Natural resource development is the economic backbone of the country and this province and we are a “have-province” because of this. Corner Brook was built on natural resource development and our work at Corner Brook Lake, if successful, will present the city of Corner Brook with the opportunity to develop and benefit from another natural resource in a responsible manner.
Our exploration plans have been reviewed and approved by all of the appropriate government departments and agencies and our plans comply with the terms of the Corner Brook Watershed Management Plan. The proposal that city council has before them now is for us to drill 21 holes to collect rock core samples, which will be tested for mineral quality and quantity. This information will then be added to the surface information we already have to determine if the development of a garnet/kyanite quarry is environmentally, socially and economically viable. We have many mitigations in place to ensure that this project will be environmentally responsible. For example, we have committed to transporting fuel and supplies via helicopter to reduce our footprint. Crews will be trained in all environmental protection procedures and will travel using existing logging trails in the area. Spill kits will be at every drill site. The list of extra measures we have taken is extensive, because we care about the community and environment in which we work.
The approval of this drilling proposal does not obligate city council to approve the next phase of exploration, as has been suggested.
This process demonstrates the high standard of due diligence that city council is demanding on your behalf and we are not only willing to comply but happy to comply. We want a responsible project as much as you do. What this drilling program will provide is the data to determine whether or not a quarry is viable and what we are asking for is the opportunity to give council and the residents of Corner Brook the information you need to make an informed decision.
Roughly 90 citizens attended the public information session we held on Feb. 28. We were very happy to see so many people interested in learning more about the project. However, the number of people attending represents less than one-half of one per cent of the city’s population.
We feel it is important that the majority of citizens of Corner Brook understand the facts about this proposed drilling as a decision is being made, hence the reason for this letter to you.
At the public information session, about 12 to 15 Grenfell students were in attendance, a number of which were collecting information for a class project. Most of the students I spoke to were not opposed to responsible resource development and understood the need for data collection. Furthermore, a total of seven individuals asked me how they could apply for a job with us. A total of 26 attendees who I spoke to directly endorsed our project and thought it would be good for the city.
A total of 11 individuals advised me directly that they were fundamentally opposed to the development. We received 30 comments/questions which ranged from vulgar to thoughtful. We are responding to all those who have requested a response and we are happy that every person who submitted a question or comment will receive additional information about the drilling program.
Many of the complaints I received personally and those stated in the media were around the format of the information session, not about the content or the level of detail of the information. Some wanted a formal presentation where they could voice their opinion on the development. We chose to host a session focused around information sharing, where people had direct one-on-one access to company representatives engaged in this project.
There was opportunity to pose any question to myself (project lead), our environmental manager, our project geologist, a senior VP from Pennecon and two representatives from Stantec, who were undertaking environmental and geological work on this proposed project. The setup of the session allowed for open and honest conversations, while providing information that people could take with them. We wanted to provide information to people in a variety of ways they were comfortable with — direct conversation, visual aids, take-away handouts, and an anonymous (if desired) comment box. We wanted to really interact with the community.
Thomas Resources and Pennecon Limited are asking that council assess this application based on the terms set out in its own watershed management plan. We are willing to let this project stand on its own merits and we believe it is council’s duty to do the same. I hope you would expect nothing less of your council.
Rod Mercer, P. Geo., Thomas Resources Inc.