FAQ

Blasting

​​A large part of Rockwood as well as residences to the south in Nassagaweya will feel vibrations from blasting and the vibrations will be strong in the southern neighbourhoods, Eramosa 6th and 7th lines, and the northern parts of Nassagaweya 5th and 6th lines.  The water-logged karst rock that exists through much of this area is an excellent mediium for the transmission of vibration.  It is important to recognize that JDCL’s predictions of blasting vibration levels are entirely theoretical even though this is a very complex issue that utlimately will become clear when blasting begins, and then we’re stuck with the consequences.  Vibrations put all buildings within 1000 metres of the site at risk of structural damage, not to mention a number of 18th century heritage houses and barns which have been maintained by the current property owners.

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​​This is a big unknown but it could. CRC’s analysis of projected blasting vibration shows that any structure within 1000 metres of the site will be at risk. There are two members of the CRC who moved here to get away from quarry operations. One member lived near the Acton quarry and their foundation develped a crack after an unusually strong blasting shock. The company refused to take responsibility. In addition the side road they lived on was closed several times to clear fly rock from blasting that did not go as planned. Another CRC member lived near the Guelph Dolime quarry. Their neighbourhood complaints to the Province were dismissed because the vibrations were “within Provincial limits.” They were concerned that damage would occur sooner or later and moved. Heritage homes with stone structures are especially vulnerable to damage from vibration, but even modern wood-construction homes will be affected.  In other similar situations, foundation cracking and damage to above-grade walls and windows have been experienced.  CRC is particularly concerned about the 11 heritage buildings (houses and barns) within 1000 metres where 18th century mortar is most prone to vibration risk.

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Flyrock refers to the unintended ejection of rocks from blast holes due to fissures, cavities, or other weaknesses in the underground rock structure adjacent to the blast holes or faulty blast design.  Flyrock ejected from the top of the blast holes, as opposed to the face of the excavation much of which will be under water, is the potential problem in the Hidden Quarry.  Many jurisdications around the world require exclusion zones of 500 m for rock blasting operations, but here there are no standards meaning that the 19 houses, businesses, buildings and residents within the 500 metre radius are at risk, as well as cars, school and GO buses and other vehicular traffic along about a one and a half kilometre stretch of Provincial Highway 7, a busy commuter road in this area.  “Wild flyrock” also can occur, with incidents of rock being thrown 1000 to 1200 m having been reported.

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​​It is located at the corner of Highway 7 and 6th Line Eramosa, just east of Rockwood and west of Acton. It is only one kilometre from the southern neighbourhoods of Rockwood as the crow flies, and as little as 165 m from homes and buildings on Eramosa 6th and 7th Lines and those at the north end of Nassagaweya 5th line! Nearly half the population of Rockwood lives within 2 kilometers of the site.

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In a gravel pit only surface gravel deposits are removed. They are usually only open for a few years. The top soil is preserved and after the gravel is removed the top soil is replaced for farming. A quarry strips away all the top soil and gravel down to bed rock then blasts into the bedrock to remove stone which is crushed and usually trucked away for a full range of construction use from roads to buildings. The Hidden Quarry proposes to blast 100 feet into the water table over a 60 acre area. It will operate for at least 20 years and maybe much longer, leaving two small lakes.  The property will no longer be available for agriculture.  It may also expand into neighbouring properties.

Categories: Blasting, Farming, OMB, Water
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CRC

CRC was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation, known as CRC Rockwood Inc., on June 27 2014.  The corporation has a Board of Governors currently consisting of thirteen members of the community.  The officers of the corporation are: Co-Chairs: Dr. Alex Kanarek, William Hill; President: Doug Tripp; Vice-President: Perry Groskopf; Secretary: Stephanie De Grandis; Treasurer:  Natalie Jaroszewski.

Category: CRC
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​CRC was created by and is made up of residents of Rockwood and the surrounding area. It was formed in 2013 in a neighbour’s kitchen by a dozen residents concerned about the Hidden Quarry application and since then it has grown to more than 1200 registered supporters in Guelph-Eramosa Township, Milton (Nassagaweya), Acton and beyond.  CRC is the only Party at the OMB Hearing which represents all residents surrounding the proposed quarry site.  Municipal boundary lines mean that objecting municipalities and regions must address issues related specifically to their territory, although many issues do inevitably overlap.

