Sunday, 17 November 2019
Environment featured

Letter: Guysborough Council not speaking on our behalf when it comes to fracking

In January council members of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) asked the Province to lift the fracking moratorium. Not so fast, writes Guysborough County resident Alexander Bridge.

My wife and I moved to Boylston nearly 2 years ago. We were attracted to the area for many reasons; especially what we felt was the sense of community and the area’s bucolic vistas. But little did we know, after building our home, the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) council members operate with a less than transparent municipal process— a view shared by many in the community. In fact, in the MODG 2017 Strategic Plan, under the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats  Summary section identify MODG ‘Weaknesses’, it states- “Perceived lack of municipal communication and transparency.”

Therefore, as a resident and tax payer, I take exception to the MODG’s recent request asking the provincial government to lift its province-wide ban on fracking without public discussion with Guysborough County citizens. I feel this tactic is just another regressive action by the MODG, given the environmental impact fracking creates. Add this move to MODG’s earlier position, supporting the mining association’s challenges of protected areas in the province, and we have a council bent on a backward commitment to the fossil fuel industries.

I believe like others here, the MODG does not have the right to make this pro-fracking request to the provincial Liberal government without first opening up this conversation to the residents and tax payers of Guysborough County. But that never happened. I see this as one more action by the MODG ignoring the voices of people. Where has democracy gone? Did the MODG look at any studies on fracking other than those by mining or related industries? Think not. Did the MODG consider they should encourage public input? Think not. Did the MODG consider environmental risks? Think not.

Fracking uses excessive amounts of water, contributes to air and water pollution, and increases the potential for oil spills effecting surrounding soil and ground vegetation. Due to the high pressure used in extracting oil and gas from rock through this process, Fracking may also cause earthquakes.

We live in a free and democratic society in Canada, at least that’s what I thought the last time I looked. But it appears if you live in Guysborough County this may not be quite true.

It is time for MODG to reexamine its vision for Guysborough. The 2017 Strategic Plan is rich with promises and platitudes. But rather than placing an emphasis on traditional ways of economic growth through mining, forestry or fisheries- all with limited resources, the County needs to see its vision through renewable energy, such as wind turbines and solar farms. Further it should address other issues that appear ignored— high speed Internet, infrastructure improvements, public transportation, availability of doctors, seniors’ services, as well as better schools and day care for working families. If the MODG is committed to attracting young families to the County, it needs to provide those services families can take advantage of and use.

Despite the MODG’s trumpeting recently of a bright and exciting future for Guysborough Country, it appears to have disregarded many recent retail businesses closing, while the area’s young people continue exiting the County.

If this community is going to grow and prosper, we ALL need to share in the forward planning. The community is rich in human resources. There are people who have moved here who can offer a wealth of ideas through positive conversations with the Council.

MODG, it is time to extend an invitation for serious dialogue with those people you represent. The fracking issue would be a great place to start.

Respectively,

Alexander Bridge

 


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3 Comments

  1. My wife and I are also residents of Boylston and we too were startled by the letter of support from the MODG Council. It was unclear how fracking might even be a possibility in our district and we wondered why the Council would choose to come out in support. Most of all, we were dismayed that the Council issued such a broad endorsement without any consultation with voters and constituents.
    We are an older couple and we moved to Nova Scotia, in part, because of the province’s proud commitment to environmental sustainability. we admired the recycling efforts, the proactive setting aside of protected lands, and the experiments with renewable energy (including several turbines in Canso, which were sponsored by our Council). We are not alone. Our neighbors and friends include many other couples who have moved from Ontario, Alberta, and the States in search of a more sensible life. We choose to pay our taxes and spend our money in a community that is committed to sustainable practices. Fracking has no place in this picture.
    Guysborough has a proud history of fishing, forestry, and mining but these traditional industries are not sustainable. It’s time to explore other 21st century employment opportunities.
    I’ll conclude with one more note. The Council appears impenetrable (or tone-deaf) on issues like this. Like others, I have written emails to the Warden without an acknowledgement or response. I have shared my concerns with individual Council members who listen politely but seem unable or unwilling to change the agenda. Our monthly Council meetings are highly orchestrated and offer no opportunity for public debate. Hence our growing frustration as we consider the future of Guysborough and the directions this Council has adopted.

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  2. LETTER TO THE EDITOR   Sir –  With the issue of hydraulic fracturing being so controversial in the NT  there have been calls for the government to hold a referendum to decide whether fracking should be permitted or the process be banned.   Although it is unlikely that the Gunner administration will agree to holding a referendum on fracking, it would be beneficial for the Member for Katherine Sandra Nelson (pictured) if one is held.   Sandra campaigned for the Katherine electorate on an anti-fracking platform against an incumbent candidate who supported fracking. She won the seat after picking up preferences from another candidate who opposed fracking.   Sandra is personally opposed to fracking and very commendably played a major role in the implementation of the present moratorium on fracking.   If no referendum is held, with the present NT Labor administration appearing likely to support fracking, Sandra will have a dilemma on her hands when the matter is decided in Parliament.

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