MLA Megan Mitton took opposition to a proposed rock quarry in Westcock near Sackville to the floor of the New Brunswick legislature today.
During a short members’ statement, the MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar pointed out there are already quarries in the area.
“So the residents are all-too-familiar with the impacts,” Mitton said. “They are concerned for their water and air quality, their safety and the value of their properties.”
Mitton added that residents have lost wells and sustained cracks in the foundations of their houses.
“The policies that are in place do not protect the residents of rural areas,” she said. “No priority is placed on protecting local communities. We need better land-use planning policies.”
Mitton also noted that controversy over quarry development is not new to the province, but neither the previous Liberal government nor the present Progressive Conservative one have taken steps to implement better protections for local residents.
“We were promised change and I know the residents of my riding would like to see it,” she concluded.
Mitton hears residents’ concerns
Earlier during a telephone interview, Mitton said she met with Westcock, British Settlement residents yesterday to hear their concerns since she wasn’t able to attend the community meeting held last week at St. Ann’s Church Hall.
She noted the widespread opposition to the quarry with people writing letters and signing a petition against it.
“It’s not about being anti-business, but we can’t be open for business at any cost,” she said.
“One of the first things that did occur to me was what type of environmental impact assessment or other version of that would apply here,” she said, adding that she told the residents she is planning to raise the issue with the minister of environment and local government.
Mitton suggested that people who live in unincorporated local service districts or LSDs need a greater say in how they’re governed.
“Local residents, even when they stand to be really severely impacted, don’t have a lot of rights when it comes to this,” she said.
Meantime, Bowser Construction, the Sackville company proposing to open the quarry off British Settlement Road, is still not returning calls.
Bowser received conditional approval for the quarry from the Southeast Planning Review and Adjustment Committee on January 23rd.
To listen to Megan Mitton’s statement in the legislature, click on the media player below: