County con­cerned about pos­si­ble Mid­dle Stewiacke as­bestos project, re­quests as­sess­ment de­lay


MID­DLE STEWIACKE, N.S. – Colch­ester County is ask­ing that an en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment for an as­bestos dis­posal site be tem­po­rar­ily halted.

On May 16, Colch­ester Con­tain­ers Lim­ited reg­is­tered a Mid­dle Stewiacke prop­erty for as­sess­ment. The pub­lic was no­ti­fied that com­ments could be sub­mit­ted un­til June 15, and the Nova Sco­tia min­is­ter of en­vi­ron­ment would de­cide, by July 5, whether the project would be ap­proved.

Res­i­dents of the area, up­set about such a fa­cil­ity op­er­at­ing in their com­mu­nity, held a pub­lic meet­ing last week. This week county coun­cil de­cided to wade in and write a let­ter to the min­is­ter.

“We’re clas­si­fy­ing it as ur­gent and ask­ing that the re­quest be held in abeyance un­til new reg­u­la­tions from en­vi­ron­ment come in,” said Colch­ester County Mayor Chris­tine Blair.

“We’re also ask­ing that con­sid­er­a­tion be given to the site we al­ready have in Kemp­town in­stead of cre­at­ing a new site. We have ac­cepted as­bestos there and have staff trained to deal with it. We fol­low very strin­gent rules and reg­u­la­tions.”

She said they’re also point­ing out that the prov­ince didn’t in­clude the Kemp­town fa­cil­ity in its on­line list of as­bestos waste dis­posal sites.

Ellen Dur­kee, a Mid­dle Stewiacke res­i­dent, is con­cerned about the health risks.

“Air­borne par­ti­cles are a dan­ger so one of the big­gest wor­ries is how they move it,” she said. “This site is on a hill and we don’t know how it might af­fect wa­ter that runs down and feeds wells. This doesn’t give us enough time to do re­search.

“The big­gest shock is that this has been in the works and peo­ple weren’t told about it.”

Diane Red­den, an­other Mid­dle Stewiacke res­i­dent, said there are at least three brooks that run down­hill from the site.

“If there’s a spill, how will it af­fect them? The in­for­ma­tion the com­pany has is based on a dry time of year but some­times there’s a lot of wa­ter on the ground in that area.

“I moved to the area to avoid pol­lu­tion and I know others did too. There are is­sues, like who will take care of this site years from now, and some peo­ple have told me moose mi­grate through the area. There’s not enough time to as­sess this and make sure things are done prop­erly.”

Colch­ester Con­tain­ers, which is owned by John Ross & Sons Ltd., hopes to op­er­ate the as­bestos dis­posal project on a 1.8 hectare­site along High­way 289, where con­struc­tion and de­mo­li­tion waste is cur­rently be­ing dumped. It would have an ex­pected op­er­a­tional life of 20 years.

If the project goes ahead, con­struc­tion is ex­pected to be­gin this sum­mer.

“The en­vi­ron­men­tal laws in Nova Sco­tia are weaker than any­where else in Canada,” said Dur­kee. “We’ve got to think more about the health risks and we’ve got to stop bury­ing ev­ery­thing that’s bad for us or there won’t be a piece of land in Nova Sco­tia fit to live on.”

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from John Ross & Son could not be reached for com­ment by press time.

Copies of the en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment reg­is­tra­tion in­for­ma­tion can be seen at the Truro and Stewiacke li­braries, Nova Sco­tia En­vi­ron­ment- 36 Inglis Place and on­line at­vas­co­tia. ca/nse/ea.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit the Nova Sco­tia En­vi­ron­ment site at­vas­co­ ea/as­bestos_waste_ Dis­pos­al_ Cell_ Project.

“This site is on a hill and we don’t know how it might af­fect wa­ter that runs down and feeds wells. This doesn’t give us enough time to do re­search.” Ellen Dur­kee Mid­dle Stewiacke

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