The Municipality of Pictou County recently supported a motion to send a letter opposing the location of a proposed dredge management site in Toney River to government officials.
District 4 Coun. Mary Elliott put a motion forward during a recent property services meeting to send a letter to the Department of Fisheries, Central Nova MP Sean Fraser and Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane asking that the proposed site be moved to another location.
“The proposed location is in the heart of our community of Toney River, near several homes, cottages and close to the main road,” she told council members. “Residents are concerned about the effects this will have on their community in regard to the mess on the road, smell, their wells, harm to our farmland and the unsightly mess it will cause.”
Dredging at Toney River is required to ensure the safe navigability and berthage of vessels at Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Small Craft Harbours (SCH) facilities. Like many harbours, dredging is required at Toney River in the spring of each year to support the fishing industry and provide harbour access.
In Nova Scotia, DFO is subject to provincial regulations and standards to dispose of dredge materials from harbour basins and channels. DFO is in the process of acquiring a property in Toney River to develop a Dredge Material Management Site, including a containment cell.
The site was selected for its proximity to the harbour. As Toney River harbour is dredged in the spring when road weight restrictions are in place, reduced trucking activity makes this site the most practical and economically feasible option.
Any containment cells and facilities built and operated by the Department follow applicable federal and provincial regulations. As well, DFO is committed to working with Indigenous organizations and local stakeholders throughout the process.
At Toney river, approximately half of the dredged materials will be placed along the eastern shoreline for beach nourishment. The rest of the material will be put in the proposed new containment cell, which is currently the only viable option for the management of the harbour’s dredge materials.
Coun. Elliott said she has been working with MP Fraser on the issue and a petition with more than 100 names has been sent to him and DFO opposing the site’s location.
“In the event that we get this proposed site changed, I am willing to work with our fishers to find a proper location for the disposal of this dredged material,” she said.