Category: CRC
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After considerable study, ​CRC opposes the development of this quarry. It acknowledges that the Province of Ontario needs supplies of reasonably priced aggregates to support development of infrastructure, housing, buildings and other construction needs BUT not, as provincial legislation and policy indicate, at any cost. Hence CRC’s mission regarding the Hidden Quarry application, is to ensure, with reference to provincial and County policies, that no unacceptable negative impacts on the environment, health and safety, water quality and quantity, residences and other structures, community economy, private property values, and general quality of life in Guelph-Eramosa Township and Halton Region occur as a result of the operation of this quarry. After three years of intensive study, CRC is unable to conceive of conditions that would prevent some or all of these factors being significantly impacted in a negative way, and therefore we oppose the development of this quarry.

Categories: CRC, OMB
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​​CRC has thoroughly and critically assessed the reports submitted by the applicant in support of the application as well as those submitted by commenting agencies and peer reviewers. We have retained the services of independent experts to assess a number of important issues and have filed reports and made presentations to Councils for Wellington County, Grand River Conservation Authority, Guelph Eramosa Township, Halton Region, Milton and Halton Hills. We have substantive concerns about:

Ground and surface water in the aquifer and the surface stream that flow through the site, and both upstream and downstream wells, as well as Rockwood’s municipal wells;

The natural environment including species at risk with on-site or nearby habitat, and a vibrant brook trout habitat in the cold-water stream into which surface water from the site flows;

The unprecedented below water blasting in a fragile, karst geology proposed by the applicant and what we have determined to be unacceptable ground vibration and the risk of fly-rock ejection on to the abutting Highway 7 and nearby buildings;

Impacts on many cultural heritage buildings within 1000 metres from blasting vibration;

Air quality degradation due to dust from aggregate crushing on site and truck traffic;

Traffic impact on 6th Line Eramosa, Highway 7 to the east of the site through downtown Acton, and Regional Road 25 along the applicant’s proposed haul route, and quite possibly elsewhere including the Nassagaweya Lines to the south and Highway 7 west through Rockwood should markets arise in the future to the west (the Highway 7 project between Guelph and Kitchener being a case in point);

Noise from blasting, crushing, sorting and loading, and haulage;

Impacts of the foregoing factors on adjacent agricultural operations which include livestock, horse, crop and mushroom growing operations;

Visual impact as the current woodlot is replaced by a 30-metre deep pit and perimeters are lined with earth berms, and the heritage landscape on 6th Line is transformed into a heavy industrial environment;

Economic impact on Guelph-Eramosa Township and Halton Region due to expected losses in property values and concomitant loss of tax assessment, costs for road maintenance and emergency services, and;

Social impacts related to quality of life and the attractiveness of this region to business and commerce.

Categories: CRC, OMB
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​​CRC has gained status as a party to the case, alongside Halton Hills and Halton Region. CRC has retained legal counsel, Mr. Chris Barnett of DLA Piper in Toronto. Mr. Barnett has significant experience in municipal law, including aggregate cases and OMB hearings, and represented the Town of Caledon in the successful fight against the James Dick Construction Ltd. Rockfort Quarry application. CRC has identified potential expert witnesses to testify on our behalf, and is actively raising funds to cover legal and expert witness costs.

Categories: CRC, OMB
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​​Yes and the odds are pretty good. There are solid legal arguments against it, and a huge ground swell of opposition from area residents and politicians alike. That is because of the many problems it will cause including potential drinking water, air and noise pollution, truck traffic hazards, property devaluation, blasting dangers, and unnecessary environmental degradation.nCRC has hired one of if not the best legal team in Ontario to present its case. It’s led by Mr. Chris Barnett of DLA Piper in Toronto who represented the Town of Caledon in the successful OMB case against the James Dick Construction Ltd. (JDCL) ​​Rockfort Quarry application in Caledon.nIn addition to CRC’s legal fight against it, the Guelph Eramosa Township (GET) Council has hired an independent legal team to fight it. And on top of that Halton Region has its legal team fighting it too.nWe have the best interests of our community at heart while James Dick is motivated by profit.  With so many sound reasons for being against it, it is reasonable to be optimistic that the OMB will also recognize that this quarry is bad for the area and turn it down. 

Categories: CRC, OMB
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​​CRC will be a Party at the OMB and plans to provide testimony to the new OMB Hearing on a number of critical issues related to potential negative impacts were the quarry to be approved. Our choices will be those for which our testimony will be the most effective and manageable.  In preparing for the 2016 OMB Hearing (now postponed), our experts covered Hydrology, Hydrogeology, Blasting, Planning and Aquatic Ecology.

