Nova Scotia

Mount Uniacke residents pushing back against proposed quarry expansion

Residents in Mount Uniacke, N.S., who lost a fight in 2015 to stop the opening of a quarry in their neighbourhood now face an attempt by the owners to expand the site 10-fold.

4-hectare quarry could expand to 40 hectares if approved

Many residents in Mount Uniacke, N.S., are opposed to a proposed large expansion of this quarry. (Submitted by Cockscomb Lake Residents Association)

Residents in Mount Uniacke, N.S., who lost a fight in 2015 to stop the opening of a quarry in their neighbourhood now face an attempt by the owners to expand the site 10-fold.

The 3.99-hectare site on Uniacke Mines Road will expand to 40 hectares if Northumberland Capital Corporation Inc. gets its way.

"When they are hauling rock it's like a truck every five minutes," said Jim Sampson, who has lived on Uniacke Mines Road the majority of his life. "I'm sure we see at least 50 trucks a day coming and going."

Sampson is afraid those numbers will increase if the quarry is permitted to expand.

He said the truck traffic constantly leaves the gravel road in bad condition. The quiet and peaceful rural lifestyle he and his wife used to love about Mount Uniacke is gone.

"They're constantly kicking up dust off the road and you can't go outside," said Sampson. "You can't wash a load of clothes and hang them out because it's just a big cloud of dust."

A loaded truck pulls out of the Mount Uniacke quarry Monday afternoon. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Northumberland Capital wants to expand the quarry for the continued production and stockpiling of aggregate used in a variety of construction and infrastructure projects.

The company held an open house for neighborhood residents at the fire hall in Mount Uniacke last week. Residents said the meeting was not publicized, and those who did go said they did not get their concerns addressed.

"I think they are obligated to answer the community's questions," said Stephen Marsh, who lives in Mount Uniacke on Cockscomb Lake. "They handed out a little piece of paper to everybody asking for our comments."

CBC News reached out to Northumberland Capital by phone and email. With no reply, CBC News went to the company's office in the Burnside industrial park, where the company declined to comment on the proposed expansion.

Northumberland Capital also denied a CBC News request to take video at the quarry site. Several large trucks were seen leaving the quarry in less than an hour on Monday.

Residents say there are four quarries in the area, and they say one of them shouldn't be allowed to expand to such a massive size.

The quarry is located near the headlands of the Sackville River watershed. Residents say they are worried a large quarry expansion could impact water supplies in the area. (Submitted by Cockscomb Lake Residents Association)

Northumberland Capital still has a long way to go before it can proceed with any of its expansion plans.

Tracy Barron, a Nova Scotia Department of Environment spokesperson, said in an email that a Class 1 environmental assessment is needed for the expansion of a quarry greater than 3.99 hectares. She said the quarry operators have not yet submitted an environment assessment application for the expansion.

Engineering consultant WSP has been retained by Northumberland Capital to complete the environmental assessment.

The quarry is located near the headlands of the Sackville River watershed. Residents say they are worried an expansion could impact water supplies in the area.

That was one of many points made in a 13-page letter written by Cockscomb Lake residents John and Katheryn Smith. The letter has been sent to Northumberland Capital president Andrew Rodgers and the Department of Environment.

"We believe this very detailed letter is more than proof that 'concerns' do indeed exist and for good reasons," the letter stated. "Just as we are certain you will be receiving many more, similar concerns, in the days and weeks to come."

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