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Westville residents still in the fray over proposed strip mine

A Westville resident, who is opposed to the possibility of an open-pit coal mine off Cowan Street, addresses town council on July 29.
A Westville resident, who is opposed to the possibility of an open-pit coal mine off Cowan Street, addresses town council on July 29. - Kevin Adshade

They said they wouldn’t be going away.
And so far, they haven’t.
Ever since the town announced agreed to allow for exploratory work by Pioneer Coal, who are looking to start an open pit mine off Cowan Street, council meetings have been well attended, much of that due to staunch opposition to the proposed mine.
That was the case again on July 29. 
With Mayor Roger MacKay absent – starting a three-month leave of absence to run for the federal Conservatives in the October election – the humidity upstairs at town hall was barely tolerable, but tolerable (several residents were fanning themselves to cool themselves off), and Clarrie MacKinnon was one of the first to address council, who for the most part sat stoically in the face of coal mine opposition, saying little in response. 
He read a portion of a letter from Killam Properties, owners of the Cowan Street mobile home park, in which the company vowed to not permit testing on its property. 
“The biggest parcel – by far the biggest parcel of land, is no longer on the table,” he told council.
“We are still determined to stop this. We are going to keep coming back, and keep coming back, and keep coming back.”
Patty Lloyd and Angie Stewart, who are neighbours on Water Street in Stellarton, in the shadow of the existing open pit mine, brought along some visual aids.
“I’d like you to take a really good look at what you’re in for,” Lloyd told council.
One was a two-litre plastic bottle of what Lloyd said was snow collected from her lawn, snow she said had been that’d been covered with coal dust. It looked like the colour of cola pop.
She also unveiled a grimy-looking curtain collected from a neighbor, and placed the items – among others – on a table, before returning to her seat. 
“This is continuous, twenty-three years of this,” she had said. “This is what you’re going to have here, and you won’t be able to get away from it.”

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