As the project moves forward, there are a limited number of open houses that will be held by Atlantic Gold on behalf of the Environmental Approval applicant and future mine operator Atlantic NS Mining Inc. Given this, the community should take advantage of the opportunity to get out and discuss the project one on one with staff at their local office in Sherbrooke.
Every Wednesday from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm Madeline Hill from Atlantic Gold is available for questions at the old fire hall in Sherbrooke. Dustin O’Leary, Communications Manager with Atlantic Gold, has made me “aware that it is not a team of ‘rotating consultants’ but they are our own employees who take their working time to help staff our office and keep local residents informed”. There apparently were a team of 4 rotating staff members that attend the weekly open house. As of April 4, the office has been officially opened.
Atlantic NS Mining Inc. is required to consult with the community as directed by CEAA in the Guidelines for completion of an Environmental Impact Statement for the Cochrane Hill Gold Mine. Issues identified from these office visits should be summarized and should form part of the Environmental Impact Statement(EIS). “The EIS will describe the ongoing and proposed public participation activities that the proponent will undertake or that it has already conducted on the project. It will provide a description of efforts made to distribute project information and provide a description of information and materials that were Cochrane Hill Gold Project. The EIS will indicate the methods used, where the consultation was held, the persons and organizations consulted, the concerns voiced and the extent to which this information was incorporated in the design of the project as well as in the EIS. The EIS will provide a summary of key issues raised related to the project and its potential effects to the environment as well as describe any outstanding issues and ways to address them“. Was there or will there be an attempt to re-design the project based upon community input? We shall see.
Mr. O’Leary in an article to the Chronicle Herald on Oct. 19, 2018 noted that “We are currently consulting and working with local groups to share knowledge and understand the river and fully gauge any possible impacts.”
Let us know how your experience went. Make a note of the day you went and the questions you asked and the concerns you communicated. We would like to track these comments and concerns in the final EIS document. We will be gauging the degree to which the project design has changed given public feedback. We would like to demonstrate that these community engagement sessions are meaningful and not simply an opportunity to check a box along the road to project Environmental Approval.
I took the time out of my working day to gain meaningful information about the project from a staff member that was employed at the Touquoy Mine. I am awaiting e-mail responses to my questions. The office visits are another tool in the consultation tool box, take advantage of them!