CORNER BROOK — Thomas Resources officials are planning to come to Corner Brook to offer a public presentation on its proposal for mineral exploration in the city’s watershed.
Thursday, Corner Brook Mayor Neville Greeley said the company, a subsidiary of Pennecon Group, requested an extension before council makes its decision on whether to approve the next phase of the project. The presentation could be in late February or early March, according to the mayor.
Meanwhile, if Greeley can be shown exploration activity in the watershed poses very little risk to the water supply, he would support it, but he says he’ll wait until he has all information available to him before he makes such a decision.
It is an impending decision of council. Thomas Resources has requested permission from the city to carry out mineral exploration in the Corner Brook Lakes Watershed area. Part of the research and analysis phase for a potential mining project, the exploration work is described as a low-impact stage of determining what resources exist and in what quantity.
The deadline to submit comments as part of the 45-day public consultation has passed, and Greeley said there was a fair bit of feedback received during that period. In fact, he and the rest of council were contacted by a number of citizens as part of a lobbying campaign to stop the activity.
The mayor said it is important for people taking a position on this issue to take an informed one. He hopes people would not become engrossed in the “rhetoric” implying the water supply is going to be contaminated.
“Those kinds of things just lead to fear in people,” Greeley said. “I would just try to encourage anybody to review the Watershed Management Plan and review the application — where they are looking to go and what they are looking to do. Those are the things council is compelled to do in its due diligence of making a decision.”
The city’s Watershed Management Plan and the proponent’s application are available at www.cornerbrook.com.
All information has been passed along to the city’s Watershed Management Committee for its review. The group now has to make its recommendation to council. Council will then bring it to a public meeting, debate it, and vote on whether to approve or decline the application. The vote was expected to occur in a public meeting in March.
Greeley said he has done his own research on the issue, has reviewed the application and the Watershed Management Plan, but he is waiting on the committee’s recommendation before coming to a final decision.
Any decision regarding a mine is a long way away, he said. A company would have to undertake a strict provincial environmental impact assessment, at a large cost to the proponent.