Abandoned mine tailings threaten Pickle Lake development – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – May 27, 2016)


Pickle Lake Mayor Karl Hopf said his northwestern community is being “handcuffed” by a one-size-fits-all provincial policy that’s stonewalling future development. Drafting a new Official Plan for the township of 425 has stirred the pot on a four-decades-old environmental legacy issue that’s resulted in a standoff between the municipality and three provincial ministries.

Red flags have been raised from the presence of arsenic in old surface tailings from a mine that closed in the 1950s. It’s caused the province to curb any new development along a highway corridor that the municipality wants to set aside for business opportunities.

The township is now at loggerheads with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing in refusing to sign off on a new Official Plan until the province finally commits to remediating the site. “For 40 years, they keep saying it’s a health issue,” said Hopf. “Well, let’s fix it.”

The discovery of gold in the 1920s near the shores of Pickle Lake brought people north, leading to the eventual establishment of the township, which sits at the end of Highway 599.

The Pickle Crow Mine closed in 1966. Closer to town, the Central Patricia Mine mined its last ounce in 1954.

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