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Ministerial order shuts down ‘quarry’ at Brooklyn Road site on North Mountain

This photo, taken in May, shows piles of what appear to be crushed aggregate at a location on the North Mountain in Brooklyn, near Middleton. There is no quarry permit for that site and it has been closed down by Environment Minister Iain Rankin.
This photo, taken in May, shows piles of what appears to be crushed aggregate at a location on the North Mountain in Brooklyn, near Middleton. There is no quarry permit for that site and it has been closed down by Environment Minister Iain Rankin. - Contributed

BROOKLYN, ANNPOLIS COUNTY, NS - The owner of a quarry at 415 Brooklyn Road north of Middleton has until July 12 to appeal an order by Minister of Environment Iain Rankin to cease operation.

Rankin issued the ministerial order on June 12 to 3266304 Nova Scotia Limited to immediately stop work, including but not limited to, blasting, excavation, crushing, processing, or selling aggregate or other materials.

The order said that the minister believes the company has contravened the Environment Act by not obtaining the appropriate class of approval.

In fact the company does not have a quarry permit. Frustrated local residents who have been fighting the operation for years, say it operates as a quarry but refer to it as the ‘Not a Quarry’ site.

The company must also submit a completed application form with supporting documentation for a quarry, or submit a completed application with supporting documentation to the department for site rehabilitation.

Michael Lowe is listed as president, secretary, and director of the company with 478 Parker Mountain Road listed as his civic address. That’s the site of DJ Lowe Paving and Construction and Parker Mountain Aggregates Ltd. Agent for the company is Gerard Pothier of Church Point.

The company 3266304 Nova Scotia Limited was registered with the province in late 2012, and ever since then residents in Brooklyn have been opposed to a quarry on the site, saying among other things it could harm the drinking water in the area.

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On June 5, 2017, Brooklyn Road resident John Bruce protested planned blasting on the 415 Brooklyn Road site by camping out on the neighbouring property just metres from the blast site. A daylong effort to stop the blasting failed, including emails to Premier Stephen McNeil’s constituency office in Middleton where staff said it was their understanding there would be no surface mining on the site, rather property development.

“The owner of this property does not currently have an approval from the Department of Environment or a contract with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to develop a quarry on this site,” a staff member at McNeil’s office said at the time.

The same day a spokesperson from the Department of Environment said an investigation was still ongoing regarding work at the property.

“The owner does not have an approval from the Department of Environment for a quarry, and does not have a contract with TIR for a quarry at this site,” she said. “Department of Environment inspectors are closely monitoring the situation.”

In July of 2015, Nova Scotia Environment rejected Lowe’s application to operate a quarry, and in November 2015, the Minister of Environment upheld the decision. In December of 2016, the courts also upheld the decision with a comprehensive 34-page document, said Brooklyn resident Colleen McGill that day. She’s a spokesperson for local residents.

The blasting did take place late in the day, with Bruce on the mountain and family anxiously waiting to see if he was okay. Bruce was uninjured.

This May neighbours in the area reported seeing scales, crushers, and a small building brought to the location and reported rock crushing was under way.

Patricia Bruce, John's spouse, said she emailed McNeil’s offices about the activity.

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