Excavation will not begin on a new sand mine in Castle Hayne—at least not in the near future. Hilton Properties wants to re-zone 62 acres near the GE Hitachi Plant, where it also seeks a special use permit to build the proposed mine. Thursday night, however, the New Hanover County Planning Board moved to postpone this decision until the company could provide clearer information about the project’s potential of groundwater and soil contamination. During a public hearing, no one spoke in favor of the project, and several Castle Hayne residents are opposed to it.
About a dozen Castle Hayne citizens publicly cited traffic, noise, health and environmental concerns. They also say they don’t know the purpose of the proposed mine. David Ford, a member of the family that owns the land, says he plans to work with GE to compile the requested data. However, he says his company isn’t required to hold another meeting with the community.
"Sure we might not have a scheduled, public meeting, but we have an email list of folks that attended our first meeting, and we will make contact with them. We will do everything we can to work with them."
Kayne Darrell, a Castle Hayne citizen, says she’s been knocking on her neighbors’ doors to inform them of the re-zoning request. She says few were previously aware of the project.
"You know, we look around us and we see this chemical spill in West Virginia, and the horrible contamination in the water at Camp Lejeune, and just this week, the two things in North Carolina—the coal ash spill and the sewage spill—and I think the lessons we have to learn is that we can’t always trust our corporations."
The planning board requests updates from the company within 60 days. Darrell says that in the meantime, she plans to collect data about the area’s groundwater and its contaminants from hydrogeologists and environmental engineers.