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A project from hell

Alton Gas not welcome, local residents tell MLAs

by Robert Devet

A local high school auditorium is filled to the rafters. Residents organized a town hall meeting on the risks of the Alton Gas project to local communities and the ecological integrity of Shubenacadie River. Photo Robert Devet
A local high school auditorium is filled to the rafters. Residents organized a town hall meeting on the risks of the Alton Gas project to local communities and the ecological integrity of Shubenacadie River. Photo Robert Devet
Local MLAs Lenore Zann (NDP) and Larry Harrison (PC) listen to the many speakers against the project.  To the right is Colin Hawkes, one of the organizers of the event. Photo Robert Devet
Local MLAs Lenore Zann (NDP) and Larry Harrison (PC) listen to the many speakers against the project. To the right is Colin Hawkes, one of the organizers of the event. Photo Robert Devet

(K'JIPUKTUK) HALIFAX – Speaker after speaker at a town hall meeting held at the South Colchester Academy in Brookfield this Sunday told Alton Gas to please just go away.

“When you live next to a project from hell, then you find yourself living in hell,” local resident Deborah Munro told about 120 attendants.

Earlier this year Alton Gas started construction on three planned underground caverns to store liquid natural gas. Each cavern is about the size of a 30-storey office building. Ultimately there may be as many as sixteen caverns.

Local residents have been raising concerns primarily about safety, but also about increased traffic, decreased property values, a flawed approval process, and non-stop noise during construction.

Just last month gas stored in underground caverns in Saskatchewan caught fire and caused a massive inferno that burned for six days.

Feeling ignored by all levels of government, local residents blocked the Alton Gas entrance to the construction site in late October.

Alton Gas claims that local residents were consulted, but speaker after speaker mentioned their surprise when trucks showed up and work started earlier this year.

“We were not informed,” said Patty Elliott, who lives near the construction site. “They wanted a well sample, they were doing work in the neighborhood, that's what we were told.”

Equally controversial are Alton Gas' plans to dump large amounts of construction-generated salty brine into the Shubenacadie River.

While construction of the caverns continues unabated, the provincial government has put a temporary stop to the river site construction, where the brine is to enter the river.

Members of the nearby Mi'kmaq community of Indian Brook First Nation were not adequately consulted by the company, the government said in explanation of its stop-work order.

Cheryl Maloney, president of Nova Scotia Native Women Association, stems from Indian Brook and currently lives in Shubenacadie.

She has been one of the main spokespersons for the Mi'kmaq resistance to the project. 

“I watch that river every day,” said Maloney, “it is such a magnificent beautiful part of where we come from. And that's why I am concerned about the amount of brine that Alton wants to dump into the river.”

“If we lose that river then there is no amount of money in the world that can bring it back,” she said.

Paul Stephenson, president of the Striped Bass Association, agrees.

The Shubenacadie- Stewiacke watershed is the only remaining confirmed spawning habitat for the Striped Bass, he said, and risks of the brine dump are not sufficiently understood.

Among the attendants were local MLAs Lenore Zann and Larry Harrison. They listened attentively, but were not asked to respond at this time.

Colin Hawkes, a local business owner and one of the organizers of the event, had the last word.

“As Nova Scotians have we not spent enough time and money cleaning up after businesses and bad investments,” he asked.

“Should we continue to go along with ideas without making absolute sure of what the consequences might be, and leave our future generations to deal with our continued mistakes?”

 

Facebook groups for more information and future actions:

Mikmaq Nation Says No to Brine Waste in Shubie or Stewiacke Rivers

Stop Alton Gas

Follow Robert Devet on Twitter @DevetRobert

 


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Topics: Environment
533 words

Comments

These kinds of projects have

These kinds of projects have to setup far from the population. Their can be many causalities happen. There is an incident happened in India a place named Bhopal. Where leakage of Mithyl Isocyanate from union carbide factory. Which results into about 50000 deaths and more than half million injured. These things have to avoided to keep peoples safe.

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