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Star Lake

Letters to Parks from cottagers opposed to mining at Star Lake

Dear Joanne,
We are writing out of sheer alarm and distress! See photo below provided by a neighbour.
What is going on? I cannot believe this could be allowed to happen? How can this be okay? How will this affect the lake? How will this affect well water? How will this affect the wildlife? Will it still be quiet environment or do we now have to deal with noise and odours?  
Has someone  from your office been out to check on this work to see first hand the impact and the care or lack of care of the land and surroundings? The environment needs to be protected and the parks as well. This makes me think of what has happened to the rain forest in the interest of economy. What about our grandchildren? How can our Government permit this to happen?
Please please explain how this can be happening in a recreational area!!! Would this happen in the more affluent areas of the Whiteshell? If this was Falcon would you be trying to slide this past the residents? I would have expected a letter advising the leaseholders at Star Lake this was happening. Why did this not occur? 
We are looking for assurances that the lake water will not be contaminated or the levels impacted, that well water will not be impacted, that the quiet will not be disturbed by machinery and industry noise, that industry smells will not occur, wildlife will not diminish, that machinery will not be driven on the cottage bay roads putting children at risk and that the land will not be damaged as depicted in the picture below. We expect the regulations for this work to compel the mining company to repair the damage they have made and replant the trees they have destroyed. Please also confirm your department does follow up to ensure this occurs in a timely fashion (year of damage not years later). We would also like assurances that your have oversight of this work and that it is in person not virtual or on the phone. 
We would ask that you respond to the specific concerns identified and that your advise as to your oversight including whether there are on site checks. Please write back with a response to these concerns (not a form letter). This is far too grievous for a form letter.
With extreme sadness and despair. 
Debbie and Keith Halhead

The response from Park Specialist, Joanne Podolchuk:

Hello Debbie and Keith,
Thank you for your email outlining your concerns and bringing them to my attention. 
The area you are referring to west of Star lake is a mineral lease that was active prior to the inception of the park.  The Mineral company that owns this lease applied to do surface exploration within their leased area this past fall/winter.  The company made an application which was then reviewed by our Regional Management Team that consists of folks from Forestry, Environment, Fisheries, Enforcement, Parks, Mines, Crown Lands, Fires, Historic Resources and Indigenous Consultation. We all review the application, discuss and make a decision on the application. If approved, which in this case the work was, a park permit is generated for work to proceed. Part of the permit is inspections, which are typically handled by the Conservation Officers as they are the enforcement mechanism for parks. Inspections did note some deficiencies as well the spring melt does not aid in current esthetics of the access used, Parks is now working with the Conservation Officers on next steps to rectify the deficiencies noted.
Joanne Podolchuk / Park Specialist


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