GRENVILLE-SUR-LA-ROUGE, QC: TOWN FACING LAWSUIT FOR PROTECTING ITS ENVIRONMENT
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By Cori Marshall
Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, in the Laurentides Region of Québec, is facing a $96 million lawsuit for damages at the hands of Carbon Canada, a Vancouver based mining corporation.
The $96 million seems somewhat unreasonable when it is more than 20 times the annual municipal budget. According to the municipality's Budget 2017, it had $4,535,866 in revenue.
According to a Canada Carbon press release dated March 5, 2018, on March 2, 2018 "Grenville-sur-la-Rouge and all of its councillors were put on formal notice that an action for damages of $96 million will be served and filed before the Superior Court." The law requires 15 days notice when initiating a legal procedure of this kind.
It was on March 2 that the mining corporation filed for Judicial review and Declaratory Judgement to "annul the resolution of non-compliance."
This is not the first time that a Québec municipality faces a lawsuit from a company involved in resource extraction. Ristigouche-Sud-Est, in the Gaspésie Region, was facing a $1 million lawsuit from Gastem because the municipality moved to protect its drinking water from the drilling operation.
Grenville-sur-la-Rouge took a position in regards to Carbon Canada mine project in an extraordinary session on January 28, 2018. Minutes indicate that the resolution was adopted unanimously by the council and that council had the intention of protecting the municipality's water and infrastructure.
There was concern that "road infrastructures have not been designed or built to meet the transportation needs of the mining operation." Further, the motion indicated a risk "that the wells of citizens in the region may dry up, not to mention the suffering associated with industrial noise in a village environment."
A major concern is that "the sector, which Canada Carbon wishes to operate, is located on an aquifer and is an irreplaceable source of water."
There is a third actor, Commission de protection du territoire agricole du Québec (CPTAQ), Québec Agricultural Board.
According to a February 8 Carbon Canada press release the CPTAQ received "a resolution from the new council for the Municipality of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, (...) which made the declaration that Canada Carbon's application (to operate a graphite mine) did not conform with municipal regulations."
The CPTAQ placed the corporation's application under "administrative closure."
We contacted Canada Carbon, Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, as well as the CPTAQ for comment. Carbon Canada and Grenville-sur-la-Rouge have yet to respond to our request, and the CPTAQ has declined comment at this time.