Wetlands. They filter our water. They provide habitat for wildlife. They serve important functions and save the government billions of dollars. For those reasons, legislation protects them.
Except when it doesn’t.
The aerial photo above was commissioned by the Stop the Fall River Quarry community group. It was taken in May of 2016. It shows the work that Scotian Materials did to clear the footprint, supposedly during the short period in which they had an industrial approval. The wet areas labeled B and C were delineated wetlands that Scotian Materials stated they would have minimum 30m setbacks to so that they would not be negatively affected. Scotian Materials said they were monitoring these wetlands.
These wetlands were treed areas from 1964 to July of 2015 and were described as mixed forest and marsh type wetland habitats. Before Scotian Materials was issued an industrial approval for the Fall River Quarry (what they now refer to as Goffs Quarry) in 2015, they cleared these wet areas of trees and vegetation using heavy equipment. The bulldozer and/or excavator left deep ruts, soil disturbance, and soil compacting in the wetland areas along their full length. The water sits in rutted channels now.
One of our residents reported this to Nova Scotia Environment. She was expecting to be treated as a steward of the environment and thanked for her citizen science.
The opposite has occurred. The Minister of Environment, Margaret Miller, has issued a statement that what took place in these wetlands was the allowed activity of “tree harvesting.” We responded with an open letter, here, and MLA Andrew Younger also submitted photographs and asked the Minister of Environment about this in the legislature on May 17, 2016. Her response was less than satisfactory, citing she would look at it on appeal. On appeal of what? Do we assume the quarry approval is a foregone conclusion and wetland destruction will only be looked at after the fact?
We are continuing to work on this and piece together what we think has gone on behind the scenes and continue to wonder how it is that we, Nova Scotian concerned citizens and tax-payers, have developed an adversarial relationship with Nova Scotia Environment, who appears at every corner to be aligned with a company that we believe hasn’t even made any money yet, so couldn’t be much of a tax payer… Scotian Materials.
Member of the Nova Scotia Road Builder’s Association Robert MacPherson. Scotian Materials Limited. Rob MacPherson. Contact. Address: 100 Venture Run, Suite 103. Dartmouth. #scotianmaterials scotianmaterials.com scotianmaterials.info scotianmaterials.ca Halifax quarry quarries aggregate gravel #noFRquarry Scotian Materials Ltd.