Industry invades a beautiful farming community

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  1. Phonetic Phil says:

    Too bad the pictures can’t show the god awful smell of turpentine or diesel that seems to always exist by the mine. Is that (natural) gas station really operating effectively if there is constantly that kind of odor there? Some days it makes me want to puke.

    • doris smith says:

      Have you ever smelled pig manure when it is being spread. Seems to me it’s not only industry that has odors.

      • vernon says:

        No one will disagree that there aren’t other things with odors. But doesn’t industrial agriculture also qualify as industry?

        I’m happy to have learned about how Penobsquis has come to be thanks to those drawing attention to these issues. I believe a community’s single biggest asset second to its people is it’s history. There are so many gems like your village threatened by priorities that put communities second.

        And I think we’re finding out just how hard it is to get accountability at the local level. It seems too convenient that were told it’s just too expensive to do anything. What is allowing communities to be all they can be worth? It smells bad to me because it’s of benefit to be able to continue to say things like, “we’re looking out for your best interests”. It’s everywhere you look.

        A municipal water system without a municipality? “don’t worry you out there in the L.S.D.’s. Somebody will take care of you”
        “Where’s my community’s water system”, we others should say, right? Oh wait, we don’t really want one!

        The infrastructure is laid for continued industrial and other development that will continue to replace agricultural traditions, erode community, and alter the landscape.. with no local accountability. No public designs for Cardwell. No regional design. But don’t worry; the Ministers and bureaucrats are looking out for yours and my best interests.

        There’s another sector with it’s own distinct odour. It will always be there but I hope to God we’re not forever under the thumb of this broken arrangement.

        • jcollins says:

          Penobsquis never asked to become the poster child for what happens in “Sacrifice Zones,” It smells pretty bad to me too.

  2. doris smith says:

    One thing I would like to point out, there are only a few working farms left in the community of Penobsquis. What would our area be if it weren’t for industry moving in. I am sure that in the past, farming caused some discomfort to the community, that was before I moved here. We have and still have the largest pig farm in New Brunswick, and the odor from that operation is sometimes sickening and some people have expressed their concern of the water ways being polluted, but nothing is ever in the media about that

    • jcollins says:

      Then why don’t you step up and say something? It’s pretty easy to rave away on a web site, especially one that you should be supporting, not trashing.

  3. Beth Nixon says:

    The difference is when you move to a rural community you typically expect the smell of manure. You don’t expect the smell of turpentine or whatever it is.
    When I moved back here I knew there were farms – Didn’t know I was going to have to put up with all this other stuff. The smell’s the light and air pollution, the trucks, the noise from the grouting station, the rock chips from water trucks. I didn’t know I was going to be living in a place where there was mining subisdence, and that the ground was already being tracked as at moved sideways.
    When I moved here I was anxious to get back to well water – I didn’t expect to lose it. we had good water. I didn’t expect to see subisdence monitors put in and water monitoring stations set up and drills all over the place.
    Doris, when I think about our fight – I always thought I was fighting for you too! You used to come to all the meetings and have wanted to sell your house for a really long time. I assumed you thought the same things were de-valuing your house, and that you recognized there was likely some connection between the cracks in the foundation at the hall and subsidence.
    Making your employer pay for the damage they cause – well I’d be really surprised if it cost you your job. So why are you so opposed to people getting compensation for the damage caused to their homes? It could increase the value of your home, or at least make it easier to sell if there was a history of getting compensation for damage – Don’t you think?

    • doris smith says:

      Let me state this: you are not working for me. Another thing, never have I thought the cracks in the basement of the hall had anything to do with anything the mine has done. Those cracks were there when I joined the WI back in the late 80′s and have been there for years. That building is nearly one hundred years old!!!! Yes I came to some of the meetings, two, I believe; however, when water was being lost I appealed my taxes. My house was devalued at the time. This year, since we now have municipal water, I believe, the assessment on my home doubled!!!!!!. My main concern with the CPP is all the negativity surrounding the whole thing. People are being told not to buy houses in Penobsquis. This is a statement from a real estate company attempting to sell a house for someone in Penobsquis. Like cannot you find ONE postitive think about Penobsquis.

      • jcollins says:

        I have a history book that states the WI Hall is a work of art. When the contractors went in to make renovations in 1989 they found that the hall was so well built that EVERY SINGLE WALL was exactly as it was, not even one mm difference of what it was 70 years before.
        If it needs work now, then something happened that didn’t happen in the 70 previous years.

  4. beth norrad says:

    How often have you heard about what “good corporate neighbours” they are. Let me tell you just how much they care about you. We had to give the Government and PotashCorp a 2 week extension so that all of their expert witnesses could get back from vacation. Tonight, the Friday before the hearing on Monday, we received official notice that OUR request for an adjournment has been denied, although they were “sympathetic”. SYMPATHETIC? Beth Nixon is set to testify for the first week but her Mother, Jayne McQuinn, who has been fighting for this community for years, will be undergoing surgery on Monday, with Beth at her side.

