Monday, February 16, 2009

10 Easy Quarry Questions Seeking Answers

Like many concerned citizens of Charlotte County I am wasting my valuable time, energy, and creativity on issues that should have simple answers. Some of my questions are:

Question 1: There is a Provincial law protecting watersheds that supply potable water for communities. Why are we sending letters and petitioning the minister to protect the Chamcook watershed from the proposed quarry expansion when it is his obligation to uphold the law and refuse any such application?

Question 2: If the Province of New Brunswick does not protect the obvious interests of its citizens, who does it represent?

Question 3: Since he is responsible for the eastern part of the St. Andrews peninsula, why has our local liberal MLA been noticeable by his absence in this issue?

Question 4: The Ocean's Act prohibits the destruction of fish habitat. Why has the Department of Fisheries and Oceans not examined the destroyed scallop and lobster bottom off the Quarry to determine impacts of sediments from the quarry on critical fish habitat?

Question 5: The Government of Canada is investing millions of dollars in infrastructure in Charlotte County, providing more sustainable jobs and income than the proposed quarry development ever will. Will the vital water supply of these facilities be affected?

Question 6: The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act requires developers to undergo a hearing process when there is a development application in play that could harm our environment. Why has the CEAA not been evoked for the proposed Jamer Quarry expansion?

Question 7: My legal friends tell me that a verbal agreement is binding in Canada.. The promise made to the citizens of Charlotte County was removal of aggregate (at no cost to Jamer Materials) in exhange for expanded laydown for the “new” Bayside Port. Why has this agreement not been met and why has the Provincial judicial authority not pursued this obligation? Why is the federal judicial system not examining the Provincial legal performance in this regard?

Question 8: Quarries are not subject to the stringent laws governing mines in New Brunswick.When an amendment to the quarries act was placed before the legislature, why was it not even allowed to reach the house?

Question 9: If the issue is so important to St. Andrews, why is the town providing major financial support to an organization that purports to represent Town businesses, but which refuses to take a public stand on the Quarry issue in support of nearly 100% of its members?

Question 10: If it is such a good corporate citizen, why has the Bayside Port Corporation not been working with the community to integrate its activities into the needs and fabric of the community? Is it simply a "shill" for its major shareholder?

These are just a few of the questions that I think need answers. To me, the first two questions are the most important. Perhaps other concerned citizens have answers ... or other questions?

Art MacKay

1 comment:

  1. To the Editor:

    Here are few more questions to add to Art Mackay's list of Quarry Questions in response to Jamer's assurance that their project "will have no impact on the water quality of Chamcook Lake"

    Jamer will have to move the watershed boundary in order to prevent flow from its proposed new open pit mine into the Chamcook watershed.
    This has been done at other quarries owned by Vulcan Materials, their parent company. What if berms to redirect this flow fail as has happened with other Vulcan quarries, or blasting opens a rift in the bedrock, as has already happened with Jamer's operation at the Port of Bayside?

    Vulcan has had problems at other quarries, Eg.
    There is some risk something will go wrong with berms or blasting.
    Is any risk to St Andrews' water supply, their life's blood, acceptable? Is it the right thing to do, even if it is legal?

    If the berms do hold and no rifts are opened toward Chamcook Lake by the blasting, runoff will be contained on the "other" side of the watershed boundary, as planned. This means it will flow into the St Croix estuary.
    Has the toxic effects of this "planned" runoff been considered?
    This is black and black question, a potential lose lose situation.

    Dust blows off freshly disturbed rock during blasting and especially the stock piles, trucking and conveyor operations we see at the Port of Bayside. Wind blows this dust toward the Chamcook watershed. Dust from this quarry has been shown to contain arsenic and other toxic metals. Why has the long term effect of this dust blowing onto the watershed not been considered?

    Why has the long term effects of wind blown dust blowing onto the St Croix estuary not been considered? It may be legal, but is it right?

    Why has the long term effects on the workers breathing this dust never been considered. Just because it's legal, is right?

    Jamer claims to have used "the best science available", and yet they are relying on wind data from the St Stephen Airport which has winds quite different from those at the Port. Why has Jamer not used an on site wind station for relevant data?

    Why has NOISE pollution not been addressed in their presentations?
    Jamer plans to start on the east side of their Hill #2 which faces Chamcook Lake across the valley between the east side of Simpson Hill and the west side of Wiley's Mountain. (See Aerial Photo) This will form an unholy amphitheater to broadcast all noise from this proposed open pit mine, and that includes not only the blasting but the roar from huge machines with even louder nerve jarring back up beepers. The existing quarry broadcasts noise in the opposite direction, but it can still be heard around Chamcook lake. Again, it may be legal, but is it right?

    Jamer has claimed there will be no negative visual impact that would not be, as one new St Andrews resident, who used to have to drive by a big quarry, termed, "a sad and depressing sight". I can assure you that this proposed quarry operation will be painfully obvious not only from along Rte 127, but also from the new #1 divided highway from St. Stephen.

    May I suggest that the public look at the record of broken promises as Art Mackay has inferred in his Question #7, but also take a hard look at the record of Vulcan Materials to see just what we are dealing with here. Above all, we need to look well ahead, and at what is right.

    Tim Foulkes