Categories: CRC, OMB
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​CRC raises funds in a variety ways, and when possible with fun!  Events have included golf tournaments, garage sales, teas, a gala 2016 event (An Intimate Evening with the Nylons), bike and hike events, participation in the community’s Rockwood Mushroom Fest, and others.  By means of a direct telephone call campaign and our general communications, we invite community residents to support us financially with monthly or one-time donations that are within their means.  We also have paypal activated on the CRC website for credit card donations.  We are gratified that there are a few benefactors who have continued to support CRC with sizeable donations, and we continue to seek out large gifts by presenting what we think is a compelling case for support.

Categories: CRC, OMB
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​​It is located at the corner of Highway 7 and 6th Line Eramosa, just east of Rockwood and west of Acton. It is only one kilometre from the southern neighbourhoods of Rockwood as the crow flies, and as little as 165 m from homes and buildings on Eramosa 6th and 7th Lines and those at the north end of Nassagaweya 5th line! Nearly half the population of Rockwood lives within 2 kilometers of the site.

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​​CRC is not yet a registered charity; therefore donations are not tax deductible. Charitable status is being investigated since CRC is studying serious environmental issues; however it is a lengthy, complicated process with no guarantee that we would be granted charitable status.

Category: CRC
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Economic Impact

​Not according to a study by retired geologist Dr. Larry Jensen who served on the 2010 Technical Expert Panel for the State of the Aggregate Resource in Ontario Study. He conducted a review of aggregate reserves in Ontario and concluded that there was a 200 year supply in existing pits.nFor many reasons including the pollution and habitat destruction associated with aggregate mining there is a widespread movement underway to have the Aggregate Act of Ontario include a provision requiring that applicants “demonstrate need” for the aggregate. It is very unlikely that this application would meet such a requirement.

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​​Aggregate dust​ is one of the threats to nearby agricultural operations, including cash and forage crops, a mushroom farm, and others.  There is research that has shown that silica dust issuing from aggregate sites significantly reduces plant growth rates and coats crops like hay seriously affecting its value/use as fodder.  The possible contamination of downstream surface and groundwater is a second issue that may have consequences for agricultural operations.  Horse and livestock operations will also be affected by noise and vibration.  Horse trainers have spoken at CRC meetings about the risks involved when standard-bred horses are spooked by noise and vibration resulting from blasts.

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​​​Not likely. Of course it remains to be seen if the proponent’s prediction of local jobs will be realized.  But consider that they also maintain that haulage will be mostly managed with their own truck fleet.  Consider also that they maintain that this quarry will replace other JDCL operations.  So, who do you think will be first in line for any operations jobs–new folks from this area, or experienced workers moved from those other sites? See Economic Impact.

Category: Economic Impact
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​​​​​There don’t appear to be any. CRC has taken issue with the findings of the Township consultant’s economic impact analysis which ignores any downward pressure on house and land prices and the accompanying loss of tax assessment, as well as new costs borne by the municipalities related to infrastructure management, emergency services, and so on.  GET Council recognizes that there is nothing ​tangible in this for the community.  So, the only benefits the quarry will have are to JDCL’s bottom line.

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​​No, if anything it will hurt Rockwood’s economy and residents directly through falling property values. Nor is the quarry expected to create any significant jobs. CRC and GET Council have serious concerns about a negative economic impact on Guelph-Eramosa Township and Halton Region due to expected losses in property values and concomitant loss of tax assessment, costs for road maintenance and emergency services, and social factors related to quality of life and the attractiveness of this region to business and commerce.  Recent news that MPAC has significantly reduced the tax rate for quarries is of serious concern here and across the province.

Category: Economic Impact
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​​It is located at the corner of Highway 7 and 6th Line Eramosa, just east of Rockwood and west of Acton. It is only one kilometre from the southern neighbourhoods of Rockwood as the crow flies, and as little as 165 m from homes and buildings on Eramosa 6th and 7th Lines and those at the north end of Nassagaweya 5th line! Nearly half the population of Rockwood lives within 2 kilometers of the site.

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​​​​Yes. Just ask yourself, “Would I knowingly purchase a property adjacent to a quarry rather than a similar one somewhere else?” Only if it were cheap enough. MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corportation) reduces property values near quarries and studies have been done that demonstrate that property values drop due to proximity to pits and quarries.  The successful fight against JDCL’s Rockfort Quarry in Caledon included analysis showing projected property value losses up to 20%.  Such properties will appreciate in value along with market trends, but along a trend line that remains below where it would have been without the quarry influence.  ​Aggregate proponents argue to the contrary of course, but again ask yourself whether you would knowingly purchase a property adjacent to a quarry rather than a similar one somewhere else. Only if it is cheap enough.