    Shame on them. I can only hope they treat their own Mothers better than they are treating ours. or God help them.

  5. beth norrad says:

    Concerning the pig farm – I lived about as far away as Norton when the tragedy at Walkerton happened and trust me, it was a terrifying time. As usual, irresponsible human error was to blame. We have never been against the development of our natural resources but somebody had to put the brakes on what was going on here.

    “That’s when a small village became a lot like a mini Texas,” says Bruce Northrup, the Progressive Conservative MLA for Kings East. “Gas pads were being established, big 18-wheelers running around 24-hours-a-day, flames coming out of gas stacks, lighting up the whole village.”

    “We understand that (losing water) wasn’t their fault, but it’s not our fault either,” Stephen Battah, executive director of community funding and technical services with the Department of Local Government

    “With the wealth of natural resources in the ground beneath the village, what’s happening in Penobsquis—home of the province’s only potash and natural gas production operations—is like a sweepstakes or a lottery… Everyone is hoping to have a strike on their land so they have guaranteed source of revenue coming in…” Graham says his government has a responsibility to maximize the resources within the province for the benefit of all citizens, but acknowledges the development in Penobsquis has encroached on people’s lives. Shawn Graham.

    “…in 2005 the province wanted to prove where the water went, but didn’t have the money to conduct a study so PotashCorp was asked to undertake it. The Department of Natural Resources and the mine had a whole series of e-mails about whether they were going to include the study results under the Mining Act or the Oil and Gas Act because they wanted to put it under the act that would provide the mine with the most protection about their information. The community can’t get a copy of that study because it contains proprietary information to the mine.” Beth Nixon CCP

  6. rob macgibbon says:

    I have worked on farms, lived in rural communities, worked in mines, and never have I smelled anything as bad as that liquid pig manure.

    The gravel pits seem like they would hurt the aquifers much worse than deep mining.

  7. Beth Nixon says:

    Unfortunately people were being told not to buy homes long before we went public with the subsidence information.
    I’m truly sorry you can’t sell your house – but you can’t expect people to be quiet about the real damages and losses they are facing … we did that for a few years after we learned about the subsidence but still people weren’t buying houses on the market – like yours.
    Even if I could sell my house I think it would be really unfair to anyone buying it if I didn’t tell them about the subsidence issue….I also think I could be held legally responsible if I didn’t. It is a very unfortunate situation – for all of the community. I know you are at an end that isn’t as affected as up near me….but still. It’s too bad this has happened to this beautiful little community….but we can’t bury our heads in the sand and deny it.

  8. I live here Also says:

    Something positive about Penobsquis: Well lets see, the Heavy Truck Traffic, the rush our traffic from the mine,the Roaring and Grinding of the Grouting Station 24 hours a day, every day. Cardwell Farms pollution of the McLeod brook with the run off from it composting pile of dead fish and rotting animal parts. The God awful smell of Pig Manure, I know the have to do something with it but really, Can they not do something else. The flaring of Gas Wells and the constant flare at the Gas Processing Plant, the garbage that is all over the road, I am tired of picking up other peoples garbage off of my lawn. If the RCMP want to crack down on Drinking and Driving the need to sit out on the Picadilly Road and do something about it. If you were in to picking bottles ,there is a road you can make a fortune on. The fact that our community has been split between those who want Justice and those who are willing to sit idly by and watch their neighbour suffer endlessly because of Corporate GREED. Thats just my opinion for whats it worth. What is positive about all of that. Yes in the begining it was a nice place, a place I thought I would grow old and retire in, NOT anymore. Where did the Penobsquis I moved to disapear to, Down a sink hole, call PCS! Wake up people, don’t take every word a Company publishes as Gospel. Companies look after their shareholder, not the communities the operate in.

  9. Heavens! says:

    I’ve watched the Seaboard transport trucks filled with Penobsquis’s water pass my house starting around 1996. I always wondering how long this could be sustained. It was no surprise to me when the media started reporting problems with resident’s water wells in that area about five years ago. I knew where all the water was going, right past my house to the abandonded PCS mine at Cassidy Lake.

    I don’t think most tax payers in this province would be happy to know they paid 10 million dollars to install a municipal water system to fix a problem that a billion dollar corporation created, it’s no wonder your tax assessment doubled. Heavens!

    The injustices going on in Penobsquis are just too long and heart breaking to list on this post, but throwing in a comment on the smell of pig manure can’t be ignored. Quit with the red herrings…the smell of manure is not the issue here, industry’s treatment of this community is.

