The Chronicle Herald (Metro)

Donkin mine fan noise debilitati­ng

- Yvonne Kennedy, Port Morien

For some things, time seems to fly. In other situations, time creeps along. For many people in Port Morien, Cape Breton, the nights are long when you are not getting a sound sleep.

On Oct. 2, 2019, the first complaint on the noise coming from the idled Donkin mine was reported to Malcolm Macneil, the regional engineer for the Nova Scotia Department of Environmen­t. Many more complaints have followed, but the residents feel they are falling on deaf ears.

The noise issue is the result of mega-fans that are used to take the gas out of the shuttered coal mine. The old fans did not emit the same pounding racket as these new ones.

The company that installed these new fans told Kameron Coal what they needed to do to minimize the noise levels, but they didn’t listen. The company tried to solve the problem by stacking huge “sea-cans” in front of the fans. That didn’t work.

So what is it like to live with this noise for the past 21 months? The noise level is dependent on where you live in the area. Some people have a buffer of trees to minimize the decibel level. People who live near the coastline feel the full effect of this assault on their senses. Others throughout the village also hear the constant hum of the fans.

A family at Dearns Corner, seven kilometres away from the mine, reported that the sound makes the walls in their home vibrate. They feel that the noise travels down the power lines. They can feel the vibrations when they put their hands on the walls of their home. This is not acceptable.

Some people can feel the effect 14 kilometres away. The noise is keeping people awake at night. During the day, people cannot enjoy their yards when the fans are running. According to engineers, how the sound travels depends on atmospheri­c conditions. It seems to amplify as it travels over water or open spaces.

The mine has been shut down for over a year and we continue to pay the price with our health and wellbeing. Concerned citizens formed the Cow Bay Environmen­tal Coalition to advocate for finding solutions. We are not mining engineers. We are ordinary citizens who are trying to pressure the Department of Environmen­t and the politician­s to demand that Kameron Coal do the right thing.

Our group has been in contact with an engineerin­g company in the United Kingdom that has a solution that they use on idled mines all across the world. We have done our homework. We have paid the price with our health. Too much time has passed since we started this fight. We need a solution now, not in months or years from now. Enough is enough!

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