Beyond the Open House.
We dispute nearly everything Rob MacPherson and Scotian Materials and their consultants claim in the media and in their application. They generally say we are “fear-mongering” or NIMBY’s and say they will meet all Pit and Quarry Guidelines. We’ve shown they will not meet seven out of seven guidelines. This is not fear-mongering or being NIMBY’s. They say we’re interfering, but they’ll sit down and meet with us. Rob MacPherson tells Tantallon residents if it’s not the right place for an asphalt plant, it won’t go ahead. But he continues to push forth after residents show great opposition. Rob MacPherson told residents of Fall River in May of 2014 during the only sit-down conversation, that if he could not convince Fall River the project was good for us, he would take it elsewhere. It’s been more than two years and he has only convinced us that he stretches and manipulates the facts.
We take great issue on the following claims by Scotian Materials and Rob MacPherson, but don’t forget to peruse the rest of our website where we give scientific evidence that directly contradicts the biased information given by Scotian Materials.
Lack of benefit to Nova Scotians. Scotian Materials argues they will bring employment. “Scotian Materials” looks to us like a shell company designed to look like it’s serving Nova Scotia, but it’s owned by Northern Construction out of New Brunswick and they will likely employ New Brunswick workers. Read our section on the open house to see that at least one ’employee’ of Scotian Materials works out of New Brunswick. Scotian Materials has stated they may employ a dozen employees seasonally. Existing quarries in the area are running at 50 – 60% Capacity. An additional quarry will simply spread the jobs out amongst all the quarries. Smaller quarries will be forced out, removing further competition in HRM bidding, less jobs. At some point Rob MacPherson changed his tune on the number of workers, exaggerating the number to 20-30. Other quarries this size employ 2 full time workers.
Lack of necessity. The proponent argues we need nearby aggregate sources. There are 5 quarries within a 25km zone of the site and none of them have exhausted their supply.
A climbing legal bill. Scotian Materials has been trying to get a permit since December 2011. How much have they spent in and out of court on lawyer and consultant fees to this point? How much sense does this make for one 3.9ha quarry? There must be something bigger in the works for a massive bill for one small quarry.
Lack of Coordination. The Province and HRM are literally fighting this issue out in court. Legal counsel for competitors also agree that the Appeals Court decision does NOT mean that the zoning and charter are meaningless. How much sense does it make for the Province to get involved in an issue that should be small?
Document ‘Inconsistencies’ and Misleading Statements. We have compared documents, media reports, and emails to determine what details were used when. Then we have fact checked everything we could. For example, Rob MacPherson says Scotian Materials did not excavate the wetlands. Well, Scotian Materials drove through the wetlands with an excavator or a bulldozer, or they hired someone to do so, and although they may not have dug a huge hole, they had the blade down to remove trees, stumps and vegetation, and left long deep ruts. So really, who is correct here? The guy who chooses his words carefully and circles around everything? This sounds just like the blasting issue… sure they could use urban style blasting, but they have absolutely no intentions of doing so. Why would they? It would eat up all profit. Another one: the Office of Aboriginal Affairs was notified of the plan, but in the letter it states the site “contains no water courses or wetland.” While this may technically be correct about the quarry footprint, it is misleading about details that would be particularly important to the intended reader. In direct contrast, Scotian Materials’ consultant wrote a letter that stated “3 wetlands potentially affected,” and then described a monitoring plan. Scotian Materials and Rob MacPherson choose what they want to say and when, and we have found it always benefits them, and not the interest of the public or the province. Have a look below and see if you don’t agree:
|Scotian Materials says||We have found|
|Who is proposing the quarry?||2011 – Northern Construction Enterprises applies to NSE
2014 – We are told Northern sold land to Scotian Materials, a new Nova Scotia based corporation
May 2014 – Robert MacPherson requested a meeting with residents group, told them it was a new company and it is a Nova Scotia Company
2014 – 2015 – MacPherson continues to tell residents and media it is a new Nova Scotia based company
2015 – MacPherson tells media it is his company
2016 – MacPherson submits affidavit to the Supreme Court of NS regarding his appeal of a permit revocation and states Scotian Materials Inc is Northern Construction and is Majority owned by the Belanger Family members in Grand Falls, NB.
2016 – 100% of Scotian Materials is owned by Belanger Family members (NS Supreme Court)
|2011 – Northern Construction Enterprises is a New Brunswick Company based in Grand Falls, NB
The proponent told members of the public and government departments, Minister, etc the company was, new, Nova Scotia based and that he was an owner.
