• John Jantak

MRC hires lawyer to prevent proposed mining activity in Vaudreuil-Soulanges


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

The Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC has retained the services of a lawyer in an attempt to prevent the provincial government from allowing mining companies to operate within its territory.

The Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges adopted a resolution at its monthly council meeting on February 26 to hire a lawyer in order to stop the provincial government from allowing mining activities to be conducted within the region.

The decision to take legal action was made in attempt to stop the provincial government from proceeding with plans that would allow companies to set up shop within the MRC.

MRC already prohibits mining

The resolution stated that while the MRC itself does not allow mining anywhere on its territory, according to the application of provincial government guidelines on mining activities, the MRC must authorize mining activities on Mont Rigaud and in the groundwater recharge areas such as in Saint-Lazare.

If proposed mining does go ahead, it would also contravene the recommendations of the province’s Comité consultatif agricole (CCA) to not allow mining in the region.

Mining law supersedes other laws

“The provincial law on mining is a very powerful law that overrules a lot of other laws,” said MRC Communications Director Simon Richard. “With this by-law, any mining company can come into Vaudreuil-Soulanges and proceed with mining activities. The position of the MRC is that we’re currently in the negotiation process for the Schema d’aménagement to ban all new mining activities in the territory.”

The mining law is so powerful that a company could put a claim against private property owners in the region. “A mining company can even put a claim on your house,” said Richard.

Vulnerability issues

He said there are already many constraints and vulnerability issues within the territory to preclude mining activities including major transit highways with commercial traffic, railroad tracks and oil pipelines. “Mining for us would be too much. We don’t want any mining. There’s no place for that in the territory,” said Richard.

One major concern is how mining activities could have a negative impact on the region’s underground aquifer system especially in Saint-Lazare where most of the aquifers are located. “We can’t take any chances with our water supply. It’s a really important matter for us,” said Richard. He couldn’t comment on the issue of potential mining on Mont Rigaud saying the matter is currently theoretical.

New mineral discoveries

Richard said province’s interest in mining within the region probably stems from continuous discoveries of new minerals and raw earths throughout the world. “We don’t know what new mineral or rare earth is going to be discovered. There’s a lot of money pouring in from around the world to find these new materials. These are the items that are powering our new technologies,” said Richard.

He reiterated that Vaudreuil-Soulanges wants a complete ban on all mining activities territory. “We don’t want a huge mining project that will destroy the landscape,” said Richard. “We usually don’t work on mining issues so this is all new to us. This is why we hired a specialized lawyer to handle the matter.”

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