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Farming

​​Aggregate dust​ is one of the threats to nearby agricultural operations, including cash and forage crops, a mushroom farm, and others.  There is research that has shown that silica dust issuing from aggregate sites significantly reduces plant growth rates and coats crops like hay seriously affecting its value/use as fodder.  The possible contamination of downstream surface and groundwater is a second issue that may have consequences for agricultural operations.  Horse and livestock operations will also be affected by noise and vibration.  Horse trainers have spoken at CRC meetings about the risks involved when standard-bred horses are spooked by noise and vibration resulting from blasts.

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​​It is located at the corner of Highway 7 and 6th Line Eramosa, just east of Rockwood and west of Acton. It is only one kilometre from the southern neighbourhoods of Rockwood as the crow flies, and as little as 165 m from homes and buildings on Eramosa 6th and 7th Lines and those at the north end of Nassagaweya 5th line! Nearly half the population of Rockwood lives within 2 kilometers of the site.

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In a gravel pit only surface gravel deposits are removed. They are usually only open for a few years. The top soil is preserved and after the gravel is removed the top soil is replaced for farming. A quarry strips away all the top soil and gravel down to bed rock then blasts into the bedrock to remove stone which is crushed and usually trucked away for a full range of construction use from roads to buildings. The Hidden Quarry proposes to blast 100 feet into the water table over a 60 acre area. It will operate for at least 20 years and maybe much longer, leaving two small lakes.  The property will no longer be available for agriculture.  It may also expand into neighbouring properties.

Categories: Blasting, Farming, OMB, Water
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Health and Safety

​​Most likely. Highway 7 is the main commuting thoroughfare and it is also the proposed haul route, eastward through Acton towards the GTA according to the plan in the application.  Trucks will be running from 6 am to 6 pm, coinciding with the busiest commuting times.  The 6th Line Eramosa – Hwy 7 intersection will be a pinch point as heavily loaded trucks try to turn left onto Hwy 7 and accelerate up to the 80 kph limit–you know how long that takes.  Nassagaweya 5th Line, a 20 metre jog south and east of Eramosa 6th Line will also be seriously impacted. By the way, there is no guarantee that truck traffic won’t end up going west through Rockwood to serve markets west of here, such as the new Hwy 7 construction planned between Guelph and Kitchener or other Wellington County projects. Finally, there is also no guarantee that, in spite of JDCL’s assurances, trucks won’t use the Nassagaweya 5th and 6th lines to avoid going through Acton.  Your commute certainly won’t get better!

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​​It is certainly possible.​ Though JDCL claims there won’t be, they were unwilling to fix their incomplete and misleading haul route study and took their application to the OMB instead. JDCL has also changed haul route projections in its application, and recently indicated to Wellington County that Hidden Quarry aggregate would be available to the County, ie. north of Rockwood.  Twenty years is a long time to be able to predict where aggregate markets might be.  In addition to general demand, the proposed twinning of Highway 7 between Guelph and Kitchener/Waterloo will be looking for aggregate so it is not unreasonable to expect a significant increase in truck traffic through Rockwood over to Guelph.

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​​A large part of Rockwood as well as residences to the south in Nassagaweya will feel vibrations from blasting and the vibrations will be strong in the southern neighbourhoods, Eramosa 6th and 7th lines, and the northern parts of Nassagaweya 5th and 6th lines.  The water-logged karst rock that exists through much of this area is an excellent mediium for the transmission of vibration.  It is important to recognize that JDCL’s predictions of blasting vibration levels are entirely theoretical even though this is a very complex issue that utlimately will become clear when blasting begins, and then we’re stuck with the consequences.  Vibrations put all buildings within 1000 metres of the site at risk of structural damage, not to mention a number of 18th century heritage houses and barns which have been maintained by the current property owners.

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​​This is a big unknown but it could. CRC’s analysis of projected blasting vibration shows that any structure within 1000 metres of the site will be at risk. There are two members of the CRC who moved here to get away from quarry operations. One member lived near the Acton quarry and their foundation develped a crack after an unusually strong blasting shock. The company refused to take responsibility. In addition the side road they lived on was closed several times to clear fly rock from blasting that did not go as planned. Another CRC member lived near the Guelph Dolime quarry. Their neighbourhood complaints to the Province were dismissed because the vibrations were “within Provincial limits.” They were concerned that damage would occur sooner or later and moved. Heritage homes with stone structures are especially vulnerable to damage from vibration, but even modern wood-construction homes will be affected.  In other similar situations, foundation cracking and damage to above-grade walls and windows have been experienced.  CRC is particularly concerned about the 11 heritage buildings (houses and barns) within 1000 metres where 18th century mortar is most prone to vibration risk.

