Speak up now to protect wilderness

Published on March 10, 2014

We are writing on behalf of a group of concerned cabin owners on the Salmonier Line.

It has come to our attention that a privately held mineral exploration company is planning to construct an 11 kilometre mineral exploration access road from the Trans-Canada Highway at Big Triangle Pond south, across unspoiled wilderness to the boundary of the Salmonier Nature Park.

Over the next six years, the road will be used to conduct intensive mineral exploration over an area of about 22 square kilometres between the Salmonier Line and the Avalon Wilderness Reserve.

Borders parkland

The area of planned exploration borders the nature park and will come within 1,500 metres of the wilderness reserve, cutting the remote canoe trail from Peak Pond to the wilderness area in two.

The road will also impact the headwaters of spawning Atlantic salmon for North Arm River in Holyrood and the Salmonier River.

Most alarmingly, some of the exploration activity will come within 500-800 metres of cabins on the Salmonier Line which aren’t even mentioned in the environmental preview report submitted by the company.

We believe this road and associated exploration activity will cause extensive damage to the local environment and have significant impacts on the Avalon Wilderness Reserve, Salmonier Nature Park and river systems.

We also believe that the project will cause significant and ongoing disturbance to cabin owners and other people who use and value the area and wish it to remain in its unspoiled state.

We find it difficult to understand how such a project could even be considered for approval in an area where there are so many cabins and where so many people value and use the natural environment for rest, relaxation, recreation and enjoyment of the outdoors. If this is project is approved, will we have to live with an open-pit mine on our doorsteps in six years’ time?

The project is currently undergoing environmental assessment by the Department of Environment and Conservation, with public comments due by March 28.

Not complete

The proponent has prepared an environmental preview report, but they have failed to acknowledge that there are many other people who use and value this area, and failed to consider the likely impacts of the project on cabin owners, other recreational users and the natural and wilderness values of the area.

It is vital that cabin owners and other users of the area are informed about this proposal and have their say about how it will affect them before a decision is made as to whether the project will be permitted.

Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t be worse, as few people are using their cabins during winter, so getting the word out and organizing a response is difficult.

If we don’t have our say, this development could be imposed on us.

If you are a cabin owner on the Salmonier Line or someone who uses this area for recreation, you should be concerned about this proposal and how it will affect you, your property, and your use and enjoyment of the area.

More information about the proposal can be found on the Department of Environment and Conservation website (www.env.gov.nl.ca/env/env_assessment/projects/Y2013/1725/index.html) or visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/protecttheavalon).

We are currently preparing a formal submission on behalf of cabin owners and other users of the area to explain our concerns to the minister.

If you’re interested in joining us in this submission, please email us

(protecttheavalon@hotmail.com) or contact Jeff Ivany directly at jcivany@hotmail.com.

Alternatively, you can submit your concerns directly to the minister (joanshea@gov.nl.ca) before March 28.

 

Jeff Ivany and Jason Ivany write from

Conception Bay South.