Proposed access road worries cabin owners

Andrew Robinson
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Cite negative impact on environment, enjoyment of wilderness

Brothers Jason and Jeff Ivany have enjoyed the great outdoors in the Salmonier Line area for as long as they can remember. They now jointly own a small off-the-grid cabin near Tobins Pond that once belonged to their grandfather.

“I’d say my diapers were changed in there,” said Jeff Ivany. “Our grandfather has been taking us over those barrens hunting and fishing all our lives, so we kind of grew up in that area.”

Ayla Ivany looks over land located near her family’s cabin along the Salmonier Line. Her father Jason is worried what a proposed mineral exploration access road will mean for the area. — Submitted photo

Both men have their own children now to explore the land with, but they worry a proposed 11-kilometre access road near Big Triangle Pond for mineral exploration will spoil that experience.

Eagleridge International Ltd. has applied to the Department of Environment and Conservation to build the road to access an exploration site in the Big Triangle Pond area. The company has been searching for gold and copper there on and off for the last 25 years.

Company CEO Albert Chislett, who spoke with The Telegram Sunday, said so long as his company complies with government regulations for exploration and road building, there should be no problems.

“Each year there’s something like 100 kilometres of (access) roads constructed in Newfoundland, so it’s not something that’s unheard of, that type of road,” he said. “We’re trying to avoid crossing bog lands coming off Salmonier Line and in different locations, so the road will allow us to do that.”

He contends building a road straight through the middle of land where Eagleridge has rights for mineral exploration is the best solution with the lowest impact on the environment. A plan is also in place to decommission the road and dismantle it in the event exploration work proves to be fruitless.

Those words would not alleviate the concerns of the Ivanys, who recently created a Facebook page to encourage other cabin owners in the area to ask government not to approve the road. According to Jason Ivany, the winter poses a challenge for getting in touch with cabin owners.

“You can’t bring a petition around and have easy access to let these people know what’s going on,” he said.

Jason was aware of past exploration activity in the area, but argues such activity will pale in comparison to what will happen if the access road is approved.

“Our immediate concerns, one from a cabin owner perspective, was the amount of noise and disruption (we will face) in what is now a peaceful and enjoyable place,” said Jeff Ivany. “As land users, people who hunt and fish, what are going to be our access rights as far as being able to go in and trout fish, Ski-Doo, hunt? I rabbit hunt with my two dogs over there. We moose hunt there.”

A hunter and recreational fisherman, Chislett said he can understand where those concerns are coming from.

“I think where their concerns are is that it will make access very easy for other people who want to do the same things they want to do,” he said, noting the road will have a locked gate. “I’ve had those concerns myself over the years when I’ve had favourite hunting or fishing areas, but I realize in the end that everybody has a right to any areas in Newfoundland for that type of activity.”

The Ivanys are also concerned about the road’s potential to negatively affect the salmon populations of North Arm River and Salmonier River.

“This road will go right into these watersheds and into the spawning grounds,” said Jeff Ivany. “You have high potential for fuel leaks and also silt that’s going to be generated from the road.”

According to an environmental preview reported submitted last month by Eagleridge to government, culverts will be installed to ensure natural drainage. Chislett disputes the notion his proposed road would harm salmon populations. He said most of the popular salmon rivers in the province are exposed to much more traffic than the access road will deal with.

“These are prolific rivers with 70,000 or 80,000 salmon going up in them. That doesn’t have any affect on the river. We’re not developing to that level. This is just a road crossing a brook inside the head waters of the North Arm River with a bailey bridge on it. As far as the Salmonier head waters, we’re nowhere near that.”

The Department of Environment and Conservation is accepting comments on the environmental preview report — which can be found on its website — until March 28. The minister is due to render a decision by April 7.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew



Organizations: Department of Environment and Conservation, International, Ski-Doo

Geographic location: Newfoundland, North Arm River, Salmonier River

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Recent comments

  • Jeff Ivany
    March 10, 2014 - 08:18

    This is more than about the road, what about the drilling and trenching that will take place 1km from the road over a six year period. He is in the headwaters of Salmonier river, he need to read his maps review his exploration area, this speaks about his lack of concern for the area.!! We are not against more access for hunter s and fishers but what about the thousands that hunt, fish and ski-doo now!! I'm sure with a locked gate hunters will not be allowed in his exploration zone to hunt and fish!! This road will restrict access not increase it. It is important to note and was left out that this exploration will take place on the boundaries of the nature park and Avalon wilderness area

  • Wilderness Lover
    March 10, 2014 - 08:05

    Surely you must be joking Mr. Chislett?? On the one hand you say that anyone has the right to access these types of areas for recreational activities, but then you want to put a road through the area destroying the very qualities that attract people there in the first place? This whole thing sounds like a bad idea to me and should be stopped in it's tracks.

  • Steve Sutton
    March 10, 2014 - 07:24

    Chislett claims that there should be no problems with his road. But he seems to be completely oblivious to the fact that there are hundreds of cabin owners and people from the surrounding communities who use this remote and relatively pristine area for backcountry recreation year-round. His road will come within 500m of some cabins that are currently miles from any road and accessible only by ATV or boat (because that’s how the owners want it), and his drilling activity will come within 500m of some cabins on the Salmonier Line. Yet, in his application, he claims that he doesn’t "foresee any interference with the rights of any landowners or users" because there are "no other known landowners within the project area". He also claims that is road an exploration activity won’t cause conflict with any other stakeholders, but that’s clearly not the case base on this article alone. Putting a road through this area will destroy the remote, backcountry values that make this a popular area for outdoor recreation for so many people. Why should one guy with money be allowed to destroy what hundreds of other people use and value simply to make it easier for him to explore for minerals that probably don’t even exist? The government shouldn’t even be considering this proposal in an area where there are so many recreational cabins. If you use and value the natural environment of the Salmonier Line, please write the minister and urge her to tell Chislett to take his road somewhere else – he can afford it.

  • Opponents of Big Triangle Pond Resource Road
    March 10, 2014 - 07:24

    I think I should clarify that its not a concern that we feel this road will open access for other people that want to hunt and fish this area as the area is relatively easy to access for those that wish to do so. This quote seems to come across as if we were saying we dont want others to be able to have easy access for hunting and fishing in the area*** “I think where their concerns are is that it will make access very easy for other people who want to do the same things they want to do,” he said, noting the road will have a locked gate. “I’ve had those concerns myself over the years when I’ve had favourite hunting or fishing areas, but I realize in the end that everybody has a right to any areas in Newfoundland for that type of activity.”*** The main concern here is how this road or and mining activity that will come from it will impact hundreads if not thousands of people that live and vacation in the area from a social aspect and how it will impact the environment of a relatively pristine area. We live on a small island and the avalon in itself is a small area with the majority of the islands population. If we start developing every square inch of our wilderness than what will be left for future generations?

  • Salmon watcher
    March 10, 2014 - 07:16

    You would expect a mining company to down play the environmental impacts of such a development. Hard to believe that this type of development in the head waters on a salmon river will have no impact? Especially on a River like North Arm that was all but destroyed by the building of the TCH. I think the big question to ask here is what happens to the area if they eventually develop a mine? Mr Chislett seems to down play all of this which is to be expected. The area also is near salmonier head waters and ponds and streams that feed into it, all one has to do is look at the map and the proposed 40+ sq kms that drilling will occur within. This article also should highlight that operations here will be within a couple km's of the Avalon wilderness reserve as well right up to the boundary of Salmonier Nature Park. I guess the question people need to ask is should the government allow these types of road up until the point where there are no longer any untouched areas left on the avalon or any other part of the province.