Asphalt plant gets approval from HRM

MILLER LAKE WEST: HRM has approved the application for an asphalt plant and concrete plant at the site of the proposed Fall River Quarry in Miller Lake West.

The approval for the Scotian Materials project was released on June 28, although the information provided to Councillor Steve Streatch indicates that approval for a development permit was issued on March 9.

Following the graduation ceremony at Halifax Forum that night for Lockview High, Streatch spoke to The Laker about the approval.

“This obviously is something that a lot of people will be disappointed by, and I can understand that,” said Streatch. “I share their frustration. I was very hopeful that this would have the opportunity to go before the public as it relates to consultation, but staff have ruled it is in compliance and indeed as-of-right, and they have made the approval.

“Unfortunately, that is the current status.”

According to HRM’s Kelly Denty, the issuance of the Development Permit confirms the proposal’s compliance with the requirements of the Land Use By-law for Planning Districts 14 and 17. The HRM Charter provides the authority for this process and does not provide for an appeal of an issued permit by an aggrieved person as it does for decisions made by Council relative to planning approvals such as rezonings or development agreements. An affected individual who has concerns about the process or the reasonableness of the decision to issue a permit is entitled to seek a judicial review of the matter.

“Prior to undertaking any construction activity on the site, the proponent is responsible for obtaining all necessary permits, including those required by NS Environment,” said Denty, Manager Current Planning with the Planning and Development department.

Streatch said his understanding is that the permit was issued, but before anything could happen the quarry itself had to be approved by NSE.

“Otherwise it would be moot point, you can’t manufacture asphalt without rocks and gravel,” he said. “When that approval was made by the province, then staff brought the information forward and that’s what we’re dealing with today.”

He said he was contacted by a few people wondering about the asphalt plant, and now HRM is letting them know where things stand.

Streatch said the residents can’t appeal the staff decision, but can ask for a judicial review.

“The law is the law, and no one is above the law,” he said. “This was a staff decision and my understanding is it is not appeal-able. There is the opportunity for a judicial review if people were motivated to do so.”

He wouldn’t call it the final nail in the residents fight against the quarry.

“This is news that I know won’t be welcomed by a lot of people,” he said. “It will only add insult to injury as it relates to the approval of the larger application, which was the quarry.”

Meanwhile, Stacey Rudderham with the Stop the Fall River Quarry group confirmed that they will be appealing the decision of the province to approve the industrial permit to Scotian Materials. Environment Minister Iain Rankin has told other media he will not be hearing the appeal himself as he has ties to Rob MacPherson, Scotian Materials president.