Residents face huge risks in blasting proposal

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To the editor,
I am writing regarding the proposal Pioneer Coal has put forward to use blasting in their mining project in Stellarton. 

As a resident of Evansville with nine other families, I can only feel that it is time for Pioneer Coal to leave our town. With the risks of undermined areas as a high priority in our town, I cannot imagine this permit going further, and for them to want to blast every week for three years is unheard of. With the residents in such close proximity of this operation the lasting effects will be devastating.

There is also the chance of underground workings to be compromised, and in turn cause subsidence around homes, under homes, and other areas in Stellarton, including G.R. Saunders Elementary School, about 300 metres from the proposed area of blasting. With all this in mind, there is no need to think of a better reason that Pioneer Coal should not be granted permission to use blasting.

This operation was called a strip mine to begin in the work phase, then it became an open pit mine, and a restoration project. In my many of years of living here, and also in the years that my neighbours have been here, we have never fallen into a hole, or had any subsidence under our homes. I seem to think there have been holes or shafts that have fallen in since Pioneer Coal has started operations. As they get deeper, they are exposing pits that were in time filled with water, or left undisturbed, and now there are problems. At the meeting held at the Museum of Industry, we heard stories of people having to leave their homes as a result of subsidence to their property. These properties are settled on Bunker Hill. No family should have to endure leaving their home, or to be afraid to live in their home, and for this I feel, like others in town, that Pioneer Coal should leave, just fill in the holes they have created and go.

The Town of Stellarton has been turned into a mess, and with money on the table for the government and Pioneer Coal why should we live this way, we are not getting anything out of it. There are the health aspects that should be weighed carefully, from respiratory conditions to the possible health problems that many will have in years to come due to this mining project going on for the last 18 years. Who is going to be held accountable, Pioneer Coal or the Nova Scotia Government, the Environment Minister, or the Mines and Energy Minister? Is a person's health and welfare more important, or is money more important? I am sure that the province gets a royalty and was paid a substantial amount to let Pioneer Coal begin.

Now a true test of leadership is on the line, and that is making a decision that will affect the residents of Stellarton and the fate of those here after we are gone. The importance of populating a town is a question you should also look at, who in their right mind would become a resident of Stellarton knowing a strip mine is located there, and that there may be blasting that could easily bring the town to ruins.

Take your time to think over your decision, as the fate of residents is in your hands.

Patty (MacKay) Lloyd

Stellarton

Organizations: G.R. Saunders Elementary School, Museum of Industry, Nova Scotia Government

Geographic location: Stellarton, Evansville, Bunker Hill

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