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Flyrock refers to the unintended ejection of rocks from blast holes due to fissures, cavities, or other weaknesses in the underground rock structure adjacent to the blast holes or faulty blast design.  Flyrock ejected from the top of the blast holes, as opposed to the face of the excavation much of which will be under water, is the potential problem in the Hidden Quarry.  Many jurisdications around the world require exclusion zones of 500 m for rock blasting operations, but here there are no standards meaning that the 19 houses, businesses, buildings and residents within the 500 metre radius are at risk, as well as cars, school and GO buses and other vehicular traffic along about a one and a half kilometre stretch of Provincial Highway 7, a busy commuter road in this area.  “Wild flyrock” also can occur, with incidents of rock being thrown 1000 to 1200 m having been reported.

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​​Definitely. There are risks of contamination of the surface water flowing through the site into the Byrdson Creek-Blue Springs Creek-Eramosa River systems–all part of the Grand River watershed–and similar contamination of the groundwater aquifer that feeds downstream wells,  There is real uncertainty about the extent to which blasting will impact the aquifer that feeds the Rockwood number 4 well.  In spite of assurances to the contrary, we believe that dust arising from crushing and loading operations as well as heavy truck traffic into and out of the site will be emitted as air pollution.

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​​It is located at the corner of Highway 7 and 6th Line Eramosa, just east of Rockwood and west of Acton. It is only one kilometre from the southern neighbourhoods of Rockwood as the crow flies, and as little as 165 m from homes and buildings on Eramosa 6th and 7th Lines and those at the north end of Nassagaweya 5th line! Nearly half the population of Rockwood lives within 2 kilometers of the site.

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Noise

​​Yes, and the closer you live to the quarry the more noise you will hear. Residents in the southern neighbourhoods of Rockwood, expecially those on high ground, as well as those on Eramosa 6th and 7th Lines and along the northern reaches of Nassagaweya 5th and 6th Lines will be most affected. Regular blasting, and ongoing rock crushing, heavy equipment, warning beepers, and idling trucks will all contibute. The quarry would operate from 6am to 6pm, 6 days a week throughout the year.  On top of that, you would feel the vibrations from blasting up to a minimum of 2 kilometres from the site.  Of course, this noise is supplemental to the current sound from the busy highway.

Category: Noise
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​​It is located at the corner of Highway 7 and 6th Line Eramosa, just east of Rockwood and west of Acton. It is only one kilometre from the southern neighbourhoods of Rockwood as the crow flies, and as little as 165 m from homes and buildings on Eramosa 6th and 7th Lines and those at the north end of Nassagaweya 5th line! Nearly half the population of Rockwood lives within 2 kilometers of the site.

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OMB

After considerable study, ​CRC opposes the development of this quarry. It acknowledges that the Province of Ontario needs supplies of reasonably priced aggregates to support development of infrastructure, housing, buildings and other construction needs BUT not, as provincial legislation and policy indicate, at any cost. Hence CRC’s mission regarding the Hidden Quarry application, is to ensure, with reference to provincial and County policies, that no unacceptable negative impacts on the environment, health and safety, water quality and quantity, residences and other structures, community economy, private property values, and general quality of life in Guelph-Eramosa Township and Halton Region occur as a result of the operation of this quarry. After three years of intensive study, CRC is unable to conceive of conditions that would prevent some or all of these factors being significantly impacted in a negative way, and therefore we oppose the development of this quarry.

Categories: CRC, OMB
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​​No, it isn’t true. There is no question that the Hidden Quarry is relatively close to the proposed markets in the GTA. However, there is evidence to suggest that Ontario has licensed aggregate extraction capacity that exceeds consumption by a several times factor, and that in Wellington County itself, extraction rates are typically about 20% of licensed capacity. There is also an expanded quarry operation in Acton, presumably supplying the same nearby markets, albeit owned by a competitor to the Hidden Quarry applicant. We are not persuaded that there is a need for another aggregate operation in this area.

