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Planned explosives plant brews controversy in Nairn Centre

According to reports, about 20 people showed up Wednesday morning to protest a planned mining explosives facility in Nairn Centre.
A planned mining explosives manufacturing facility in the community of Nairn Centre, just west of Sudbury, has become an issue of controversy in the small town, where several citizens oppose it. Google Maps image.
According to reports, about 20 people showed up Wednesday morning to protest a planned mining explosives facility in Nairn Centre.

Raimo Koskiniemi, who's 140-acre cottage property would be adjacent to the planned mobile facility, by Sudbury-based company Consbec Inc., launched an Ontario Municipal Board appeal to thwart the project.

“We don't want an explosives plant so close to our community,” he said.

Koskiniemi said the 500-acre property Consbec plans to use for the property would block access to his own property nearby.

Despite 25 written statements against the explosives facility, council for the municipality of Nairn and Hyman approved the project.

“Although we did listen to their concerns, that's not a high number to base a decision on,” said Laurier Falldien, the municipality's mayor.

Falldien said Consbec issued a written statement it would grant Koskiniemi and other nearby property owners access to their land.
The 500-acre property, the mayor said, is required by federal law to create a buffer zone in case something goes wrong at the mobile explosives facility. Most of the natural property would remain untouched.

But Falldien added the emulsion explosives Consbec manufactures are safe because the primers and detonators – necessary to complete the explosives – are only added at mine sites when they are used.

He said he hoped Consbec would have set up shop in the small town, just west of Sudbury, by now.

“We had several public meetings, above and beyond what was required by council,” he said.

Falldien said the plant could bring up to 12 jobs to the community.

The municipality's contract with Consbec also includes annual contribution of $18,000 a year that would help cover Nairn Centre's infrastructure needs.

Falldien said the annual contribution came about through negotiations between the municipality and the company.

“Because of the nature of the business, and the buildings that they're housed in, they're actually in trailers,” he said. “The town wouldn't have gotten a lot of tax dollars from it.”

He said the contributions for infrastructure improvements were “very important to the deal.”

But Consbec's presence in Nairn Centre is now before the province, and the Ontario Municipal Board.

No hearing date has yet been set to settle the matter.
The Ministry of Natural Resources is currently gathering information from an environmental assessment by a consulting firm hired by Consbec, Koskiniemi said.

Despite several calls to their head office, Consbec did not comment on the explosives plant by deadline.

Koskiniemi said a petition against the development, he has circulated throughout the community, has more than 250 signatures so far.

Jonathan Migneault

About the Author: Jonathan Migneault

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