Aggregate Summit Protest Planned for 7:45 am Sat. March 29th at the Hampton Inn in Bolton, ON

The Ford Government is holding a secret Aggregate Summit in the Town of Caledon tomorrow (March 29th).

The Government has gone to great lengths to keep the location secret, and has refused requests from concerned residents, environmental and other stakeholder groups, to participate. We have learned the location of this secret meeting. It will take place at the Hampton Inn in Bolton, ON. The address is: 12700 Highway 50 (on the same side of the road as the McDonald’s).

At this point, we only know two mayors who will be in attendance, and one of them is Caledon mayor Allan Thompson.

The Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (OSSGA) has released a number of white papers that indicate that the aggregate industry want far-reaching changes to aggregate legislation under the #FordNation spin of “reducing red tape” and making Ontario “open for business” by creating jobs in the aggregate industry.

We know that pits and quarries do not produce a large amount of jobs and it would be far more valuable to the Ontario economy to keep this land as working farms. In 2017, Ontario’s family farm and food processing businesses contributed $39.5 billion and supported 822,483 jobs. Agriculture and agri-food processors are the number one economic contributor to Ontario’s overall economy. (Source: Ontario Federation of Agriculture)

I have attached a copy of a couple of the OSSGA white papers. They are alarming, to say the least.

You can see in the attached OSSGA documents that many of these industry requests would have monumentally adverse effects for the residents of Ontario. In summary, the aggregate industry would like to be exempt from virtually all environmental legislation.

Some of the industry requests include:

· Insisting municipalities have no right to set hours of operation for pits and quarries

· Allowing below-the-water table aggregate operations anywhere, including places where they are currently excluded (e.g. Oak Ridges Moraine National Linkage and Core areas)

· Allowing commercial fill to be brought in as part of the rehabilitation process – without requiring additional approvals or having to abide by current Table One soil requirements (potable/safe for drinking water)

· Exempting aggregate operations from the Endangered Species Act and requirements to not extract in areas containing significant wetlands or treelots

There is also language that they would like to simplify aggregate license approvals, which implies that municipal approval for zoning could be taken away. This could be an unprecedented attack on municipal control over land use planning and turn communities into giant pits, completely destroying the health & safety of our communities and our quality of life.

Multiple residents’ and environmental groups have requested that they be allowed to attend this summit and have been refused.

The Ford government has sent out messaging that they are preparing to give the aggregate industry everything they are asking for, under the guise of creating jobs and reducing red tape.

Ontario Minister of Natural Resources Minister John Yakabuski will be in attendance at the meeting.

Stakeholder groups not invited to Ontario’s aggregate reform summit

We are planning to demonstrate at the Summit, to show Minister Yakabuski and #FordNation that their secret backroom meeting with this rich and powerful industry is not happening unnoticed. We will show them that “the people” of Ontario value clean air and water, our environment and our farmland. We will not stand by quietly why they continue their secret assault on the environment to the benefit of their rich industry friends.

Please plan to attend the protest. The Summit is expected to begin at 8:00 am with the Minister expected to give opening remarks. We would really like to see a good crowd when Mayor Thompson and Minister Yakabuski arrive. It would be great if you could be there by 7:45 am.

We apologize for the late notice but we did not receive confirmation of the location until today.