The province has dismissed three appeals against a controversial quarry operation in the Fall River area outside Halifax.
According to Nova Scotia’s Department of Environment, the decision means Scotian Materials Ltd. (SML) can continue work on a 3.9-hectare quarry in an industrial area on Perrin Drive.
“I don’t know that we’re surprised,” said Stacey Rudderham, an appellant in one of the appeals.
“The government seems to be intent on putting this quarry in no matter what.”
Rudderham was not aware the province’s decision had been made until she was contacted by Global News.
The project initially received environmental approval on June 19, which prompted three groups to file appeals of the decision.
On Friday afternoon, the province said acting environment minister, Leo Glavine, has found that department staff followed the appropriate processes in issuing the industrial approval.
Among the concerns voiced by area residents, was the potential for contamination of drinking water.
Opponents of the project wanted a full environmental assessment to prove there was no adverse effect on downstream water quality.
In response, Glavine found there was no proof that the Soldier and Miller Lakes watershed is a source of drinking water.
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“In review of the hydrological information, groundwater flowing from the SML quarry site is to the south and southwest away from residential areas,” said Glavine in his decision.
“Soldier and Miller Lakes are not protected areas; however, the adjacent Lake Major Watershed is and does provide potable water to thousands of residents. This watershed however is outside of the drainage area for SML, therefore an impact on the surface water of this watershed is not possible.”
Rudderham says her group, Stop the Fall River Quarry, will not be giving up their fight against the project.
“We have to get together as a group and discuss it and figure out the next step, which would be to appeal the minister’s decision,” she said.
Environment Minister Iain Rankin excluded himself from the decision in order to eliminate the perception of a conflict of interest because he worked with the president of SLM during his work in the private sector before he was elected.