Nova Scotia

Residents near Donkin mine unhappy about coal truck traffic

Trucks began hauling coal down Long Beach Road toward the Port of Sydney after the mine went into production more than a month ago.

Residents say the continuous truck traffic on narrow rural roads is dangerous

A Kameron truck hauling coal to the Port of Sydney. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

People who live near the Donkin mine want coal trucks off their road. The trucks began hauling coal to the Port of Sydney after the mine went into production more than a month ago.

"They travel up the Long Beach Road, down the Morien Highway, on to Sydney and back the same way," said Claude Peach. He's lived on Long Beach Road for more than 40 years and is four kilometres from the mine.

Trucking has increased in the last month but the mine is not up to full production. Peach said half a dozen trucks go back and forth between 7 a.m. and suppertime, six days a week.

Claude Peach, of Long Beach Road, said people are worried about the safety of walkers and children riding bikes. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

"Right now its five or six trucks, its not too bad, but it's going to get worse," he said, because production will ramp up.

Worried about children

Peach said the main concern is safety. "The children driving bicycles, a lot of people walk this road," he said.

"When you get two trucks passing one another, we've witnessed they are right on the shoulder of the road, the roads are narrow, the ditches are deep and there is nowhere for people to walk now that the trucks are there."

The councillor for the area, Amanda McDougall, said she's been fielding calls from residents with similar concerns about the trucks.

New road planned

The mine's owner, Kameron Collieries, is working with the Nova Scotia government on a plan to build a new road but it will not begin at the mine site.

Peach said trucks will still have to travel the Long Beach Road to get to the new private mine road.

In an emailed statement, Kameron Collieries said its citizen liason committee is talking with residents about their concerns. A meeting between the committee and the company has been organized for May 31 and the company will outline its plans for production and trucking.

Kameron said the company is operating within its approvals and permits for transporting coal.

One of the several trucks carrying coal from Donkin to Sydney leaves the Donkin mine. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan said he has heard the concerns of residents and will consider making changes to the plan.

"We will make investments and if there is policy changes such as routing that we can look at, we would be happy to do so."