Friday, June 22, 2012

Querying the Quarry

The Shoal Harbour River is a relatively short river by Newfoundland standards.  It's a 19km network that captures water from Shoal Harbour Pond and Andrew’s Pond as it flows into the ocean at Random Sound.

Despite its short length, it is an important habitat for seven species of fish and it is the sole source of drinking water for the 6000 plus residents and 250 businesses of Clarenville.  Its security is vital to our town.

In recent weeks, information has surfaced that there is a proposed quarry development along the river system that Council is going to be asked to consider.  Council (and the public) had been silent on the request until the river’s conservation group; the Friends of the Shoal Harbour River (FOSHR) raised the alarm in the PACKET

This project, located at the start of the river and within approximately 500 feet of it (150 feet minimum), is deemed a “discretionary use” project meaning that Council has the right to turn down the project.  Unfortunately, listening to Council’s June 12 discussion on this it is clear that there is a lot of uncertainty as to what is proposed and where the pit is located
Click to enlarge

AMEC Environmental completed an Environmental Assessment on this project in January.  By my reading of the document, the assessment determined that with proper controls this project would be acceptable “If this is done right.” 

So essentially we’re asked to make a bet on the contractor, the weather, the equipment used and on our health and economic future.  Considering the location of the pit adjacent to Shoal Harbour Pond and the River, any dust or spill would pollute the entire river. 

So, with the facts and considering the risk involved, coupled with the fact that construction aggregate can be sourced from other more suitable sites around Clarenville, I feel that the decision to reject this is a no-brainer.  

Let’s not just hope Council feels the same way, let’s make sure they reject this proposal.  

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