- Robert MacPherson is president of Scotian Materials.
I am writing to correct the numerous factual errors in the opinion piece submitted by Nick Horne regarding Scotian Materials’ proposed mobile asphalt plant.
First, some background, Scotian Materials owns a parcel of land at a remote location north of Highway 103. We have been operating a quarry at this location for the last three years and want to also be able to set up and operate a mobile asphalt plant at the quarry when there are local paving projects.
To address the specific factual errors and distortions in Mr. Horne’s opinion piece:
1. Mr. Horne repeatedly refers to the plant as a permanent facility. That is absolutely incorrect. We are proposing a mobile asphalt plant that would only be set up and operate when there are nearby paving projects. By setting up close to where paving is needed, we are actually reducing the environmental impact of paving because asphalt does need to be hauled from a more distant plant.
2. Mr. Horne states that the location is close to homes, schools and daycares. The Nova Scotia department of Environment requires a buffer of 360 meters between residences and an asphalt plant. The proposed mobile asphalt plant is over seven times that distance from the nearest residential development, Westwood Hills. It is also over seven times that distance from the nearest daycare and the nearest school. As a means of comparison, a longstanding permanent asphalt plant owned by another company in Bedford is 1,000 meters from a junior high school.
3. Mr. Horne describes the area as a protected wilderness area. The area is zoned by HRM as MR2 (Mixed Resource 2). Under this zoning, forestry activities (logging) and resource extraction activities (such as quarries) are permitted. Our application is specific to the property on which we operate a quarry. The surrounding area is owned by the province of Nova Scotia which is part of the Western Crown Land Planning process.
4. Mr. Horne claims that Scotian Materials is trying to silence concerned residents. This is simply not true. In response to resident concerns, we have conducted analyses regarding emissions, particulate matter, odours and noise. These analyses are posted on our website. We have also struck a Community Liaison Committee for interested residents to ask questions of and receive information from our company.
5. Mr. Horne claims that our proposal goes against the will of the entire community. As a company that has been operating in the community for the last three years, Scotian Materials is concerned about the community response and wanted to gauge their opinions. Using a well respected, Halifax-based market research firm that has also been hired by Halifax Regional Municipality for other projects, we found was that only 28 percent of the area residents oppose it, 59 percent had no opinion and 13 percent support it. The results of the poll can be found on our website.
If the poll had come back showing that a majority of residents were opposed to the project, then we would have questioned whether it made sense to proceed with the application.
Like Mr. Horne, we place faith in Halifax Regional Council. We hope that they will make a decision regarding our application based on facts, not on the false statements put forward by Mr. Horne.