WAVERLEY: The application for the proposed Fall River quarry is now complete.
According to Premier Stephen McNeil, all the necessary information has now been submitted to Nova Scotia Environment from the proponent, Scotian Materials. The application—the third they had in—had been stalled for the past 16 months and listed by NSE as “incomplete” until they received the necessary information they requested.
“My understanding is that there was more information required from the company to submit to the department,” McNeil told The Laker outside the Waverley Legion on May 5 during a campaign stop with incumbent Bill Horne. “I believe that’s in there now. It’ll be assessed like everyone else. Now, it goes through a length of time where the department looks at it.”
The Premier acknowledged Horne’s consistent stance with the residents of the community in opposition to the quarry.
“I know Bill has been very strong in his standing with the community opposed to that quarry, but there’s a process that it goes through and, like the ones in my riding and everywhere else across the province, I have to stay out of them,” said McNeil.
He said NSE staff will now review the file and make a decision, as they do with all quarries across Nova Scotia.
Here’s how they responded:
NDP Trevor Sanipass said his position is always with the people.
“There are lots of people opposing this issue. I’ve mentioned before that I’m all about the environment,” said Sanipass on May 4. “I was brought up to respect and honour our environment, whether that be land, air, or water, and water’s really important. I have family and friends who are water protectors, meaning they protect the water from any harm.”
He said he had spoken to many people on the subject. He got the feeling that current MLA, Bill Horne, has somewhat of a weak voice in government on this issue.
“However, I have a strong voice, and a strong stand on this,” said Sanipass. “If it’s not properly consulted with the people, and it is not, this rock quarry doesn’t belong there.
“The people of this riding should be able to dictate what goes in and out of this community, not one person.”
(The video with the above comments could not be posted to our YouTube channel).
PC Dan McNaughton said it’s not a simple question to answer if he’s for or against the quarry.
“I am for economic development, however not at the expense of the environment,” he said. “This quarry has been subject to four years of review and appeals, and it still hasn’t been approved.
“I would not support any project that will have a detrimental effect that is not mitigable on the environment. I would not support any project that cannot mitigate the safety risks, nor would a Progressive Conservative government.
McNaughton said if the project was found to have safety issues that are not able to be mitigated to within the law or environmental issues that are not able to be mitigated to within the law, it won’t be approved.
“I won’t support anything that is going to be dangerous or detrimental to the point where it was unacceptable to the environment,” said McNaughton in his video response. “However, to take a philosophical stance against it, and say “yes I’m against it” is not the answer. I think the answer is to work with people within government, the decision makers, to make sure the decisions they make are science base, evidence based, and based with the best interest of the environment involved.
He said a Jamie Baillie government would not support a project that is found to be outside of those parameters.
“We’re going to review the regulatory requirements on sustainable resource development, and if they’re found to be wanting in any way they will be changed,” he said. “We will also conduct another review.
“The proponent of this project will be required to update a Jamie Baillie government on all of the things that they have done, and if there’s anything outside of the law or there’s been political interference it will be the subject of the most deepest scrutiny.”
Anthony Edmonds, the Green Party candidate for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank, said he is against the quarry.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said, noting he would explain why. “In terms of fallout from that quarry, things that would affect in the community, they’re too numerous to name. I won’t even begin to try. The evidence is pretty strongly stacked against it.
“People tend to think the Green Party that we’re a one party issue and all about the environment. But we’re not. I’m the first to tell people I’m not a tree hugger. I don’t even classify myself an environmentalist, but we need to do things sustain-ably. I want to have children. I want them to grow and have a good lifestyle. That means making smart decisions and doing things the right way, at the right time, and in the right place. It means not making decisions on politics, but evidence.”
He said when it comes to the quarry it has upset so many people, it’s made the news cycle so much because it’s such a bad idea, and it seems to be continuing on.
“In my mind it’s gone beyond being a boondoggle, but a poster child for influence of big business on our government and everything that is wrong with Nova Scotia politics,” said Edmonds. “It’s the epitome of regulatory capture. I think it should not be approved not because I don’t want it in my backyard, and it’s only a few kilometres away from my home, but because there are so many other places in Nova Scotia we can have a quarry. It shouldn’t even be a question.
“It should have come to the point where they asked for regulatory approval, it was rejected on the basis of good evidence and the developer probably would have shrugged and said “oh well, fine I’ll just go find somewhere else” because there are so many other places.
Believing a quarry is needed in this location is “nonsense” said Edmonds.
“It speaks to the extent which our government, and I hate to be too critical, is a little bit arrogant in their fallacies and think people aren’t just going to question them,” he said. “People are smart and educated.
“I think this is a perfect example of in the information age you can’t suppress the information like you could even 20 years ago. The people have spoken. “
Edmonds said like some others, he too didn’t understand what the issue was when he first heard about it.
“I looked into it and the evidence is so astounding. It shouldn’t be built in the Aerotech Business Park, that’s just bad economics,” he said. “Secondly, it’s far too close to the airport. There are signed statements from businesses in the Aerotech Park saying it would interfere with their business.
“We’re throwing huge multi-million dollar business that employ hundreds of individuals , and throwing that under the bus so we can get some rock out of the ground.”
He said N.S. is one big rock so they can find it somewhere else.
“To me it’s an open and shut case, and the simple fact that it continues to exist as an issue in our province and district,” said Edmonds, “it just goes to show how little our government listens to its people.”
Liberal incumbent Bill Horne remains steadfast in opposition—on the side of the community—that the quarry should not be put in at the proposed location.
“I have told the residents against the quarry that I am supporting them, and I will support them against the government if they try to put a quarry out there,” said Horne. “I know that doesn’t go very well for me with the Premier I’m sure, but it’s not the Premier’s decision it’s the Minister of Environment.”
He added he had not talked with Minister of Environment Margaret Miller—before the writ dropped for the election—about the topic.
“I haven’t talked a lot with her because I feel I’m not getting anywhere with her but I’m sure we can work that out.”