Category: OMB
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​​CRC has thoroughly and critically assessed the reports submitted by the applicant in support of the application as well as those submitted by commenting agencies and peer reviewers. We have retained the services of independent experts to assess a number of important issues and have filed reports and made presentations to Councils for Wellington County, Grand River Conservation Authority, Guelph Eramosa Township, Halton Region, Milton and Halton Hills. We have substantive concerns about:

Ground and surface water in the aquifer and the surface stream that flow through the site, and both upstream and downstream wells, as well as Rockwood’s municipal wells;

The natural environment including species at risk with on-site or nearby habitat, and a vibrant brook trout habitat in the cold-water stream into which surface water from the site flows;

The unprecedented below water blasting in a fragile, karst geology proposed by the applicant and what we have determined to be unacceptable ground vibration and the risk of fly-rock ejection on to the abutting Highway 7 and nearby buildings;

Impacts on many cultural heritage buildings within 1000 metres from blasting vibration;

Air quality degradation due to dust from aggregate crushing on site and truck traffic;

Traffic impact on 6th Line Eramosa, Highway 7 to the east of the site through downtown Acton, and Regional Road 25 along the applicant’s proposed haul route, and quite possibly elsewhere including the Nassagaweya Lines to the south and Highway 7 west through Rockwood should markets arise in the future to the west (the Highway 7 project between Guelph and Kitchener being a case in point);

Noise from blasting, crushing, sorting and loading, and haulage;

Impacts of the foregoing factors on adjacent agricultural operations which include livestock, horse, crop and mushroom growing operations;

Visual impact as the current woodlot is replaced by a 30-metre deep pit and perimeters are lined with earth berms, and the heritage landscape on 6th Line is transformed into a heavy industrial environment;

Economic impact on Guelph-Eramosa Township and Halton Region due to expected losses in property values and concomitant loss of tax assessment, costs for road maintenance and emergency services, and;

Social impacts related to quality of life and the attractiveness of this region to business and commerce.

Categories: CRC, OMB
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​​There are two parallel matters in process: the re-zoning of the site from agricultural to industrial-extractive, which falls within the jurisdiction of Guelph-Eramosa Township, and an aggregate extraction licence, which must be issued by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. The applicant applied to have the re-zoning application referred to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) for the reason that GET had not rendered a decision on the application by a certain deadline. The re-zoning application and the licence application were then combined into the one OMB case. The case came before the OMB in September 2016, but was adjourned indefinitely because of a legal technicality.  Since then the applicant has had to re-apply to both Township and Wellington County for re-zoning.  It is highly likely that the application will once again be appealed to the OMB which will make the decision on both applications after hearing submissions and evidence by the applicant and other parties, including CRC. It is not yet known when the next OMB Hearing will take place.

Category: OMB
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​​No, CRC is but one of three parties opposing the quarry. Guelph-Eramosa Township Council passed a resolution stating that it opposes the quarry application in its present form. The Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Region of Halton are all registered objectors to the application.  Halton Region and Halton Hills will be parties at the OMB proceedings, with Halton Region representing the interests of both Halton Hills and Milton as well.

Category: OMB
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​​CRC has gained status as a party to the case, alongside Halton Hills and Halton Region. CRC has retained legal counsel, Mr. Chris Barnett of DLA Piper in Toronto. Mr. Barnett has significant experience in municipal law, including aggregate cases and OMB hearings, and represented the Town of Caledon in the successful fight against the James Dick Construction Ltd. Rockfort Quarry application. CRC has identified potential expert witnesses to testify on our behalf, and is actively raising funds to cover legal and expert witness costs.

Categories: CRC, OMB
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​​CRC’s focus will be determined in due course in consultation with our legal counsel and in view of the issues being addressed by the other parties. It is likely that CRC will select specific issues from our list of concerns for which we are able to provide compelling testimony and for which our costs can be managed.  Five experts engaged by CRC as witnesses in the (now adjourned) 2016 OMB Hearing were ready to speak to hydrology, hydrogeology, blasting, planning and aquatic habitat.  Ata minimum CRC expects to retain their services again for the next, expected, OMB Hearing.

Category: OMB
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​​Yes and the odds are pretty good. There are solid legal arguments against it, and a huge ground swell of opposition from area residents and politicians alike. That is because of the many problems it will cause including potential drinking water, air and noise pollution, truck traffic hazards, property devaluation, blasting dangers, and unnecessary environmental degradation.nCRC has hired one of if not the best legal team in Ontario to present its case. It’s led by Mr. Chris Barnett of DLA Piper in Toronto who represented the Town of Caledon in the successful OMB case against the James Dick Construction Ltd. (JDCL) ​​Rockfort Quarry application in Caledon.nIn addition to CRC’s legal fight against it, the Guelph Eramosa Township (GET) Council has hired an independent legal team to fight it. And on top of that Halton Region has its legal team fighting it too.nWe have the best interests of our community at heart while James Dick is motivated by profit.  With so many sound reasons for being against it, it is reasonable to be optimistic that the OMB will also recognize that this quarry is bad for the area and turn it down. 

