An open letter to the Minister of Environment for Newfoundland Labrador

Dear Minister Trimper, and all concerned parties;

I am writing in regards to the proposed site for the collective garbage disposal for Labrador’s south coast. While the idea of a mass site with adequate storage and separation of waste for these 15 communities is conceivable, the location in mind is not.

The St. Lewis Inlet is home to some of the best salmon fishing in the world, and has been used for many generations as a traditional hunting, berry picking and fishing ground. My father, grandfather, and his grandfathers before him lived off of this land for many generations. As is the same for most families that call St. Lewis and surrounding areas, home. But this is not just a matter of traditions being sacrificed, this is a matter of science. What is up, must come down.

Upon reviewing the registration document put together by Hatch I see that the proposed site lays at the top of a hill with a stream on one side, and a lake on the other, 350-400m respectively from each. Furthermore in the document, it is stated that, “Given the Site proximity to watercourses, depending on design and discharge requirements, there may be associated impacts to waterbodies that contain freshwater populations.” (See 4.2.2.4)

Another alarming discovery was that 15 of the 40 species at risk in this province were listed as inhabiting the area proposed. (See 4.2.2.5)

The report itself is strewn with words like, “uncertain,” and phrases like, “may have negative impacts..” and doesn’t provide any comforting dialogue regarding preparation for contamination of waterways. In fact, it states in the Hydrogeological Assessment in section 4.3, “The direction of groundwater flow was determined to be generally to the southeast,” which is directly to Upper Creek First Pond, an important waterway that drains to the St. Mary’s River (Mary’s Harbour’s water supply).

With the collective waste of 15 communities suffocating the land on this site and the rainfall and run off from winter snow, surely it is known that leaching will occur. The tainted water from this site will seep into the earth, will flow downhill, and will ultimately end up in Upper Creek First Pond and the St. Lewis’ Bay area, despite the planned ‘stormwater management ponds’ described in 4.6.15.

The water in this area will become polluted, and over time, be void of life. We have seen this ourselves within St. Lewis and the damage that having a waste site on a hill has caused to the Fox Harbour pond area. This area is our drinking water, and has to be constantly tested for this reason, with boil orders being the norm.

I am writing to you, Minister Trimper and members of the Environment and Conservation staff to please consider an alternate location for this site.  While there is no clear and easy answer to most problems when it comes to balancing economics and the environment, I can say to you with certainty that putting this waste disposal site in the proposed area will do irreparable damage. I agree that sacrifices have to be made on occasion, but I ask you with an open and clear understanding, that you and your team consider a different location. Consult with the towns of Mary’s Harbour and St. Lewis, those who will be most immediately affected by this development.

With all of the work being done as of late to restore wetlands and improve wildlife sanctuaries in this province, I see this as a step in the wrong direction. I agree fully that it would be more productive to create one large dumping ground and clear up the waste centres in the 15 communities covered, but the important and most prominent message I’m trying to state is that this is the WRONG location. Put this centre in a location that has a lower impact on the species that thrive in the area, and doesn’t disturb the drinking water of a nearby community. I encourage you to visit the proposed site for a better understanding of what is at stake.

Sincerely;

Someone whose heart is still at home.

1 thought on “An open letter to the Minister of Environment for Newfoundland Labrador

  1. Very well said Mandy wonderful to see you being so passionate about the land and
    the people.

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