  10. I was curious about the mining commissioner complaint process so I went to Sussex today to observe. There was an independent filmmaker there who wanted to film the process but the PCS lawyer objected. I thought that strange as it was a public hearing and there was audio recording of the hearings being done that both sides had agreed to. It’s not much of a difference between the two. My first thought – What does PCS have to hide? I noticed a considerable amount of sparring between the two sides, something that could have been avoided with more openness on the part of PCS’s lawyer, Mr Zed. A report on subsidence that had been written by a professor hired by PCS, probably as a requirement for the government, has been a document requested by the complainants. A copy was produced by Mr Zed who indicated that the government had not officially requested PCS permission to release it to the residents of Penobsquis. One would think that a good corporate citizen would have given this already. Now I understand that a mining commissioner in New Brunswick may not have many cases to adjudicate, but listening to him pondering whether he had the right to request documents from the government was a little disconcerting. As a quasi-judicial official who can throw people into jail, that did not inspire me that he will take a pro-active role in seeking out any and all evidence that will lead to the truth in this matter. I hope that I am wrong. One has to wonder why our government does not take the matter a little more seriously. Here will have a multi-billion dollar corporation who has received a royalty holiday from the province worth $35 million dollars every year for 20 years and that amounts to a present worth of $400 million dollars. By ignoring these citizens, we lost faith in the previous Liberal government and unless the present government acts, we can imagine a day that fracking will be opposed by a significant majority of people who don’t trust our government to defend our rights as they haven’t done for the people of Penobsquis. In addition, the royalties that we receive in New Brunswick are considerably less than in Saskatchewan, if I understand correctly. Do we live in a banana republic where the government is a captive of industry? It appears to be the case. The fact that professors study subsidence related to mining is because it happens. These studies talk about these issues as a normal course of events that typically do not affect people because most mines are usually in very isolated areas. However, here we have people living above the mine. One of the common practices of companies is to delay and deny responsibility for problems associated with their mines and let those affected deal with them. Let’s hope that PCS sees the value of reaching an agreement with those whose life has been greatly affected. Should we allow a corporation like this to mine our resources in our province? Something to think about…

  11. jcollins says:

    The tax payers did not pay $10,000,000 to supply a handful of people with water. The tax payers paid $10,000,000 to supply PotashCorp with water. All we ever hear about is 60 homes, never the fact that each house could have been put on a cistern for a fraction of the cost. But cisterns are placed underground and would soon go the way of the septic tanks – just more proof of subsidence. And it is always reported that PotashCorp and the government supplied the residents with water. Well, considering the Company paid 1/10 of the cost, and their contribution to supplying water consisted bottles of drinking water only, then I’d say they got a pretty sweet deal, yet again. But you have to give their public relations department credit. For years now all of the blame has been put on the “ungrateful”, “angry”, “noisy” residents of Penobsquis. The squeaky wheel gets the oil though so keep on squeaking!

  12. I live here Also says:

    A rural community being turned into an Industrial Park. Corridor estimates between 250-300 Well sites by the time they are finished with Cardwell/Penobsquis. 250-300 of them in a 2-5 klm radius of the Village of Penobsquis. That alone is enough to turn anyone off from buying a house in Penobsquis or surrounding area. Do you really think one silly little web site is the reason for the drop in property value? Give your head a shake. Penobsquis has sooooooo many problems, to many to list and I don’t have the time today to list them all. Hang a FOR SALE sign on my lawn, but under the circumstances who would buy. Not anyone who researched Penobsquis.
    Just my opinion, CCR&F, FF 2b)

  13. why complain you have better water now than before. who cares. my house never moved.gravel pits should be the main concern here.

  14. good water now. to many gravel pits. who cares anyway.

    • dai williams says:

      With all due respect Mr. Van de Brand, there are a lot of people who care, and because you are on the Back Road, and not over top of the mine, you are still enjoying your well water. I agree that the 22 gravel pits in Penobsquis which now replace the grazing fields are a tragedy. And yes, we do have a water supply now, but 2 years later there is still no well field protection, which doesn’t seem to bother anyone but the CCP. If they want to do something like put a gas well beside it, there are no “rules and regulations” in place to stop them. And although it too was promised 2 years ago, there is no backup water supply if this one becomes contaminated. That is why many of those who lost their wells still have their water tanks, just in case. And Industry and Government must agree. No one has ever come for the tanks.

  15. Bernie Fry says:

    I guess if it’s not your house no one can force you to care. If it was your house suffering from subsidence wouldn’t you care?

    Most people lost good water, and have had it replaced with poorer quality water in their opinions.

