Dex­ter Truck Traf­fic: An open let­ter to Vic­to­ria County Coun­cil

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary -

Mr. Min­is­ter:

I would like Vic­to­ria County Coun­cil to know that heavy truck traf­fic roar­ing through the vil­lages of Su­gar Loaf, Aspy Bay, Cape North, Ding­wall and South Har­bour, five days a week, from 5.00 am to 8.00 pm, is ad­versely af­fect­ing our com­mu­nity. Heavy trucks – mainly in­volved in mov­ing crushed rock from two lo­cal quar­ries op­er­ated by Dex­ter Con­struc­tion Com­pany - are caus­ing noise and air pol­lu­tion, dan­ger­ous road con­di­tions and an ad­verse im­pact on our tourism in­dus­try.

I rec­og­nize that road re­pairs are of great im­por­tance and crushed rock is needed for such re­pairs. How­ever, while good roads ben­e­fit ev­ery­one, our small vil­lages are pay­ing a heavy price. I be­lieve our com­mu­nity should be com­pen­sated ac­cord­ingly.

With Coun­cil ap­proval, Dex­ter Con­struc­tion was re­cently given per­mis­sion by the Prov­ince to ex­tract up to 50,000 tonnes of crushed rock each year, for 40 years, from its Money Point quarry. Ad­di­tional gravel is be­ing re­moved from Dex­ter’s quarry in Grey’s Hol­low. This trans­lates into 4000 to 6000 heavy trucks rolling through our com­mu­nity each year dur­ing the spring, sum­mer and fall. Dozens of trucks each day. This is a dis­rup­tive, in­dus­trial scale min­ing and truck­ing ac­tiv­ity to­tally in­ap­pro­pri­ate for our small com­mu­nity and its roads: we can po­ten­tially look for­ward to this dis­rup­tion for the next 40 years.

This heavy truck traf­fic with its large engines and en­gine brak­ing is very noisy and the ex­haust, on these hot sum­mer days, is sick­en­ing. More­over, fast mov­ing, heavy truck traf­fic, on the nar­row, wind­ing and hilly road through our com­mu­nity, is dan­ger­ous for chil­dren play­ing on prop­erty by the road, for pedes­tri­ans, for cy­clists, and for lo­cal and tourist traf­fic. A se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent is just wait­ing to hap­pen.

Much of our lo­cal econ­omy is based on tourism. Tourists are drawn to our area be­cause of its un­spoiled nat­u­ral beauty. This heavy truck traf­fic and un­sightly min­ing un­der­mines our rep­u­ta­tion as a world class tourist des­ti­na­tion.

In April, when this in­dus­trial scale ac­tiv­ity was ap­proved for 40 years, I asked Coun­cil to seek com­pen­sa­tion for the com­mu­nity from Dex­ter for the ad­verse im­pacts caused by their truck­ing and sug­gested com­pen­sa­tion of $1 to $5 per ton of gravel trucked through our com­mu­nity. I pro­posed that this com­pen­sa­tion be in­vested in lo­cal so­cial and eco­nomic devel­op­ment projects and that a not-for-profit eco­nomic devel­op­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion should be cre­ated and man­aged by rep­re­sen­ta­tives from our af­fected vil­lages who would be re­spon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing devel­op­ment grants to lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions. Coun­cil has never re­sponded to this sug­ges­tion and the mas­sive Dex­ter trucks con­tinue to roar through our com­mu­nity.

I have two ques­tions to Coun­cil: Did Coun­cil ap­proach Dex­ter seek­ing com­pen­sa­tion? If not, why not? In any event, it is not too late to seek com­pen­sa­tion from Dex­ter Con­struc­tion for its ad­verse im­pacts on our com­mu­nity.

County Coun­cil, it’s time to stand up to Dex­ter on be­half of your con­stituents!

Rob Macdon­ald Su­gar Loaf, NS

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