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

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW....A NINE-PART SERIES FROM MEMBERS OF YOUR COMMUNITY. RE: STOP THE QUARRY EXPANSION

YOUR COMMUNITY IS "IN CRISIS" ......and needs your help!

REGARDING THE ROCK QUARRY owned and operated by Rogers brothers of Northumberland Capital Corp Inc. (NCCI), located off the Uniacke Mines Road seeking a ten-times larger expansion than they currently have.

With a one-way in/out access to the quarry site via the poorly built Uniacke Mines Road which is being demolished by the quarry truck traffic.....not to mention the quality of air issues it creates and road safety for motorists, pedestrians, and pets alike....it is creating an unhealthy / damaging atmosphere. A 3.99 hectare aggregate quarry was approved by the Department of Environment (NSECC) in July 2015.

PART III (January 2024) - To use another existing rock quarry, for comparison, like the one on Rocky Lake Drive, Bedford - you can't see this operation off the Uniacke Mines Road unless you're up above it in a plane. If you've ever noticed the operation in Bedford, just think about how you would feel to know there's an industrial operation like that, spread out all around you and your neighbours in your community!! At the highest point of elevation in all of Mount Uniacke, in the middle of lakes that some people draw water from for use in their homes, many enjoy summer water activities in, many fish in and wish to see the ecosystems of these waterways protected for years to come. This used to be a quiet rural setting of pristine lakes and waterways and the Headwaters of the Sackville River, where many people call home. Home to young families, empty-nesters, retirees and small businesses. This quarry operation, for all of the negatives it brings to our community, adds NOTHING to it! The trucks don't stop on their way to and from their pick-ups and drop-offs because they're in too much of a hurry to stay on schedule. If they stop anywhere to gas up or buy food, it's more likely somewhere outside of our community, in between loads. There are certainly those who would argue - how do you think the residents and taxpayers who must live around the Rocky Lake Quarry feel? Do you think they want an industrial activitiy of that size near them? We're certain many of them don't BUT Mount Uniacke isn't Bedford and we're NOT part of the HRM. We're Rural! Many of us chose to come here and stay here because it's not the HRM and we want to keep it that way! There are enough existing quarries around Mount Uniacke now to provide for construction and infrastructure needs!

On August 29, 2023, NCCI (Northumberland Capital Corp. Inc.) registered the Mount Uniacke Quarry Expansion project for an environmental assessment, in accordance with PART IV of the Environment Act. The purpose of the proposed undertaking is to expand the existing quarry from 3.99 hectares to 40 hectares to allow for the continued production and stockpiling of aggregate. The project's lifespan will be an estimated 30 to 50 years with continued production of an average of 30,000 to 50,000 tons of aggregate annually.

September 28, 2023 - that was the date to which public comments regarding the expansion project could be received by NSECC. Many were sent into NSECC, however, they are not visible to the public until a "final" decision is made by the Minister - which seems to be a moot point once any final decision has been made, doesn't it??....but NSECC clearly doesn't want the public to know what others in their community are saying in opposition to this project. DOES THAT SEEM RIGHT?

On October 6, 2023, on NSECC's website, it shows that the Minister of Environment suspended the EA (Environment Assessment) of the Mount Uniacke Quarry Expansion in accordance with Section 34(5) of the Environment Act. The exact wording is: Quote: "When the Minister is satisfied Northumberland Capital Corporation Inc. is in compliance with the Environment Act and Regulations, the E.A. Process will resume." End of quote.

The "alleged" violations were brought to their attention through collected aerial photographic evidence gather by community members - evidence dating back chronologically since the quarry's start date and given to NSECC staff during meetings with our MLA, Brad Johns and community representatives last fall - and were found serious enough to prompt the "suspension" decision by the Minister. He most likely understood that he had "no choice" at that time! There are other eye witness accounts by certain people on the inside of this, of "proven" violations of their required Community Liaison Committee (CIC), also part of the conditions of their license to operate.

Community members are hearing that it's beginning to sound like NSECC is contemplating downplaying these areas of non-compliance based on malarky the quarry operators are now feeding them as their defense. This may explain why no one has received responses to their valid inquiries since last Fall! Those community members responsible for doing NSECC's compliance monitoring work for them were "promised" by NSECC to have a "formal response" to each of the non-compliances by September and then November 2023. To date, those individuals have still NOT received any response or validation of anything. THAT SHOULD BE UNACCEPTABLE behavious by our government and yet it is very telling.

Fast forward to January 2024 - it is starting to look like this EA "suspension" was merely a stall tactic intended to "appease" and put off those in opposition. Speculation is that if NSECC leaves it set through the winter months, folks will settle down, many will forget about it and they (NSECC) will then release the "suspension" hold on the EA process in the spring and allow NCCI's plans for expansion to proceed. As it states directly from the NSECC, EA website: "The EA process will resume!". See https://novascotia.ca/nse/ea/m...

