It only took a century, but a group of Exshaw residents have taken up legal action against a cement plant that has been in operation since 1906.Hamilton-based law firm Napoli Shkolnik Canada filed a class-action lawsuit in Calgary court on December 6 against Lafarge Canada, which operates the plant and adjacent mine in the Rocky Mountain hamlet of Exshaw, located near Canmore and Banff National Park.Its products have been used to build much of downtown Calgary, including the iconic Calgary Tower. The village had a population of about 449 people as of 2021..The suit alleges the company has knowingly created an “unreasonable nuisance” and is emitting excessive levels of carcinogenic dust and noise 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It further alleges mining activity has caused the ground to shake and destroyed property values.The lead plaintiff named in the suit, Sandra Furlonger, says in the statement of claim she was forced to leave her property — located less than one kilometre away from the mine site — due to persistent health issues from fly ash caused by burning coal in its kilns.The lawsuit further alleges the company “breached the standard of care” in at least a dozen instances of non-compliance with applicable government “directives, guidelines, order, regulations, standards, statutes and terms” and failed to take adequate measures to suppress dust and mitigate noise..The situation is so bad that the snow on a nearby schoolyard turns black in the winter and vegetation grey in the summer. .According to the plaintiffs, the plant has been cause for concern for several years but was made worse after a $500 million expansion in 2016 that saw it convert to 24-hour operation.“Following these expansions, the amount of dust leaving the cement plant greatly increased,” Napoli Shkolnik said in a press release. “Huge clouds of carcinogenic cement dust now regularly leave the plant and blanket nearby properties.”Those include “huge clouds of fine powder, including particles of bottom and fly ash, dolomite, granite, gravel, gypsum, limestone, Portland cement, sandstone and shale regularly leave the cement plant.”When mixed with moisture it alleges the dust “acquires adhesive properties and becomes impossible to remove… without the use of powerful chemicals that damage the surfaces to which they are applied.”.The situation is so bad that snow on a nearby schoolyard turns black in the winter and vegetation grey in the summer. The suit is also alleging operations at the plant have damaged nearby waterways including the Bow River and Lac Des Arcs which are adjacent to the Canadian Rocky Mountains World Heritage Site and the ancestral lands of the Stoney Nakoda and Morley First Nations.It is seeking unspecified general, special and punitive damages as well as costs plus interest.For its part, Lafarge’s mission statement says its "core values revolve around an unwavering commitment to health, safety and environmental stewardship."Earlier this year it announced renewable wind and solar power contracts with ATCO and on December 1 began a $30 million project to convert its kilns to “lower carbon fuels” including, but not limited to, shredded wood, waste plastics, carpet and textiles, rubber, tires and asphalt roof shingles, according to its website.In November it received $10 million in funding from Emissions Reduction Alberta.