Stacey Rudderham, one of the voices of the Stop the Fall River quarry group, speaks during the campaign rally for Trevor Sanipass and announcement of the NDP’s Environmental Bill of Rights by Leader Gary Burrill on May 20. (Healey photo)

MILLER LAKE WEST: NDP Leader Gary Burrill is supporting local candidate Trevor Sanipass and his stance against the Fall River Quarry.

In our question-and-answer sit-down with Sanipass, representing Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank, early on in the election campaign he said he was brought up to respect and to honour the environment, whether that be land, air, or water.

“I have family and friends who are water protectors, meaning they protect the water from any harm,” he said.

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.”

Following Burrill’s announcement on May 20 of the NDP’s Environmental Bill of Rights with the quarry site within eye shot, The Laker asked Burrill if an NDP government were to be elected May 30 if they would kibosh the proposed Fall River Quarry.

“Yes,” he said. “This is a position our candidate Trevor Sanipass has taken and I’m very proud to stand with him in this position.”

NDP Leader Gary Burrill speaks about the party’s Environmental Bill of Rights with the site of the proposed Fall River Quarry in the background. (Healey photo)

He explained why they chose the end of Perrin Drive where the proposed quarry site is located to make the announcement of the party’s Environmental Bill of Rights.

“At the core of the Bill of Rights is when citizens want to take part in decision making around the environment, they should have all the means to do so,” he said. “An activist group, like the Stop the Quarry group, needs to have access to every piece of government information, every piece of government application, not as a privilege extended to them by a bureaucrat somewhere but as a matter of right that is enshrined in the laws of the province.

“An Environmental Bill of Rights is very much at the core of the work of citizens group of this sort.”

A decision from Nova Scotia Environment (NSE) on the Fall River quarry application could come before the May 30 election or shortly after. NSE has until June 17 to make a decision in the 60-day window once an application begins to be reviewed.

Stacey Rudderham of the Stop the Fall River Quarry group speaks as Hants East NDP candidate Liam Crouse listens. (Healey photo)

“That’s taking us down a road of ifs,” said Burrill. “One thing I’ve learned in the middle of an election campaign, don’t go very far down the road of ifs. It’s probably not useful to speculate about that, but our position otherwise is clear.

“The core of our position, when any decision is made, the number one thing that is required is 100 per cent absolute consultation with the community.

“We think that’s what’s been lacking, and under an NDP government people can be assured that this is going to be at the top of the list.”