Letters to the Editor -
I believe the citizens of Newfoundland must be made aware of a situation that has been dragged out for the better part of a decade.
I am sure you are aware of the on going (never ending) dispute between Vinland Resources versus the Government, Noranda and Canstar Resources. In particular this pertains to the Mary March property located in your area.
I will start by stating that this dispute should have been nixed from its inception. Why? Because a loophole that could have been sealed immediately has been allowed to remain open. This loophole could potentially create future disputes similar in nature costing the citizens of Newfoundland unfathomable wasted tax dollars in legal costs.
An injustice has been allowed to be played out. Why? Because the Government of Newfoundland has not stood up for what it has "represented" and "indicated" all these years. The Mary March Property was "understood" to be awarded to the Anglo-Newfoundland Development (AND) Company since 1905. The Mary March Property has been "represented" by the Government as part of the AND Charter. The Mary March Property has always been 'identified' as AND Company lands by the Government.
So why has the Newfoundland government allowed this dispute to continue? A company had come in and staked the property, explored it and drilled it all in good faith, believing that the government would stand behind their commitment to the mining industry in Newfoundland (read the latest budget press release).
From the very beginning, legislation could have fixed regulations to seal up this loophole that has enabled this dispute to begin in the first place. Lawyers have stated this on more than one occasion. It is a fact that regulations must to be passed to prevent similar disputes in the future. So why wasn't this done years ago? Claimholder's rights have been placed in jeopardy for the above mentioned company and other companies, if this is not dealt with.
The fall out of this situation is unbelievable. The list is long. The colossal waste of taxpayer dollars, the many lost jobs, lost income, lost investment money and on and on. This over a 10-year period. As you will discover this dispute began in 2000. The constituents in this area and beyond are very concerned about jobs and investment here. In an area that has been hard hit by shutdowns in the forestry industry this is more reason to create jobs and investment in the mining industry.
How can the government justify this dispute when they all along had the authority to pass legislation to strike this dispute down. I am sure some excuses about not wanting to interfere with the legal process will surface. But one has to weigh which is more important. Creating jobs, creating income, not wasting taxpayers dollars on a 10-year long unnecessary dispute. The balance is completely one sided here.
For the government to allow someone to attempt a claim jump on a property and hold it in limbo for 10 years in not only unbelievable but inconceivable. This is not standing up for claimholder's rights. To allow claim jumping in the first place is wrong on many levels.
This decade-long dispute has the makings of an unbelievably great book, especially once the Mary March property is finally free to express itself. Anyone that has read the "Big Score" (the Voisey's Bay story) by Jacquie McNish would realize this fact. I believe someone should contact Jacquie as she would be perfect for researching and exposing all the unnecessary waste that has transpired here. The injustice that has been allowed to continue for this unreasonable and unrealistic period of time and all the (troubles) along the way will make for excellent reading-especially when Mary March shines.