Edit: I will be posting updates about the proposed mines here: http://apihtawikosisan.com/protect-our-waters/
I am from manitow-sâhakihkan, Lac Ste. Anne in Alberta. I grew up between three very important lakes: Lac Ste. Anne, Wabamun Lake, and Lake Isle. These lakes are interconnected by creeks and streams, and their health have been in steady decline for many years. Development, train derailments, pollutants, and over-fishing have taken their toll. We have a lot of work ahead of us to bring these waters back to life.
A threat we are currently facing is gravel pits. Open pit mining of gravel is expanding at a furious rate in Alberta, despite heavy opposition. Compared to strip mining bitumin, gravel probably does not seem like such a dirty product. Nonetheless, these operations increasingly disturb and pollute our land and waters and all the plants and animals that rely on them.
Where my parents live, on the border of Parkland and Lac Ste. Anne counties, there is already an existing gravel pit mine that runs 24/7, not far of Highway 16. On the site is a man camp for shift workers. The light from the operation can be seen from the highway, and there is a huge amount of dust and disturbance involved in tearing up the land for gravel.
Another gravel pit is proposed just a klick or two away, just down the road from Lake Isle. The proposal for that one was sent out last year, and many people in the area opposed it. Unfortunately it seems that this development may still be in the works.
Today, my mom told me they received notice that yet a second gravel pit is being proposed in the area. This one will directly impact a creek that runs between Lake Isle and Lac Ste. Anne! Both of these huge gravel pits will be just a few hundred metres from Lake Isle itself, which is bound to impact the lake ecology!
The county of Lac Ste. Anne is giving people only until Feb. 29 to register any concerns they might have. Many people in Alberta have tried to oppose gravel pits with little success. I am asking for help!
If you live in Lac Ste. Anne country, or know people who do…if your traditional lands are also in the area of these lakes, or if you are simply someone who cares about the health of our waters, then please contact the county to voice your opposition to this project!
Development Officer, Planning & Development Department
Lac Ste. Anne County
Reference this: Development permit: Gravel extraction and processing, NW, SW & SE 35-53-05 W5M, NW & SW 36-53-05 W5M, Lac Ste. Anne County.
Here is a PDF I was just sent by the county. This is the redacted application in PDF. Redacted Application – Compressed(1)
It will be much harder to fight this development if it gets past this initial stage, and all opposition at this point must be received by February 29th.
Please speak up for our sacred waters, our land, and the future of all the people in the area.
Edit: here is a map showing the proposed site, in pink. In an earlier version of this post, I indicated that the green area was another proposed site. I have clarified with the county that this is Crown land, and there is no pit proposed there. Each square is a quarter section of land, which is 160 acres. The pink site would be a gravel pit covering 800 acres. This site was proposed last year, and opposed by residents then, but it appears to still be in the works. This site would sit atop an important creeks that feeds Lac Ste. Anne, and like the existing mine just a 2 klicks or so down the road in Parkland county, these operations will rely heavily on water from the aquifer that all residents use for their well water.