Categories: CRC, OMB
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​​To do all that we would like to do at the OMB, it will cost over $500,000 which will go towards paying legal expenses and expert witnesses.  The postponement of the OMB Hearing will add to these costs since it will be, in effect, a completely new start from the beginning.  It’s a big number but we had already raised enough to proceed with the 2016 OMB Hearing, with donations ranging from $20 up to 5 figures (Surprised? If you consider house prices and the drop in quality of life and property values if the quarry goes ahead, large donations are a good investment). The municipalities of Milton, Halton Hills and Guelph Eramosa also made significant donations to CRC.  Sharing the cost is one of the advantages of working together in the CRC. Fund raising continues and it is going well but we do need everyone to contribute what they can. Click here to Donate!

Category: OMB
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​​CRC will be a Party at the OMB and plans to provide testimony to the new OMB Hearing on a number of critical issues related to potential negative impacts were the quarry to be approved. Our choices will be those for which our testimony will be the most effective and manageable.  In preparing for the 2016 OMB Hearing (now postponed), our experts covered Hydrology, Hydrogeology, Blasting, Planning and Aquatic Ecology.

Categories: CRC, OMB
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​​Other Parties to the 2016 OMB Hearing were Guelph Eramosa Township, Halton Hills and Halton Region.  Once inside the OMB process sharing of information among the parties is carried out through our lawyers, who are best positioned to ensure that proper and legally sound protocol is followed. As we prepare for the next OMB Hearing, we are once again presenting information directly to municipalities and agencies to raise our concerns as they consider the new zoning application.

Category: OMB
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​CRC raises funds in a variety ways, and when possible with fun!  Events have included golf tournaments, garage sales, teas, a gala 2016 event (An Intimate Evening with the Nylons), bike and hike events, participation in the community’s Rockwood Mushroom Fest, and others.  By means of a direct telephone call campaign and our general communications, we invite community residents to support us financially with monthly or one-time donations that are within their means.  We also have paypal activated on the CRC website for credit card donations.  We are gratified that there are a few benefactors who have continued to support CRC with sizeable donations, and we continue to seek out large gifts by presenting what we think is a compelling case for support.

Categories: CRC, OMB
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​​It is essential for the residents to have a direct voice at the OMB for many reasons, most notably: the OMB recognizes and appreciates direct involvement by  residents as it confirms grassroots involvement, and our elected officials recognize and appreciate that their residents are involved and support them in their efforts and expenditures toward protecting us all.  We also recognize that the municipalities may have political pressures–not the least being the significant financial burden being forced upon them by the OMB process–that necessitates a more conciliatory position than they would otherwise choose.  CRC is constrained by the financial demand for sure, but it is clear that the wish of the community at large is that all that we value here be vigorously defended, and that is the role CRC is being called to play. Only CRC represents residents from all three affected municipalities. Please DONATE, thank you.

Category: OMB
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​​You may attend and observe the OMB hearings which are open to the public.  In fact, CRC is encouraging residents to attend as observers in large numbers to communicate just how widespread our concerns are about this application. However you can only make a presentation to the Board if you have been registered as an official “Participant.” Nine resident-participants prepared statements for the 2016 OMB Hearing, covering a variety of issues of concern.  CRC coordinated the participants to prevent duplication of messages, and will do so again.  Participants do not need legal representation, but are required to submit a written Participant Statement.  Their input does matter, and when a significant number of residents take the time to get involved directly their combined voice gets a good deal of consideration. It also supports the legal cases being presented by CRC, GET and Halton Region. CRC will be a “Party” at the second OMB. A “Party” at the hearing must put forth legal arguments for its objections. This is a very expensive process involving lawyers and expert witnesses, approximately $400,000 (if you have not please Donate).  All told it makes for a very strong case against the quarry at the OMB. (see Can we win…)​

Category: OMB
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​​It is located at the corner of Highway 7 and 6th Line Eramosa, just east of Rockwood and west of Acton. It is only one kilometre from the southern neighbourhoods of Rockwood as the crow flies, and as little as 165 m from homes and buildings on Eramosa 6th and 7th Lines and those at the north end of Nassagaweya 5th line! Nearly half the population of Rockwood lives within 2 kilometers of the site.

