Letters to the editor -
In his July 3 Outdoors column "The cost of doing business," Derek Brace echoed the feelings of many in decrying the past destruction of Trout Pond and the proposed destruction of Sandy Pond by the mining industry. But the loss of these lakes, with their unique ecosystems and trout populations, should not be viewed as an inevitable cost of doing business, as industry and some politicians would have us believe.
The destruction of such lakes is a coldly calculated way of reducing costs to the industry at the expense of the natural heritage of our province. These lakes are irreplaceable. If underwater storage of wastes is deemed to be the only safe disposal method, then suitable impermeable structures should be constructed for that purpose, with guarantees that they will be monitored and kept secure in perpetuity.
In opposing the destruction of lakes in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as elsewhere in Canada, the Sandy Pond Alliance is not engaging in wishful thinking.
Two recent events show that thoughtful and knowledgeable Canadians are turning away from a destructive policy that should never have been allowed to gain a foothold.
Last week a federal review panel rejected a plan by Taseko Mines to turn a unique British Columbia lake into a waste dump. The panel found that the project would cause "significant adverse environmental effects " and that their proposal to create an artificial fish habitat was unlikely to work. More recently, Marathon PGM, a mining company with a similar proposal to destroy a lake in Ontario, decided under strong public opposition to withdraw its proposal and use an alternative, less-destructive tailings confinement system.
If Canadian companies developing mining projects in other provinces can be made to respect the integrity of Canada's freshwater ecosystems, we should demand the same of Vale in its operations here.
The destruction of Sandy Pond or any lake should not be an option. The technology exists to put in a proper waste containment system.
To do it right may cost more and require more work, but we should accept no less.
John D. Jacobs