Mount Uniacke residents say they are concerned about plans to expand a local four-hectare quarry they never wanted in their community.
Stephen Marsh has lived at Mount Uniacke for over 50 years and was one of the residents who opposed the construction of the original quarry in 2015. The quarry, which is owned by Northumberland Capital Corporation Inc. and produces aggregate for construction and infrastructure projects, got the green light the same year. Marsh said the community appealed against this decision, but lost the call
Tonight at 6 p.m., NCCI is hosting an open house at the Mount Uniacke Fire Hall as part of the provincial environmental assessment process for the proposed expansion project. Marsh said he and other residents plan to be there to voice concerns about the proposed expansion. If the expansion is approved, the size of the quarry will increase from its current four hectares to 40 hectares.
Marsh said community concerns about the quarry in 2015 included how it would affect a number of area watersheds and residents’ well water. He said those concerns remain about the proposed expansion.
“It was a major issue and it remains that way,” Marsh said. “Our community as a whole doesn’t want to have a massive 10x career expansion that’s on offer from the current one. We didn’t want the first one, truth be told.
“A massive expansion like this, from four hectares to 40, is huge,” Marsh said. “The fallout issues are only being considered now.”
Marsh said there are other concerns with the proposed expansion, including excessive noise, dust, increased truck traffic in the area and through the community near schools and a skate park. park. Marsh said the community was also concerned about damage to local roads.
Marsh said the community was not made aware of the proposed expansion until late April, when members of a Community Liaison Committee (CLC) received a letter about the proposed expansion. Marsh said the NCCI was tasked with forming the CLC, but he said the company failed to honor its requirement to hold CLC meetings at least twice a year.
“As far as we know, the public at Mount Uniacke was not informed in a clear and easy way,” Marsh said. “They gave us the two-week window, which is the minimum they’re allowed to. If you’re not trying to hide something, then why don’t you let the public know well in advance? They just did the bare minimum.
Marsh said the community is trying to publicize the reunion and is offering expansion through social media and signs in the community. Other residents have expressed concerns about the proposed expansion on a community Facebook page.
“We asked what their intentions were every year, starting in 2015, and there was never an intention to grow more than they already were,” Marsh said.
Damon Conrad, coordinator of the Sackville Rivers Association, is a member of the CLC. He said he had heard little publicly about the proposed quarry expansion and had contacted NCCI in late April for more details, but had not heard back.
Conrad said the association has always worried about how the quarry could potentially contaminate the Sackville River.
“The quarry is actually just up the Sackville River watershed, just above the headwater wetland,” Conrad said. “Our concern is runoff. Any surface runoff would be runoff, silt, or anything else in the runoff that might come from the quarry and reach the upstream river or wetland.
Conrad, who will be at the open house tonight, said the association is also concerned about the cutting of trees, which could increase runoff. He said the association can’t say if the current quarry has affected the river because it doesn’t have the capacity to do a lot of testing.
“There is a possibility of impacts, or additional impacts, with career expansion, but I don’t know enough about the proposed expansion to comment,” he said.
The Halifax Examiner contacted Andrew Rodgers, CEO of NCCI, to ask about the proposed expansion of the quarry, but received no response. We’ll share an update here when we get back.
Marsh said he wanted to know why the career was even asking for an expansion.
“It’s not benefiting the local community,” Marsh said. “These trucks don’t stop here to buy gas or groceries. There is no substantial monetary gain for business people here.
“It’s going to be long term. We are looking at 20, 30, 40 years from that.
The open house on the proposed quarry expansion will be held tonight at 6 p.m. at the Mount Uniacke Fire Station.
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