Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Below is a letter written by my mother to The Honourable Mark Parent

[I encourage you all to read and copy the letter below into an email or snail mail. Send your own copy to the Minister of the Environment, "The Honourable" Mr. Parent, who is infamous for comments made to mining industry executives, i.e., that they need not report their polluting effluents. Send copies to any decision-maker who you think may listen to the desperate cry of our community. Cape Bretoners are suffering terribly, now more than ever, from a lack of real democracy. N.B. my mother did not include the units after "3.9" and I've left it as such here, please edit that for your own letter, as you see fit. Also, you'll notice near the end of the letter, a reference to a dubious "right." That may need editing too. Keep in mind that environmentally-friendly technique is not within the repertoire of industrial mining. For more information about the ongoing extractive destruction of my home by natural resource profiteers, please click the label below the letter.]

To: markparentmla@ns.aliantzinc.ca

The Honourable Mark Parent
Department of Environment & Labour
5151 Terminal Road, 6th. Floor
Halifax NS B3J 2T8

Dear Mr. Parent,

My family & I wish to express our opposition to the application of Riverside Development Limited to operate an aggregate quarry on Highway #223 next to the former Levatte's Construction Gravel Pit.

It is amazing that such an undertaking would even be considered a reasonable development. The fact that it will be 3.9 means this size operation will escape full environmental scrutiny & accountability. I am very sure that the three families in very close proximity have very legitimate concerns regarding the potential harm to every aspect of their water supply. These precious waterways are the streams which constitute George's River, and flow into the Bras D'Or.

This area has more than enough heavy trucks, moving far too quickly, with a history of uncovered loads. We have endured truck traffic coming through our community before 6 a. m. We have given up trying to walk on the Upper Leitche's Creek Road. The little fishing brook is no longer a place where the little ones ride their bikes & sit by the water's edge. The little wooden bridge has been smashed & damaged so many times the Highway Dept. has to keep returning and pound in the side boards.

Any of these accusations can be verified if you check with the vehicle compliance officer for the area or the Dept of Highways. Or for the drive of a lifetime - just take a run up the length of the Upper Leitche's Creek Road. A road so bad that even federal members of the government have written concern over the condition. Now even more trucks will travel the other side - the upgraded side - lucky them. Let's see how long the asphalt stands up over there.

The real problem - the true problem is the reckless attitude of destruction. Sometimes I feel these people hate the countryside & every living plant, tree, animal, bird & person on it.

The days of destructive, extractive industry has to end. We, the people of Cape Breton, pay the price for this lack of responsible stewardship. We only have the right to endure this on-going destruction - in it's many forms. We have the heartbreak of watching the lands around us (many of us here know the story of those lands as it pertains to our people from Scotland) destroyed. There is no mercy for the earth & no consideration for the people who would like to remain on it.

I am reminded of the words of Henry David Thoreau upon watching a woodsman fell a beloved forest: THANK GOD THEY CANNOT CUT DOWN THE CLOUDS.


Sandra Schwinghamer & David Brown
Timothy Schwinghamer

[Here's the email I sent him: Dear Mark Parent, / For the community of Upper Leitches Creek to survive, a mining moratorium on the Hill of Boisdale (Cape Breton Island, NS) is required. The people of Upper Leitches Creek are suffering from the continued heavy truck traffic on the thin and poorly maintained Upper Leitches Creek Road. The forests there on the Hill of Boisdale have become eerily quiet, while the various gravel extracting companies blast, with illegal volume, during thunderstorms (to obscure their activities). The disturbance of everyday life is horrible and relentless. Animals and people alike have little option but to flee. / Upper Leitches Creek used to be a quiet forest retreat! / The people of Upper Leitches Creek are proud people, of Scottish extraction for the most part. I must point out to you that they have suffered enormous monetary losses as a result of the rubber-stamped, effectively unregulated, near and open surface gravel extraction in the area. Their property values have declined precipitously, and their necessary expenses due to repairs owing to the ruined road - and shivering houses - are more than these people can handle, as they are what is known as "working poor". The whole surrounding area has become miserable for those too old or wounded to move. / The situation in Upper Leitches Creek has become a human rights issue, as well as an issue of environmental rights, as the fact that endangered orchids populate the forest here has been entirely disregarded. The government has for too long disregarded this community. / When will you begin to think, Mark? When will you use your position, as such power ought to be employed? Soon, I hope. I hope you will put a moratorium on all mining in Upper Leitches Creek very soon.]

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