Nova Scotia

Colchester County residents oppose proposed quarry expansion

Irving-owned Osco Aggregates wants to buy 30 hectares of land in Glenholme, N.S., to excavate sand and gravel. Little Dyke Lake residents say the operation would be too close to their homes.

Property owners along Little Dyke Lake worry about noise, water table and land values

Osco Aggregate Ltd. expects to get an answer by early August about its proposal to expand quarry operations in the Glenholme area of Colchester County. (CBC)

A group of property owners along the Little Dyke Road in Glenholme, N.S., is working to prevent the expansion of a quarry in their neighbourhood.

Irving-owned Osco Aggregates Ltd. wants to buy 30 hectares of private land in the Colchester County area to excavate sand, gravel and other stone. 

Ted Jordan's home on Little Dyke Lake is about two kilometres from the existing quarry. He said he's worried about the disruption of the water table, excessive noise and heavy truck traffic.

"When we moved out here, we moved for the lifestyle," he said. 

"We didn't know that we were going to move in next door to a mine. We were here first. Doesn't that count for something?"

Effect on property values

Shawn Putnam, operations manager for Osco Aggregates, said the property his company wants to acquire is about eight times the size of the current operation.

However, he said that doesn't mean it will all be mined at the same time. A portion of the land will be excavated and refilled before the same process begins on another parcel, he explained.

Osco Aggregates operations manager Shawn Putnam says the company will work to protect the area's water table and minimize noise created by the quarry operations. (CBC)

Amy Hutt, who owns lakefront property on Little Dyke Road, said she's concerned about her property value.

"I've rerouted my life to come from Halifax and buy real estate [here]," she said.

Excavating 6 days a week

Osco hired Dillon Consulting to prepare an environmental assessment for the proposed mine. It's been registered with the Environment Department and is awaiting approval.  The company expects an answer by early August.

Residents near Little Dyke Lake are worried the water table in the area would be damaged by a proposed quarry expansion there. (CBC)

According to its application, Osco said it would protect the water quality of nearby lakes and wells by only digging within a half metre of the underground water table.

The application said the excavating is expected to occur between 12 and 14 hours a day, six days a week. It noted there is the potential for "short periods of increased operations 22-24 hours/day."

Gravel 'happens to be in this area'

Officials with Osco said residents near Little Dyke Lake would probably hear the quarry's excavators, conveyors, trucks and washing plants.

But they hope to minimize the noise by surrounding the quarry with sound barrier walls, called berms.

"We're not in control of where the sand and gravel is," Putnam said. "It happens to be in this area. We can't just go 20 miles back in the woods and dig it there because it's not there. It's here." 

Ian MacFadden, who lives at Little Dyke Lake, is part of group that wants to prevent the expansion of Osco Aggregate's quarry in its neighbourhood. (CBC)

That doesn't sit well with Ian MacFadden, who divides his time between his Halifax home and his other at Little Dyke Lake. 

"There's a lot at stake," he said. "The risk here is that this environment that you see here — this lifestyle — could be damaged forever."