Grits, Greens join opposition to peat mine plans
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/01/2012 (4088 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba Grits and Greens joined forces with local environmentalists today to condemn the Selinger government for even considering the development of a peat mine in Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park.
Sun Gro Horticulture, North America’s largest peat producer, is proposing a 531 hectare development in the park, adjacent to Lake Winnipeg. Opponents of the mine say it goes against the spirit — if not the letter — of last June’s Save Lake Winnipeg Act. At the time, the province placed a two year moratorium on granting new leases to peat producers.
“It is a big mistake to be mining peat in provincial parks,” said Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard. “There are many, many other places in Manitoba where peat can be harvested.”
Green Party Leader James Beddome said parks should be places to preserve natural landscapes and wildlife.
“If I can use an analogy, it would be like having … a bully-free zone school. Yet at the same time at that same school, you had zones in the playground where bullying was knowingly allowed,” Beddome told a news conference at the Legislative Building. “You wouldn’t call that label of a ‘bully-free school’ accurate, would you? That is exactly what is happening in our parks. There are areas where we allow mining.”
Gaile Whelan Enns, executive director of Manitoba Wildlands, said the project is being considered for an environmental licence — the public comment period ends Feb. 3 — at a time when Sun Gro’s provincial quarry lease at the proposed Hay Point mining site is about to expire. Its 10-year lease ends in early May.
In the past, such leases have been renewed almost automatically. But critics of the Sun Gro proposal are hoping that the province can be persuaded to block the lease renewal in keeping with the spirit of the Save Lake Winnipeg Act.
“The most important step for every Manitoban right now is to voice their opinion of this mine before Feb. 3,” Wilderness Committee executive director Eric Reder said, referring to the end of the public comment period for the project. He said comments can be left on his organization’s website.
“Mines are dirty. Mines are ecologically devastating. In Manitoba we must carefully consider where we will allow mines,” Reder said.
Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.