MAC: Mines and Communities

Mine Opposed - Village Residents Worry About Future

Published by MAC on 2007-07-16
Source: The Daily Gleaner ()

Mine opposed - Village Residents worry about future

By JACQUELINE LEBLANC, The Daily Gleaner

16th July 2007

Nancy Grant was taken aback when she heard that a Newfoundland mining company had placed blue ribbons on her property in Cambridge-Narrows.

The Saint John doctor owns 13 acres of forested land in Cambridge-Narrows. She said she bought the property for her children to use for recreation.

But now she fears the company will mine uranium on her land.

"Our land has been pegged with ribbons," she said Saturday at an information session held by the Village of Cambridge-Narrows. "We're going to look at (the land) now. We weren't notified."

She said the ribbons had been there since the end of June but neither she nor her husband received notification that the mining company had staked her land.

Under the Department of Natural Resources' Mining Act, Newfoundland's Triple Uranium Resources must meet with landowners who have mineral claims staked on their land.

But several residents in Cambridge-Narrows -- who have discovered blue ribbons on their properities -- still haven't received word from the mining company, said Mayor Peter Knight.

"From the meeting, we learnt that under the act, you're supposed to be given reasonable notice, and that's quite vague," Knight said.

"And from what I understand, some people have been getting their property ribboned for four to five months, and still haven't gotten any formal notification."

By law, the Mining Act states that mining companies don't need to notify the landowner before staking the land, since minerals beneath the land are owned by the Crown.

But prospectors need to notify landowners before beginning any work of a damaging nature or work that would interfere with the enjoyment of the land.

But Knight said residents of Cambridge-Narrows don't want prospectors on their land at all.

"The main concern is that we're a recreation area," he said. "And this kind of activity just doesn't fit our way of life.

"Mining companies come and go, and behind them, they tend to leave a lot of destruction that tends to haunt the environment for many years to come."

Sam McEwan, director of the minerals and petroleum development branch with the Department of Natural Resources, said residents shouldn't worry that the mining companies will destroy their land.

"It's very clearly understood what activity will take place," he said.

"They've been doing this for a long time, so there's a wealth of knowledge about what impact will take place if they drill a well or dig a trench where there's sedimentation of that nature."

Ellis Levine, who owns a home in Cambridge-Narrows, attended Saturday's information session.

He said if uranium is developed in the village, it will be the end of Cambridge-Narrows as a recreation destination.

"I want to retire in my home in Cambridge-Narrows for a lot of good reasons, and I'm sure the government doesn't understand what Cambridge-Narrows is all about," he said.

"This is a community of about 500 people in the winter time ... But in the summer, there's 5,000 people here."

Knight said mining would have a negative effect on the village's economy. "As one land owner said, just that it could happen here has had an impact on the value of his property," Knight said.

Grant said she wants the Mining Act to be reviewed, since it hasn't been changed since the 1980s.

"The mining act is 20 years old," she said. "A lot of environmental things have become obvious in that 20 years.

"The act allows prospectors to come onto land without notification of the owners.

"I think that needs to be looked at or be changed."

The residents of Cambridge-Narrows plan to organize a committee and work with the village and government to reopen the Mining Act.

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