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LETTER TO EDITOR: Athabasca resident says sand mining meeting was more propaganda than information

opinion

A small vague ad that ran in the back of the newspaper advertising a public meeting about the proposed sand mining facility and scheduled in the middle of a workday on Dec 10 caught us off guard. Then, by the time people had this first exposure absorbed, Christmas is coming up, when most are busy with other things and have no time to really think about all this.  

Certainly, this all gets done by design at times; what better way to meet the minimum regulatory requirements and start sliding through the process. It is unfortunate that no one local the reporter asked to quote were willing to be quoted in the article before the paper filled the front-page last week with some fluffy statements from the AMI staff.  

Sure, it sounds good when they advertise their lesser carbon footprint by mining sand here to get an edge on the market in Canada versus their competition in Wisconsin. Scott Clark didn’t say much about the on-the-ground footprint of open pit mining on around 1,000 acres or more for the next 20 to 30 years next to acreages and the county’s largest country residential zone.  

When I read about the consultation fluff, it left a sick feeling in my stomach. Again, sure sounds good of them to share information and be sensitive to Indigenous communities around here. What about contacting the neighbors across the road?  

AMI’s public meeting format was designed, advertised and set up in their favor; the true intentions for mining lands and overall impacts were understated, responses to specific questions were in many cases inconsistent, unprofessional and at times insulting.  

Clark’s comment that normally only about 30 to 60 people attend and that this was such a good turnout, makes me wonder. Maybe he is used to smaller pits further north on Crown land or it’s just reluctance to admit that the magnitude of this project surrounded by a populated area warrants the attention of more people than turned up for this meeting.  

AMI hasn’t introduced themselves very well when proposing this project, certainly not to the folks next to the land that they are interested in. The closing remarks from Dana Archibald that we have a passionate, engaged community that cares don’t really match with what AMI has presented themselves to be.  

I sure hope that the local powers for potential approval will see through the fluff and realize the true impacts to the neighbors and neighborhoods affected. 

Helmut Roeben

Athabasca




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