Tantallon residents voice opposition to Scotian Materials plant bid
Pollution, noise, traffic among community's major concerns
About 500 Tantallon-area residents packed the St. Margarets Bay Centre on Monday night for a public meeting about a proposed asphalt plant in their community.
Pollution, noise and diminished property values were big concerns among those who attended the meeting, many who live in the Westwood subdivision which is approximately three kilometres from the site.
There were plenty of people holding signs that clearly stated they don't want an asphalt plant which Scotian Materials wants to build.
Halifax senior planner Andrew Bone told the meeting the plant proposal is still in the early phase. Area bylaws would have to be changed before it could be approved.
But home and business owners who spoke at the meeting appeared to be firmly opposed to the proposal.
'It's our health'
Resident John Hamblin said an industrial development is inappropriate for the area.
"I'm not really that interested in whether the amendment is for an asphalt plant, a nuclear reactor or anything else. The fact is that I moved to Nova Scotia 10 years ago, and moved into this community because it is a pristine area with lots of beautiful property and land and is not an industrial site."
As each person approached the microphone, many said they were concerned about the plant's proximity to homes.
"There's no promise that there's not going to be side effects in the future and it's our health, it's our environment and it's nothing you can tamper with" Amy Johnson said.
Rhonda Larson agreed. "It's such a beautiful place: the views, the waterways, a lot of people go boating. I don't want to see that ruined."
The site is close to Little Indian Lake. There's already a quarry at the location which belongs to Scotian Materials.
Scotian Materials president Robert MacPherson said he was listening carefully to the residents' concerns.
"If these concerns and issues are going to be a reality and they're actually going to occur, then this won't be the place for an asphalt plant then we probably won't do it here. We'll withdraw our application."
But he said the average predicted noise from the plant would be below 20 decibels, "quiet library level", and the company would have pollution prevention measures.
"If the issues can be addressed to their satisfaction...I would hope I would be awarded the same opportunity to move my business forward."
At least one person in the crowd was in favour of the project.
"You want to pave your driveway, you're going to get a cheaper price because you're not hauling it from way over in Bedford," said Francis White of Fall River.
Last year, a temporary asphalt plant operated in the community for a month. City staff say there were no complaints, but the local councillor, Matt Whitman, says people see this proposal differently.
He says he's received hundreds and maybe thousands of complaints.
"It's a permanent fixture and folks are concerned about fumes and noises and smells and dangerous chemicals, so it's a different scenario this year than it was last year," he said.
Municipal staff are now tasked with preparing a report including recommendations about the proposal.