LETTERS: Continuing spillage would spell disaster for Dartmouth Cove


Re: June 4 opinion piece, “Why Dartmouth Cove is good for infill.” Bruce Wood, who represents a group called the Dartmouth Cove Waterfront Access Project and all the anonymous funders and numbered companies, would have us believe he’s adding to our town. We need to look at reality to make sure the public benefits and it’s not a zero-sum game.

Mr. Wood speaks of “contributing even more to a vibrant, diverse and growing community.” He fails to note that the removal of the waterfront and the dumping of pyritic slate and excavated material from 30 other construction sites will, according to his request to the federal government, take six years – and not, as he states in his article, “less than two years”. and can be done as quickly as a year.

In the process, it will destroy the vibrant and diverse community that surrounds Dartmouth Cove. The request specifies that work will continue on weekdays, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for six years.

It will also drive down property values ​​in the neighborhood, reducing HRM’s tax burden for at least the six years of its dumping and however many years it will take to build its new “vibrant” community. and diverse”.

No guarantee is given as to the mitigation of six years of noise and dust for owners or its effects on the Harbor Trail, which is an example of a vibrant, diverse and growing community: dog walkers , photographers, ferry drivers, joggers, prams, strollers. , cyclists, ornithologists and tourists.

So while Mr. Wood and his backers benefit from not having to travel greater distances by truck, given the high price of fuel and increased staff salaries, another community loses the value, peace and quiet of their properties and the use of their shared public property.

The Old Dartmouth Dockyard operated for over 100 years in Dartmouth Cove, much of it at a time when environmental friendliness was negligible. Scraping, chipping and sanding of vessels were common and no containment measures were used for the release of paint fragments and lead-containing particles. Moreover, the use of asbestos was common and its handling and disposal were haphazard and careless. These airborne materials eventually ended up in the harbor and Dartmouth Cove due to runoff and wind.

A few years ago, when discussing sewer and drainage proposals, dredging of Dartmouth Cove was considered. The engineers, at that time, noted the above, together with the sewage sediments that had settled there, and advised that the best thing to do was not to disturb the bottom in any way. , because the slightest movement would cause plumes to swirl.

Wouldn’t Mr. Wood’s proposed spill result in the redistribution of lead and other contaminants into the water column? The request from Mr Wood’s group says that “filling activities will be visually monitored”. Does it do anything to measure and control the spread and redistribution of these sediments? The applicants refer to “appropriate mitigation measures” for turbidity, siltation and re-suspension. Would there be oversight by a party representing the health of taxpayers who live near the area? Why have we heard nothing from the Ministry of the Environment on all these issues?

The plaintiffs are also seeking authorization under the Fisheries Act to have a “project-specific compensation plan[…]developed and implemented to mitigate the residual effects of the Project on fish and fish habitat through habitat restoration and enhancement. It is proposed that the Project Compensation Plan, including an associated implementation schedule, be developed in consultation with DFO-FFHPP separately from this Application for Authorization. Shouldn’t this plan be in place before the application is considered?

Dartmouth Cove and adjacent areas are lobster fishing grounds. Would public health officials issue warnings on locally caught lobster in the wake of this clearly possible contamination?

Why is a complete environmental study, which would include dust, noise and contaminants, not undertaken? This application was submitted on March 24 with an expected start date of August 1, 2022! Why was this application not immediately proclaimed to the surrounding areas and neighborhoods that will be most affected? Why was “word of mouth” from neighbors who “discovered” him the only way to alert the public? Halifax Regional Council was not notified until May 13.

If permission is granted by the federal government, the group represented by Mr. Wood will be generously provided with a convenient, low-cost, centrally located landfill site called Dartmouth Cove. Meanwhile, heavily depreciated adjacent neighborhoods will suffer.

Joseph Howe asked, “What is for the public good? Zero-sum games, that is, whole families of communities and neighborhoods must lose to the benefit of a few. Dartmouth Cove is becoming a dumping ground, it’s not for the public good.

Eric and Jean Llewellyn are regular contributors to the opinion section of the Chronicle Herald. They live near Dartmouth Cove.

Threat to the community

I was disturbed to see the half-page opinion piece in your June 4 edition supporting the infilling of Dartmouth Cove.

It says the project will create “approximately 18,250 m2 of usable land for future [unspecified] development. “The last fill is a dump – this, adjacent to approximately 30,000m2 of neglected brownfield land between Maitland Street and the canal.

This is not a beneficial use of open waterfront space in an area with a growing population. Yes, the creek (the whole harbour) has a history of sewage disposal, but we regularly see seals, large numbers of ducks and many other species here due to a productive ecosystem. It is a location and stunning view enjoyed by many Dartmouthians.

It is a sad situation that a lot of water, granted for the construction of docks in the age of sail, now confers the right to impose an industrial dump on a quiet community, with no public purpose, to manufacture valuable waterfront lands. for corporate profit (and privatize the view).

Far from being ‘in the spirit of community development’, Mr Wood’s plans are a slap in the face to Dartmouth town center and will ruin the town’s best summer evening or winter day.

Donald L. Forbes, Dartmouth

Leave the quiet port

Halifax is known for its large natural harbour, one of the best and most beautiful in the world. Filling, as some in Dartmouth Cove would like, should never be allowed. Let’s all take advantage of this natural gift and not alter or diminish it to appease a vocal minority.

KM Whitehead, Dartmouth

Common denominator

What’s going on? On June 4, you published a half-page Counterpoint in which the virtues of filling in the last remnants of Dartmouth Cove were extolled.

On June 7, there was a guest column on how lifting the COVID vaccination mandate for health workers would help solve the doctor shortage. (I didn’t know so many doctors opposed vaccinations, a very disturbing thought.)

And on June 8, another counterpoint suggesting that the best thing we can do now is to sell as much oil and gas as possible to solve our debt problems.

Yes, these are simplistic descriptions of the items, but that’s basically what the authors are telling us.

What planet do these people live on? Certainly not planet Earth, where we face a real possibility of extinction. Each of the problems described can be linked to the impending climate catastrophe.

We shouldn’t be filling in oceanfront properties that will be flooded by the end of the century, let alone complete the destruction of vulnerable ocean habitat. Migratory birds use Dartmouth Cove, for example; it is not just human access to the edge of the harbor that is important.

Climate change and habitat destruction will continue to trigger more disease in the human population and we must be prepared to protect ourselves against it – with vaccines being a tool of choice, alongside drinking water, as “ most effective drug available against infectious diseases. And one of the main causes of global climate change, as everyone should know by now, is that we burn fossil fuels.

Jean M. Chard, Dartmouth

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