Fortune Minerals pitches town council on proposed plant in Saskatchewan
Company passed provincial environmental assessment for plant near Saskatoon in February
CORMAN PARK, Sask.—Representatives of a mineral plant have met with a Saskatchewan regional municipality about its proposed processing plant.
Fortune Minerals Ltd. went to a meeting with the council of the Rural Municipality of Corman Park to discuss rezoning for the plant near Langham, Sask.
Residents with concerns about the plant have been vocal throughout a public review process by the provincial government in 2012 and in town hall meetings held by Fortune Minerals in the affected communities.
In February, the Ministry of Environment announced that the Fortune Minerals Ltd. proposal had passed an environmental assessment.
The company’s next step is to seek rezoning approval from Corman Park to change the land purchased for the plant from agricultural to industrial.
The presentation was the company’s first time officially answering questions from the councillors who will decide whether to move the project forward.
“I think council has done their homework on this issue and they brought up a lot of good points as far as the future legacy of this project and I think they are asking the questions that need to be asked,” said Jesse Todd, a member of the Saskatchewan Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and a resident of the area.
“We have a very strong concern about the long-term effects of handling these minerals. The health effects it could have for workers and for public health.”
Bryan Carroll also walked away from the presentation with more questions.
“I think there was a lot of factual information provided and I think there was a lot of good questions asked. A lot of the concerns have to do with the length of time the chemical residue will stay behind,” he said.
“A lot of information that was given in response to the questions had to do with computer simulations. My issue with computer simulations is that the output is only as good as the input.”
Ken Crush attended the meeting as a member of the Fortune Minerals Issue Group, who have been holding meetings in the community to oppose the project.
“I think that it was a valuable presentation to hear. It was valuable for the council to hear. I think it was valuable for our residents to hear because now we have further questions. They didn’t answer some of our questions and now they’ve raised more questions for us to ask,” Crush said, adding that the issue is a tense one for the community.
“We have people who are for it and people who are against it and it. It’s kind of causing some splits within the community so there is a lot of emotional strains.”
Crush said it is important that people in the area keep asking questions and voicing concerns to their councillors.
“What we have to do as residents who are uncomfortable about the issue is make sure that we keep questioning them with good valid questions and try to stay as unemotional as possible but make sure we have the facts and make sure we are asking some good questions,” he said.