Many of you reading this may be asking yourself, "Why would NSECC staff be completely unaware of these violations?" The answer, as many community members were shocked to find out at a Firehall meeting last September, was NSECC's compliance officers "are not required" to perform annual site inspections of quarries unless, and until, public complaints are received.

Giving them something to check out! Does that sound like "responsible" compliance monitoring and governance by our government for an industrial activity such as this that exists in the centre of an already established, thriving community surrounded by pristine lakes and waterways? An industrial activity looking to expand to ten times its size of today! Based on what was just explained it should be a very concerning reality for many in our community.

We should ALL be thankful to those members of our community who had the caring, the insight and the ability to have access to an aircraft that would allow them to see, and capture "as proof", what the operators of this quarry run by NCCI, no doubt, did not expect - that any member of the public was capable of, especially feeling confident to "knowing" that the government body who licenses them does not bother to monitor or site-inspect them.

Providing they dot all their "i"s and cross all their "t"s by sumitting all of their required annual reporting, they were probably always confident they would be left to their own devices up there - believing no one to be the wiser!

A further good example of NCCI being "purposely" deceptive where this community is concerned - it has been proven through government-obtained documents that when the operator of NCCI was questioned by a staffer of NSECC back in January 2021 as to the current members of the "required" CLC (a member of the public was requesting it) and NCCI responded that "all members were the same as the original eight from 2015, with the exception of the raea Councilor". NOT TRUE!!!

The only reason NCCI mentioned the Councilor was because the staffer had asked if they'd replaced the Councilor's vacant seat yet! No doubt the inquiring member of the public relayed that the Councilor had passed away in april 2018! NCCI responded that they were just about to nominate someone at their next CLC meeting, which would have been later in 2021!

According to our CLC insider, that never happened. It was NEVER "intended" by NCCI to happen. A perfect example of how these operators tell NSECC what they "know" they want to hear in order to pacify them AND clearly it was NEVER followed up on by that same staffer because to this day, that Councilor's vacant seat has NOT been replaced. - just like the vacant seats of four others of the original eight members - had been vacant pretty much since its formation in 2015!

Also, according to the CLC insider, at all but the first meeting in May 2016, there have only been two regular members besides the NCCI staffer. A third member attended half of the meetings - in order to meet required numbers for the meetings there is required to be a minimum of six members at "all" meetings. That was NEVER the case! This has been a "blatant violation" - not alleged but proven - on the part of NCCI to serving the needs and best interests of this community, as ordered by the Minister in 2015. This has all been confirmed by one of the only two regular CLC members! We should APPLAUD this member of our community for having the courage to provide this information. We asked last Fall why NSECC doesn't appear to take this required "condition" of NCCI's Industrial Approval as seriously as their many other conditions. We've yet to receive an answer!

And now NCCI is attempting to sidestep these other "alleged" violations of their 2015 Industrial Approval by trying to get NSECC to buy the fact that these violations are justified by the operation of "another business" they operate up there! But the sad part is folks, according to our MLA in discussions with NSECC on the subject, is that they may be buying into that defence. WE ARE IN DEEP TROUBLE FOLKS IF NSECC BUYS INTO THAT!! It is for all of the reasons stated above, that community members who have been monitoring things, will not be surprised to find that NSECC is gullible enough to accept NCCI's defence of "alleged" site violations at face value. That is very alarming or this community indeed! The people of this community CANNOT ALLOW NCCI to get away with that and with using that area up there as a toxic dumping ground!

PLEASE LEND YOUR SUPPORT to this opposition if this information helped give you insight into the plight of your community.

THIS IS OUR COMMUNITY AND OUR ENVIRONMENT!!! WE NEED YOUR HELP - NOW!!!

Thank you in advance. Very concerned residents of Mount Uniacke.

(If you would please take some time to visit / follow the Newsletter's online site, you'll find there are some other insightful articles with photos (we should have the information / articles into the Newsletter ASAP). Also, there's a community Facebook group you can join to stay informed of new developments. Search "Stop the Quarry Expansion" (355 members).

For your convenience, should you wish to write to our leaders and others involved in this decision to let them know your thoughts or ask questions of your own that you may need answered, here's a list to send your email to. You can copy / paste this online version and drop right into your address box. If you don't feel comfortable including the media addresses, omit them. The most important thing is that you send support "in opposition" to the government parties involved before it's too late!!! We only include media contacts because we believe it's important for the media outlets to understand what is happening in our community!

PREMIER@novascotia.ca Minister.Environment@novascotia.ca,

Adrian.Fuller@novascotia.ca, Samantha.Robichaud@novascotia.ca, emoussa@easthants.ca, mperry@easthants.ca, mlabradjohns@gmail.com, mlahantseast@gmail.com, melissa.mlaoffice@gmail.com, ca@zachchurhill.com, claudiachendermla@gmail.com, gpns@greenpartyns.ca, Heidi.petracek@globalnews.ca, Paul.Palmeter@cbc.ca, suzanne@halifaxexaminer.ca, Luke.Ettinger@cbc.ca, Joanna@ecologyaction.ca,