GOFFS: The next step in approval for an expansion of the Miller Lake East quarry, near Goffs, took place last month when Scotian Materials held two open houses.

The open houses are part of the Environmental Assessment application process and were held to give residents an opportunity to see the plans the company has for it’s 41-hectare expansion and why they’re seeking it.

The quarry has been one that residents in the area have put up a fight against over the past six-plus years, and there’s even a Stop the Fall River quarry Facebook page.

Rob MacPherson, President of Scotian Materials, explained why the company wants to expand and what it means during an interview as the first session of the open house neared its end.

“What we’re doing is a public engagement where we have information and studies, and various consultants who can speak to those, and say what’s going to happen in the future,” he said.

He said the EA process includes a collection of environmental studies that indicate what project impacts could be; the mitigation measures that need to be taken.

MacPherson said things are taking longer than what he has seen in the industry. A lot of the studies, which get time dated, have been done over the years.

“We wanted to take advantage of the money we invested in these studies over the years and secure the approvals,” he said. “It doesn’t accelerate the project. It still moves at the same rate, but the approvals will be in place and we’ll have the certainty we can move forward when we’re ready.”

He admitted the scrutiny the project has come under from the opposition in the community against it likely has played a role in the length of time it’s taking to get things in place.

“This project has received more scrutiny than any other I’ve been involved in,” said MacPherson. “There’s a lot of history on the project.

“I think because of that history everyone involved wants to be sure there are absolutely no mistakes made, and because of that it really drives a high-level of scrutiny.”