I normally publish on Thursdays, but there are tight time constraints on an important issue facing Corner Brook, so I’m writing this column double quick-time for a Monday posting.
A public consultation is a key part of the environmental assessment process. There is a project underway that requires your attention before January 29. Perhaps you’re already aware of it: a mineral exploration company wishes to drill in the vicinity of the city’s water supply.
The City of Corner Brook has received an application from Thomas Resources Inc. requesting permission to carry out mineral exploration in the Corner Brook Lake Watershed. Key fact: this is the water supply area for the Municipalities of Corner Brook, Massey Drive and Mount Moriah.
Click here for the public notice on CornerBrook.com and the original project description.
The exploration activity will consist of core drilling for signs of garnet and kyanite at 9 different locations approximately 600 meters north of the western end of Corner Brook Lake. In total there will be about 21 holes drilled. The drilling will take place this winter. Materials will be transported to the drill sites by helicopter and snowmobiles to reduce ground disturbance.
Amendment made in 2006 that activated the 45-day consultation period.
The company has been in the area doing mapping, surveying, and extracting minerals for analysis for over 10 years. However, because of an amendment made in 2006 to the City of Corner Brook Watershed Regulations, a 45 day public consultation period is now required before council can make a decision for any application that involves development activity in the Corner Brook Watershed. The deadline for public comment is January 29th (hence the urgency of this column).
This is the area to be drilled for samples. I couldn’t get out there to take a picture, so Google Earth comes to the rescue. To the left is Corner Brook Lake, water supply for Corner Brook, Massey Drive and Mount Moriah. The yellow line roughly illustrates where the drilling will take place.
What does this mean?
That was the facts from the project description. Now I offer a bit of commentary. Corner Brook Lake is where your potable (drinking) water comes from. Is the idea of mineral drilling so close to your water supply appealing? A watershed is defined as the total land area that contributes runoff to a stream or river (Nathanson, 2008). Runoff is water that flows over the ground.
It’s actually not uncommon for mineral exploration to take place within watershed zones. The provincial government makes the decisions according to its own set of regulations. In this case, however, Corner Brook City Council has the power to make the final decision about what happens in its water supply area.
But Corner Brook residents have their opportunity to comment as well before the January 29 deadline.
The debate has been going on for more than 10 years in this region: is some economic gain worth risking our drinking water?
Have your say! Even a short, simple email expressing concern is good.
January 29th is looming!
To participate in the public consultation, the public should use the following methods to contact:
City of Corner Brook
P.O. Box 1080
Corner Brook, NL
Nathanson, J. A. (2008). Basic Environmental Technology. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.