes and opin­ions that a gold mine in a com­mu­nity wa­ter­shed is a far­ci­cal idea and to halt any ac­tiv­ity that would lead to­wards that,” Perkins said.

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