Environment Media release

Media release: In Colchester North, only Liberal candidate fails to voice support for French River watershed regulations

Gold mining in the French River Watershed, which has been proposed by the Department of  Energy and Mines of Nova Scotia, has a huge risk of contaminating the pristine waters of the  French River, in the short term and in fact for well over a century. Alternative economic  solutions to the destructive practices of gold mining exist that support the growth of local  economies. We therefore asked all North Colchester candidates whether they support the  immediate adoption of the proposed French River Watershed Regulations, which includes a ban  on mining. The Liberals are the only party that does not support the approval of the water  regulations. See all responses below.  

Background On January 30th, 2020 the Colchester County Municipal Council unanimously  approved regulations carefully developed by the Tatamagouche Source Water Protection  Committee over a 2-year period. On May 11th, 2020 all required documentation was sent to the  Minister of the Environment by the Council. Here we are, over a year later, and the Minister has  not adopted these regulations. The Municipality carried out a thorough democratic process,  including three well-attended public meetings, a survey of watershed landowners and meetings  with stakeholders, which led to changes in the proposed regulations. In addition, a petition of  over 1000 signatures asking the Province to protect the French River Watershed was presented to  the NS Legislature in March 2019 by our MLA, Karen Casey. Further, over 200 letters and  Emails have been sent to the Minister in recent months. 

Candidates’ responses(in alphabetical order of last name) 

Ivan Drouin, Green Party I support the proposed French River Watershed regulations and also  support a ban on mining in the French River watershed.  

I attended the Municipality of Colchester Council meeting when the Council approved the  regulations. I think this approval did not go far enough.  

The Green Party holds the view that mining and other economic developments should be  assessed with a climate lens. This means that developments should be sustainable and have a  long term as opposed to short term gain and profit. They should be analysed with a full  accounting approach that takes into consideration the impact on the landscape, the animals and  fish in the area, the social and health cost to the population, and of course the cost of the clean up which until now has fallen to the taxpayer. 

Sean Foley, NDP Colchester North NDP and candidate Sean Foley will definitely and forcefully  support the proposal from the Municipality of the County of Colchester to protect the French  River watershed. It is shocking that more than a year ago the Municipal Council submitted a  unanimous request to the NS Department of Environment and Climate Change to adopt the  regulations under the NS Environment Act to protect the watershed against mining activities. It  is unacceptable that no response has come from the Ministers of Environment to this urgent  request.  

An NDP government would do more to protect watersheds and the natural environment from  destructive natural resource development: we would pass an Environmental Bill of Rights,  institute stronger Environmental Assessment processes that allow more community input, and  make adjustments to our mineral rights regime.  

Merlyn Smith, Liberal Party I am aware that the application has been put forward to the  Department of Environment – and if elected, I would be committed to following up on the status  of your request.  

As your MLA, I would look forward to further discussion on all community concerns and  priorities.  

Tom Taggart, PC Party As a sitting Colchester County Councillor I was proud to vote in  favour of the proposed French River Watershed Regulations and stand in full support of their  implementation. This support includes the ban of mining in the watershed. In addition after my election as MLA I hope to work with you to champion the immediate  implementation of these regulations.