Raising concerns about the environmental assessment reviews of the Vivian Sands processing plant and mine.
Monday November 30, I asked, in Question Period, about the environmental assessment reviews which are ongoing with respect to the Vivian Sands Project near Anola Manitoba. The Company CanWhite Sands is proposing to build a mine to take sand from within the Aquifer and to process the sand and water slurry so that the sand can be sold for various purposes including for fracking. The mine and the processing plant are very closely linked, yet the company has chosen to submit the plant plan for an environmental assessment review first. In the latest responses to public comments, which were posted November 5, many of the answers to questions raised were answered with a response which said the answers will "be fully described in the upcoming Vivian Sand Extraction Project Environment Act Proposal". I asked the Minister whether it was her intention to wait for the second review before providing the license for the plant, since so many of the answers to questions about the plant depend on the assessment of the mine. We have received many hundreds of signatures on petitions raising concerns about the environmental impact of the mine and plant, and many are concerned the province might approve the plant prematurely without having the full information on the mine. My question and the Minister's response is below:
Vivian Sand Project - Timeline for Reviews
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, a sand mine and plant are proposed at Vivian, just west of Anola. As this material I table shows, in their most recent reply to public comments on the plant, many of the questions are answered by CanWhite Sands with a note saying the answer will have to wait for the environmental assessment proposal for the mine.
I ask the minister: When will the review of the mine start, and is it the government's intention that the plant won't proceed until the mine review is also completed because of the many unanswered questions from the plant review which now depend on the environmental assessment of the mine?
Hon. Sarah Guillemard (Minister of Conservation and Climate): I thank the member for the question.
Madam Speaker, our government has some of the most strict environmental processes to follow for any companies that wish to invest in our province, and we will continue to uphold that strict process and make sure that our environment is cared for and our economics are grown.