Sandy Pond, once a pristine, beautiful lake on the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, Canada, now lies within the boundaries of one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest industrial sites.
The VALE nickel processing facility is under construction now at Long Harbour, Newfoundland. The Federal Government of Canada has given VALE, and other mining companies, permission to use healthy bodies of Canadian freshwater lakes and ponds as “tailings impoundment areas” for toxic waste. They achieved this because of a loophole, known as Schedule 2, in the Metal Mining Effluent Regulation (MMER) of the federal Fisheries Act.
In March 2010 the Sandy Pond Alliance launched a legal challenge against the Federal Government of Canada to declare Schedule 2 in violation of the federal Fisheries Act.
The Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice is part of the Sandy Pond Alliance, a coalition of concerned citizens fighting to protect Sandy Pond. The Alliance includes the Council of Canadians, Mining Watch, Nature Canada, the Newfoundland and Labrador Natural History Society, Sierra Club Atlantic, and scientists and activists in Newfoundland who are concerned with the imminent destruction of Sandy Pond.
How It All Began
In May of 2009, the local Chapter of the Council of Canadians organized the Sandy Pond Picnic to bring attention to the issue of the intended destruction of Sandy Pond by the Brazilian mining company Vale Inco as part of their Long Harbour Nickel Processing Plant development. On Friday, May 8, 2009, nearly 20 people visited Long Harbour and trekked into Sandy Pond. After that event several people including activists, academics and community members decided to meet regularly to discuss possible ways to prevent the destruction of Sandy Pond.
1.To protect and conserve Canadian waters and their ecosystems; and
2.To take appropriate actions to assist the Alliance in fulfilling its purpose, including promoting and recommending laws and policies, and informing and engaging the public; and
3.To join and/or co-operate with other organizations or institutions with similar purposes.
Sister Mary Tee RSM, coordinator of the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice in St. Johns, Newfoundland serves on the Board of the Sandy Pond Alliance. This Board is still working to save Sandy Pond. In the event that construction on the nickel processing plant may proceed too quickly to save Sandy Pond before a successful ruling on the legal challenge is obtained there is still the hope of saving other bodies of fresh water from a similar fate by changing the law.
Mary Tee rsm recently visited Sandy Pond and was interviewed for “The Current” on CBC radio.
To hear Mary Tee’s interview, click here
Messages to: Mary Tee rsm