The Saving the St. Mary’s: Salmon, Scenery and Safeguards event was held Saturday, Sept. 28, at the People’s Place Library. How is that for alliteration?
Grammar creativity aside, the event was a serious affair with presentations outlining concerns around a proposed gold mine in the Cochrane Hills area, near the St. Mary’s River in the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s.
Presentations came from representatives of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Nova Scotia Nature Trust, Ecology Action Centre and the St. Mary’s River Association (SMRA).
Giving the presentation on behalf of SMRA was president Scott Beaver, who also did a similar one during an Antigonight related event at Piper’s Pub on Sept. 12.
Saturday’s event was fantastic; I think there were about 40 people there,” Beaver said, talking to the Casket a couple of days later.
“We’re really happy with the turnout and we’ll continue to keep moving forward.”
Moving forward includes pushing the #NOPE campaign, as in No Open Pit Excavation on the St. Mary’s River.
“The best way people can follow us is on our St. Mary’s River Association Facebook account; we’re documenting everything on our blog,” Beaver said in regards to the campaign.
He also talked about two events coming up in the Halifax area later this month; an Oct. 18 rally (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) outside the Alt Hotel at the Halifax Airport which will be hosting a gold show, and then a book launch the following day at St. Andrew’s United Church in Halifax for MiningWatch Canada co-founder Joan Kuyek’s new book Unearthing Justice: How to Protect Your Community from the Mining Industry.
The 1 to 2:30 p.m. launch will be followed by a panel discussion on “sustainable alternatives to mining.”
“We’ve been helping organize those events, so we’re definitely going to be there with our #NOPE signs,” Beaver said. “The most important one there, for me, which I think will have a big bang, is the protest we’re going to have outside the Alt Hotel.”
On Sept. 30, the province announced it was “designating 17 new and expanded protected areas around the province.”
Among those, once consultation and survey work is complete, is the St. Mary’s River Provincial Park in Guysborough and Pictou counties.
In a SMRA release, Beaver applauded the decision.
“This is a wonderful day. The creation of these new protected areas validates the ecological importance of places like the St. Mary’s River. I am very pleased that the provincial government recognizes this importance and has acted accordingly.”
He added the SMRA looks forward to the creation of more protected areas.
“Together we can and will protect these important ecosystems for the present and future generations.”
Asked what the new designation might mean for the proposed gold mine and the campaign opposing it, Beaver said he is “not really sure” at this point.
“More protected properties are a really huge positive for the St. Mary’s River,” he said. “One would only think this announcement would help our efforts to stop the mine.”