Future uncertain for [Timmins Goldcorp] mine pit park – by Benjamin Aubé (Timmins Daily Press – November 16, 2012)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – Now that Goldcorp is only awaiting the Ministry of Environment’s approval to start mining the Hollinger open pit near downtown Timmins, the long-term future of the site is still up in the air.

The general understanding had been that a publicly accessible park and lake would be left behind in 10 years when Goldcorp is scheduled to end its mining operations at the Hollinger.

But now that the project is starting to get into gear, some Timmins residents want concrete answers rather than vague promises.

It’s important to note that Goldcorp representatives have been insistent on the fact that the Site Plan Control Agreement between the company and the city is separate from the Subsequent Land Use Plan, which is still up for public input as the project moves forward.

The section on the company website relating to the Hollinger project explains that, “Detailed studies have determined that the removal of mine hazards through filling or mining of historic mine workings would allow for partial to full future use of the Hollinger property.”

Local entrepreneur Lorne Feldman has said he is fully supportive of the project. He also said he will continue to look out for his own interests and those of city taxpayers throughout its length.

One of the big stumbling blocks of the Hollinger project, he said, is that by all accounts, the City and its taxpayers will be left to maintain whatever sprouts up on the site in the end.

“This is about a private company looking to advance their interests, and that is fine,” explained Feldman. “But they can’t muddy the waters by saying they’re doing this for Timmins. They’re doing this to reclaim land for safety reasons, and they’re going to give us a park.

“We then find out that this park will not be maintained by Goldcorp, it will be maintained by the City of Timmins,” said Feldman. “We find out that the park is the one-third the size of Central Park in New York City, without the corresponding benefits of what Central Park brings.

“The city says, ‘In 10 years, when we get the park, if we find it too expensive to maintain we just won’t maintain it.’ Hold on a minute,” asked Feldman.

“The carrot that was dangled in front of us was that, ‘We’re going to give you a beautiful park.’

“They (Goldcorp) said, ‘We’re going to clean up this eyesore – yes, you’ll have some inconvenience in the meantime – but you’re going to be left with a beautiful park.’

“Now we’re being told this park will eventually digress into an eyesore, and we had to endure eight or 10 years of nuisance. It seems like the rules are changing as we go along, and you can’t be dismissive of your constituents.”

Rick Dubeau of the Hollinger Project Community Advisory Committee (HPCAC) spoke about much of the same concerns at the most recent city council meeting.

Tasked to represent the public throughout the project’s length, HPCAC confronted council and Goldcorp with a list of questions, many of which will only be answered as the pit’s operations go ahead.

Among them, Dubeau asked why the committee was originally told the Hollinger operation would require three smaller pits, when the final result will be one giant pit that may or may not be safe for public use once it’s filled with water.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website: http://www.timminspress.com/2012/11/16/future-uncertain-for-mine-pit-park