Go ahead. Say it again. We dare you.
Each time our sincere and heartfelt efforts to protect our families, our community and our environment are met with scorn and cries of “nimby”, know this: You add plates to our armour. In this fight, we’ve come to view this term as a badge of honour. WE ARE NIMBY.
We fight for Coniston, for the Wahnapitae River, for Lake Wahnapitae, for Daisy Lake, for Richard Lake, for MacFarlane, for Long Lake. We fight for drinking water for the City of Sudbury. We fight for our wildlife. We fight for our children’s right to grow-up with clean air to breathe and clean earth to play on. We fight for Sudbury.
Knowledge is power. We grow mightier by the day. If you aren’t concerned about the short and long-term effects of a chromite smelter being placed directly on and beside our neighbourhoods and on fragile watersheds and recovering greenspaces, you haven’t been paying attention. Chromite is not nickel. This is not just “another smelter”. This is a chemical that, when oxidized, turns into CrVI (Hexavalent chromium). Hexavalent chromium is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Group 1 agent. Other Group 1 agents include: tobacco smoke and asbestos.
Though modern smelting practices claim to mitigate the effects, there are gaps and unknowns and human exposure to Hexavalent chromium cannot be 100% prevented nor can public safety be guaranteed. There is a reason that there are no other chromite smelters in North America. There is a reason the smelter in Finland is far removed from the town and sits on the edge of the Baltic Sea (and not small, local waterways). Researchers in Finland are still trying to determine the environmental and health affects of their chromite processing plant. They have determined that the areas surrounding the plant have significantly increased levels of Hexavalent chromium and more recently, arsenic. We have reached out to them about our unique situation. They are worried for us.
In addition to chromium, Noront divulged that the smelter will be a significant contributor of CO2 emissions making up about 2% of all of Ontario’s industrial sector’s CO2 emissions.
Sudbury has become a vital hub in the north for Education, Healthcare, Research and Entertainment. We continue to grow in these new and green ways and we all need to support Sudbury’s growth in this direction in order to build a healthy and sustainable community.
Our backyard IS the Greater City of Sudbury and we will no longer sit silent and have the health and wellness of our community traded for commerce. Enough is enough.
To Noront: Not in my backyard.