  16. Concerned Citizen of Dutch Valley says:

    So much posturing…so much division. It is heart breaking to think a beautiful, once prosperous and thriving community, can be reduced to this…with neighbour against neighbour, friend against friend…all the while becoming more and more the centre of an industrial site: noise, traffic, bad air quality, wells drying up, septic systems compromised, foundations cracking and so on. If the industrialization of idylic rural communities has to take place for the sake of jobs and progress, at least don’t add insult to injury by making the local residents pay for their own losses. Where is the justice in this and why is anyone arguing against fair treatment and a right and just compensation package? Makes no sense people!!!! Wake up and support one another.
    PS: to all of you who are acting like you’ve already been bought off (could it be????)…if the CCP is successful and is granted a compensation package…I hope the rest of you are not caught standing line to get yours. (Double pun intended)

    • jcollins says:

      To all the people who are fighting the CCP:

      If you had stood up for your children and grandchildren in the first place, then this website would never have existed. Why would you sit back and accept the crap you have been given without saying a word? Where were you in the ’90′s when the first springs went dry? Where were you when one well after another went dry in 2004? 60 wells dry, an entire community lost, and yet you still sat back and let it happen? What is wrong with you people that you would allow the government and the Oil and Gas Industry to take your water, your homes, your future. You say that you can’t say anything because you might lose your jobs at the mines. Well frankly, if my employer held the health of my children over my head vs a pay check, then this is not the “Good Corporate Neighbour” I need in my backyard. Children’s Health vs Corporate Profit going to the United States? Wow, where are your priorities? How can you put the threats from your boss ahead of your children’s and grandchildren’s well being? What is going to be left for them? Don’t you care that the air that they are breathing is toxic? Don’t you care that your children no longer have an inheritance? Don’t you care that pretty much everyone in Penobsquis dies of cancer? Shame on you. You are as much to blame as Government and Industry because you just sat back and let it happen.
      This is for you Doris and Fred and all the other people in Penobsquis who are using this site to defend Industry while helping them place the blame anywhere but where it should be. If you had stood up for your rights in the first place instead of hiding behind a billion dollar industry, then your children and grandchildren might have been able to enjoy this community, like the 8 generations before them.

  17. i don,t live on the back road. i live just above the mine had to ration my water too. my property value didn.t go down

  18. i will stand my own ground

    • Bernie Fry says:

      I’m confused Fred – are you saying you will stand your own ground against the Mine?

  19. Muchacho says:

    You’ve got a great blog there keep it up. I’ll be watching out for most posts.

  20. bluebullfish says:

    i wounder what penobsquis or sussex would be without the mine….i think if there was no mine in penobsquis there would be no jobs for people in penobquis or sussex and area! your talking about your future for your kids! well there would be no future for your kids if there are no jobs, without the mine your house would be worth nothing! the mine has gave us good paying jobs in the area… look how sussex has changed the last 25 years more business moved in more stores more jobs, the house values went up in penobsquis more homes are being built.
    i have traveled all over NB and i seen some very poor areas , a community of welfare!

  21. bluebullfish says:

    we are very well off here compare to other places in nb. if you cant sell your house well maybe you should not talk about the bad things so much and you are hurting other people that want to sell their house too! but these days people dont want to buy a old house anymore….change is good people! penobsquis would be dead without the mine and no walmart in sussex! change is good!
    we have good water now in penobsquis…before alot of people had no good water some people had no wells just a hole in the ground some people had salt in their water. now that we have a water system everyone has good water and is tested!

  22. bluebullfish says:

    before i had the new water system i had alot of scours and diarrhea …now we have the new water system i feel great! i have water even when the power is out now and my power and fire insurance went down and my property has gone up! …if you dont like to live in penobsquis then move! yes the gravel pits look like a mess they should be fixed up and not left like that! i dont know why the goverment tell them people to fix up there gravel pits when they are done a area…just get a bulldozer and fix the area up when you are done with it…trees and other plants will grow there again in time! yes plants and trees will grow in gravel! in my opinion about the pig smell..they should never let them have a pig farm in penobsuis…there is not much land in penobsuis and too many rivers in streams in the area ,poor planning there!
    have a nice day!

  23. beth norrad says:

    I have just listened to Bruce Northrup, Minister of Natural Resources, announce that Goliath is going to do it again by inviting a potash mine to take another community’s water. Good luck Millstream and start planning what you are going to do now that you have been named the new Sacrifice Zone. MONITOR YOUR WELLS NOW AND DOCUMENT EVERYTHING! TAKE PICTURES OF YOUR FOUNDATIONS, MEASURE YOUR ROOF LINES, HAVE YOUR WATER TESTED BY A COMPANY WITH NO ASSOCIATION WITH INDUSTRY OR GOVERNMENT. Beth Nixon was even asked by Goliath if she could prove she ever even had a well. Also take pictures of this beautiful part of the country so that you can show your children and grandchildren what it was like before your government sold it to Big Business. If you have been following the 10 year battle that has been going on here then you know that you will receive NO support from your government. My heart goes out to you.