March 2014 – NS Registry of Joint Stocks confirms, Northern Construction changed their name to Scotian Materials in Nova Scotia
Robert MacPherson is a consultant who has been working with Northern Construction since at least October 2013 (He was involved in the East River Proposal and was in attendance at their community meeting)
2015 – Registry of Joint Stocks continues to list Belanger family members in Grand Falls, NB in the director listings.
2016 – Proponent finds it necessary to admit Scotian Materials Inc is Northern Construction Inc with a new name. He also admits it is majority owned by the Belanger Family in NB.
|public consultation||December 2011 – a small ad was placed in the Chronicle Herald a few days before Christmas advising of the proposed quarry, giving a date for an open house and requesting public comments
July 2012 – A public bulletin was sent to every home in Miller Lake West.
September 2015 – Proponent claims public consultation occurred and refers to notice and open house in December 2011.
December 2015 – Scotian Materials places an ad requesting public comments on proposed quarry.
January 2016 – Scotian Materials holds an open house for the public.
|December 2011 – One person saw the ad once and advised a few key members of the community.
January 2012 – Announcements had circulated enough that homeowners associations and community groups were reaching out to residents, a public meeting was held and letters were sent in to the Minister of Environment. Some with 2 days notice.
July 2012 – No resident in Miller Lake West subdivision ever saw a brochure
September 2015 – Residents never received responses to their letters in 2012, new homes are built since 2012, new issues have arisen since 2012
December 2015 to January 2016 – Area residents submit their letters of concern
January 2016 – Members of the public attended the open house, but really were only able to go during one evening session due to work schedules and a snow storm.
|size||under 4 hectares||more than 8 hectares (quarry footprint is 3.9ha but the plant/extractive facilities and roadway were legally determined to require inclusion and thus create an 8.4ha footprint)|
|Anticipated volume (2011)||1 million metric tonnes/year||this volume would require 24-32 hectares without going below the water table|
|Anticipated volume (2016)||200,000 tonnes/year with limited periods of increased production possible||based on the above figure, this volume is still above what the 3.99ha quarry can provide above the water table|
|Distance from pipeline||190m (letter to resident signed by proponent January 25, 2016)||201m|
|Distance from nearest residence||1.5km to “closest domestic well” (letter to resident January 25 2016)||1.270km to property line|
|Distance to Waverley Game Sanctuary||600m||1032m|
|Distance from highway 102||300m, 315m||317m|
|Distance from airport||“4+/-km” (Scotian website, for public)
(Golder report, private, says 3km)
|3.547km from edge of quarry to edge of runway|
|Height of fly rock||84m (2015 application)
17.1m (Chronicle Herald, Feb 5, 2016)
|350m (Dr. Favreau’s report)|
|Location of extractive facility||Extractive facilities will be located in the 3.99ha footprint (Chronicle Herald, Feb 5, 2016)||Not only did we show that including the extractive facility creates an 8.4 ha quarry, we also question the location; illustration currently on website shows extractive facility located at Maritime Fence facilities on Perrin Dr). Furthermore it is approximately .5km closer to the runway, and 200m closer to the centre of the approach surface for runway 05. The extractive facility will create a dust plume, the height of which cannot be determined, which will interfere with aviation navigation.|
|Distance from highway scales||911.8m
(proponent stated in email Sept 9, 2015 to NSE)
“no structures within 800m” (from website and signed letter to resident)
|Vibrations caused||within the Pit and Quarry guidelines||8x the maximum allowable limit as per the Pit and Quarry guidelines|
|Anticipated volume per blast (2016)||50,000 tonnes||our expert suggests
more than 50,000 tonnes is likely due to being more economical
|Number of blasts||1,000,000 tonnes (2011 application) and 30-40 blasts per year or more (stated by proponent) this is equivalent to 25,000-33,000 tonnes per blast||Based on the more likely figure of 50,000 tonnes per blast or more:
125,000 tonnes (June 2015 application) = 3 blasts per year or more
200,000 tonnes (May 2015) = 4 blasts per year or more
Letter to resident (Jan 2016) = 3 initial blasts then 4 times per year
It appears the proponent plans to produce more aggregate than the footprint will allow above the water table.
