Issue: July 2024
Uniacke Newsletter Logo
Next deadline: August 26

LETTER FROM MEH TO ALLISON FITZPATRICK, ENVIRONMENT ASSESSMENT BRANCH DOE AND CLIMATE CHANGE / QUARRY

September 22, 2023

Allison Fitzpatrick Environmental Assessment Branch Department of Environment and Climate Change PO Box 442 Halifax, NS B3J 2P8

Dear Ms. Fitzpatrick:

Thank you for the opportunity to review the Mount Uniacke Quarry Expansion project documents. East Hants is opposed to the Mount Uniacke Quarry Expansion for reasons described in the following comments:

TRAFFIC Increased truck traffic is a concern that has been identified by residents of Mount Uniacke. East Hants Council shares their concerns about the impact that truck traffic may have on a growing community. Although development is not currently proposed for the Uniacke Mines Road area, staff have been in discussions with property owners with frontage on both Uniacke Mines Road and Old Mines Road regarding extensive future development.

Between the 2016 and the 2021 Census period the Mount Uniacke and surrounding communities experienced a 5.3% growth rate. This trend is expected to continue as the Municipality has had significant development interest in the area. Increased residential growth will increase traffic moving throughout the community, which has the potential to conflict with truck traffic. In order to address future growth in the area, East Hants will be undertaking a secondary planning strategy to help direct future growth.

East Hants has received complaints related to the speed of trucks leaving the quarry. Safe driving practices should be discussed with truck drivers and the company should be held responsible for ensuring that haulers treat our roads and communities with respect.

Dust has also been identified by residents as a concern. Dust is being generated from trucks accessing the Uniacke Mines Road and from the aggregate that is being hauled by the trucks. Residents have indicated that layers of dust cover their lawns, homes, heat pumps and cars and it is interfering with the enjoyment of their properties.

BLASTING - Blasting can be felt well beyond the 1km buffer radius of the study. Many residents have complained to their Councillor of the blasting shaking their homes and rattling their dishes. Residents have also indicated that the blasting can be felt as far away as the Uniacke District School.

As mentioned previously, the community of Mount Uniacke and the surrounding area are steadily growing. As the size of the quarry grows, so will the surrounding community and the impacts blasting will have on those who choose to live in the community. Mount Uniacke is a bedroom community to Halifax and those residents who choose to live in the community do so to enjoy the quiet and rural feel of the community.

SURFACE WATER East Hants acknowledges that under the Industrial Approval monitoring is required to ensure that water exiting the quarry settling pond meets the specified water quality parameter, however, as the size of the quarry increases and more extreme weather events take place, East Hants has concerns with the accuracy and timeliness of the testing. Are there plans in place to address extreme rainfall events? Are the settling ponds designed for a 1 in 100 year rainfall event? How did the settling ponds fair during this summer's rain events and has an inspection of the settling ponds taken place to ensure there is no damage? Will the size or number of settling ponds increase with the expansion of the quarry? Contamination of the headwaters of the Sackville River is a concern for Countil, as over 300 acres of the headwaters are owned by East Hants.

NOISE With increasing development in the Mount Uniacke area and an increase in the quarry size, staff expect that there may be increased noise-related complaints concerning future blasting. Council understands that blasting has to take place at the quarry site but would encourage the Mount Uniacke Quarry to continue to be mindful of when the blasting takes place and the impact that it may have on residents in the area.

LAND USE BY-LAW REGULATIONS although pits and quarries are regulated by the Provincial Government, any structures associated with the expansion of the Mount Uniacke Quarry are required to be compliant with the East Hants Land Use Bylaw and the National Building Code. The Mount Uniacke Quarry land (PID 45409950) is zoned Rural Use (RU) Zone, which requires that any structure closer than 1km from the nearest non-resource related structure requires a Development Agreement and that any structure farther than 1km from the nearest non-resource related structure only requires a development / building permit. The proponent should contact the Municipality prior to the siting of any structure to determine the applicable regulations.

East Hants Council has discussed the impacts that the quarry expansion will have on Mount Uniacke and are asking that Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change not approve the project. Major community changes are expected as growth continues and a timeline of 30 to 50 years for the quarry to be operating is unacceptable and the expansion must not proceed under the current parameters.

Please contact the undersigned at 902-883-6120 if more information is required from the Municipality in the evaluation of the Environmental Assessment.

Sincerely,

John Woodford, MCIP, LPP Director of Planning and Development