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Anti-mining group seeks more funds from council

Virginia Coalition Chair John Cannon asked Halifax Town Council to give the coalition $5,000 in a continued show of support in the campaign against uranium mining.

The request came during council’s committees meeting and work session followed by a regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.

 The $5,000 will bring the coalition one step closer to their goal of raising  $150,000 for the campaign.

According to Cannon, the coalition plans to use $35,000 to continue its education and public relations campaign, $85,000 to support lobbyists in Richmond and $5,000 to cover administrative and travel needs of the coalition.

“Our goal is to make strategic and wise use of the funds raised so that we can remain efficient in protecting your community and your neighbors from the substantial risks associated with uranium mining and milling,” Cannon said. “The Town of Halifax would suffer per capita the worst effects as your town boundaries are contiguous to the Banister River. Property values would decrease and the recreational use of the Banister would be non-existent.” 

Cannon said the coalition has taken a number of steps to support its mission.

The coalition chair said the coalition has sparked interest in both Virginia and North Carolina with its mission and now the have received 107 resolutions of support from political jurisdictions and businesses beyond Southside.

They’ve also initiated a broader education and public relations campaign and have retained lobbying support in Richmond to bring their message to the delegates and senators in addition to raising funds from a broad and diverse group of supporters.

“The strategy and efforts being undertaken by the Virginia Coalition have been very successful. We have been able to fight back legislation in both 2012 and 2013 of the General Assembly sessions. Since our involvement the lobbyists against lifting the ban have increased to 16, working with us representing many different entities,” Cannon said. “We have also been successful in thwarting the efforts of the executive branch to proceed with regulations while helping secure the general assembly from passing legislation to raise the ban.”

Also addressing council Tuesday night was Industrial Development Authority Executive Director Matt Leonard who spoke about the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development Enterprise Zone amendments. 

According to Leonard, the existing Sinai satellite will be expanded this year increasing the total size of the enterprise zone to 3,545 acres from 3,840.

Property additions to the zone will include Town of Halifax Downtown District, Sunshine Mills, the Burlington Property, Krueger and Huber Engineered Woods making them eligible for incentives, Leonard said.

In other business Tuesday night, council adopted a resolution declaring Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week.

Mayor Dick Moore presented Daughter of American Revolution member Nancy Chandler with the signed resolution following its adoption.

During the committees meeting and work session, Moore also gave council members their individual committee assignments.

Councilman Dennis Witt was assigned to chair the finance committee, and Councilman Jack Dunavant was assigned to that committee also.

Councilwoman Kristy Johnson will chair the business development committee, and Councilman Ronnie Duffey will serve on that committee also.

The current affairs committee will consist Councilman Bill Confroy as chair and Councilwoman Janice Powell.

Mayor Moore also assigned Confroy and Johnson to the Halifax County Library Joint Library Board. Confroy also was assigned to the Gateway project along with Powell, while Dunavant and Witt were assigned to the “Keep The Ban” campaign.

Moore also updated council on future gateway sign areas telling council advertisements for bid on the Gateway Project would go out by the end of this month.

In the meantime, the focus will be on putting signage up at three of the town’s entrances that currently don’t have signage. 

Gateways in need of signage include Highway 501 coming from South Boston, Highway 501 coming from the bridge over the Banister Lake boat landing and Mountain Road.

The mayor said he hopes local businesses and organizations will sponsor the gateway signs. 

So far the Halifax Woman’s Club has agreed to sponsor the Mountain Road sign in honor of Betty Bane