|Structures within 800m?||No. As of January 28, 2016 their website and their 2015 application shows no structures other than Maritime Fence within 800m. The application uses the word “dwelling” instead of structures. A signed letter from the proponent in January 2016 to a resident states “Other than buildings owned by the Proponent (i.e.: Maritime Fence), there are no structures within 800m of the Project.”||The pipeline, highway scales.|
|Setback required from pipeline||30m
(2015 application, 2016 public consultation)
|800m or more
(30m is the setback required for blasting for construction purposes, not quarrying)
|The dust control method||it’s more than a theoretical model||they can’t name a quarry where this method is used and they don’t use it at any of their operating quarries. They have not provided proof of the efficacy of the method.|
|Quarrying below the water table||no current plan to do so; not “expected” to do so||because of the restrictions in the land owned by the proponent, mostly due to waterways, and the fact that a 10 year approval was given at 200,000 tonnes/year it appears very likely that quarrying below the water table will the only way to obtain the amount of aggregate they anticipate quarrying, and the only way to obtain maximum profit.|
|Whose approval is needed considering the proximity to the airport?||NavCanada. However, their 2015 application stated clearly that no outside approvals were submitted. The NavCan letter was dated (Sept 24, 2015) after the date of the permit issuance on September 15, 2015. Correspondence from NSE to NavCanada requests the application be kept within their government departments.||NavCanada, HIAA for aircraft safety and land use planning.|
|What other approvals could be required?||Nova Scotia Environment||Letters of Consent from TIR and Maritimes Northeast or the owners of the Pipeline.
Wetland Alteration and/or Environmental Assessment
|Is there a blasting plan?||On May 29, 2015, a blasting plan submitted with the application and in the application it is referred to as what will be “typical.”
On January 5, 2016, the proponent’s lawyer advised they do not have a blasting plan.
At the January 2016 public consultation, blasting “expert” Paul Caza stated urban blasting methods would not be used.
On February 5, 2016, the proponent stated they could do New York city style blasts (no promises made).
FOIPOP of January 2016 application resulted in our knowledge of a new blast plan and blasting contractor.
|When the blasting plan changes, it not only affects our expert’s calculations but also may affect the decisions of Environment, NavCanada, First Nations consultation, public consultation|
|Public consultation?||Scotian Materials submitted a brochure with their 2015 application.||We are not aware of this brochure having been delivered. No residents surveyed have received the brochure.
There were 2 open houses held in January 2016.
|Location of wetlands?||Application says wet areas are outside of 30 metre buffer, no water ways.
Applicants’ expert report details studies, observations and plans for waterways and wetlands located on property.
|Several drawings provided by Scotian Materials in applications and online, show numerous versions of the shape and location of wetlands. Two waterways run through the property. New quarry plot is surrounded by water and wetlands. Required 30m buffers have not been maintained.|
|Sensitive area?||Reports submitted with the application by Scotian Materials’ consultant, Golder Associates, identify that the site is in close proximity to wetlands, 600m from the Waverley Game Sanctuary, and that it is within the Shubenacadie Watershed area.||The application indicates Scotian Materials did not identify the land as being in a sensitive area. NSE accepted this.|
|Number of jobs created||Applications state 8-12 seasonal jobs.
Global News February 5, 2016 Rob MacPherson of Scotian Materials stated, “It wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect within a year to two years to have 30-40 permanent full time local jobs.”
|Estimate of $35,000/year salary + 11% owner’s expenses for 30-40 employees = $1,165,000 – 1,554,000 (payroll expenses only)
Estimated gross sales based on 200,000 tonnes, $250 per tandem load of 16 tons = $3,125,000.
Gross profit $1,959,500. But, will need to pay legal fees, building, heavy equipment, blasters, consultants, insurance, fuel, safety supplies, environmental protection supplies, blasting & certified blasters, and trucking. If they disturb the wetlands or water, they will owe compensation that has been promised.
Based on “New York City”/urban blasts, at 4 blasts per year, which may yield 20,000 tonnes per blast for a total of 80,000 tonnes. This would create $1,250,000 in gross revenue, which is not enough to cover much beyond payroll expenses of 30 employees.
|Shape of footprint||No shape was depicted on the original documents submitted to NSE in 2011. The quarry was portrayed as an asterisk “*”.
5-sided polygon extending westward toward Highway 102 (2011 application)
5-sided polygon extending westward toward Highway 102 (2015 application)
7-sided polygon with the longest side parallel to Highway 102 and extending towards Miller Lake West (2015 measurements stayed the same but footprint shape changed at some point before the permit was issued)
|The measurements given by Scotian Materials from various landmarks make the footprint impossible and we suspect they are intended to create the appearance of compliance with various regulations. In order to achieve acceptable distances from one landmark, Scotian Materials nullified other measurements in their plotting.|
|Location of quarry||With every change in shape, the distances changed from various landmarks.||Distances were not changed, in fact coordinates stayed the same until the third application.|