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In a gravel pit only surface gravel deposits are removed. They are usually only open for a few years. The top soil is preserved and after the gravel is removed the top soil is replaced for farming. A quarry strips away all the top soil and gravel down to bed rock then blasts into the bedrock to remove stone which is crushed and usually trucked away for a full range of construction use from roads to buildings. The Hidden Quarry proposes to blast 100 feet into the water table over a 60 acre area. It will operate for at least 20 years and maybe much longer, leaving two small lakes.  The property will no longer be available for agriculture.  It may also expand into neighbouring properties.

Categories: Blasting, Farming, OMB, Water
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No.  The applicant, JDCL, has re-applied for a zoning amendment to Guelph Eramosa Township.  At the same time, the company is applying to Wellington County requesting an amendment to the Official Plan.  At the time of the first application the County’s Official Plan did not review zoning amendments, but in 2015 the County approved a revised plan which included amendments to the Official Plan as well.  The application for a licence to operate a quarry, submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources, is still deemed complete, and will be adjudicated at the Ontario Muncipal Board along with the expected re-zoning application appeal by JDCL.

Category: OMB
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Not necessarily.  The Greenlands designation in the Wellington County’s Official Plan recognizes the 40-year-old, 33.5 hectare conifer plantation and the three 100-year-old small mature stands of less than 2 hectares each.

The Official Plan states  “The Greenlands System will be maintained or enhanced. Activities which diminish or degrade the essential functions of the Greenlands System will be prohibited”.

However, The Greenlands policies do permit consideration of aggregate extraction subject to more detailed policy considerations, but those more detailed policy considerations must be made in the context of the planning approach for the Greenlands System contained with the O.P. which state that “Wellington County is a good place to live, (that) this Plan intends to keep it that way”; and that “the people of County enjoy clean air, clean water, healthy communities, natural heritage, cultural heritage, public health and public safety.”

CRC believes that the Greenlands are essential to the protection of the Paris Galt Moraine water re-charge system and to sequestration of CO2.

 

Categories: Greenlands, OMB
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Pollution

​Not according to a study by retired geologist Dr. Larry Jensen who served on the 2010 Technical Expert Panel for the State of the Aggregate Resource in Ontario Study. He conducted a review of aggregate reserves in Ontario and concluded that there was a 200 year supply in existing pits.nFor many reasons including the pollution and habitat destruction associated with aggregate mining there is a widespread movement underway to have the Aggregate Act of Ontario include a provision requiring that applicants “demonstrate need” for the aggregate. It is very unlikely that this application would meet such a requirement.

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​​It could become a bigger quarry if surrounding properties are bought up by the aggregate industry which commonly happens. It is very difficult to sell a property adjacent to a quarry unless it is sold well below market value. Other aggregate sites in the province have been identified for possible use in aggregate recycling operations and/or landfill.  These are possible future uses for the Hidden Quarry that may become the focus of future land use debate should applications for such uses be made. James Dick Construction Ltd. (JDCL) suggests that in 20 years or so the water-filled pits will continue to exist as lakes–Rockwood Conservation Area version 2 perhaps.

Categories: Pollution, Water
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​​Aggregate dust​ is one of the threats to nearby agricultural operations, including cash and forage crops, a mushroom farm, and others.  There is research that has shown that silica dust issuing from aggregate sites significantly reduces plant growth rates and coats crops like hay seriously affecting its value/use as fodder.  The possible contamination of downstream surface and groundwater is a second issue that may have consequences for agricultural operations.  Horse and livestock operations will also be affected by noise and vibration.  Horse trainers have spoken at CRC meetings about the risks involved when standard-bred horses are spooked by noise and vibration resulting from blasts.

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​​Definitely. There are risks of contamination of the surface water flowing through the site into the Byrdson Creek-Blue Springs Creek-Eramosa River systems–all part of the Grand River watershed–and similar contamination of the groundwater aquifer that feeds downstream wells,  There is real uncertainty about the extent to which blasting will impact the aquifer that feeds the Rockwood number 4 well.  In spite of assurances to the contrary, we believe that dust arising from crushing and loading operations as well as heavy truck traffic into and out of the site will be emitted as air pollution.

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​​It is located at the corner of Highway 7 and 6th Line Eramosa, just east of Rockwood and west of Acton. It is only one kilometre from the southern neighbourhoods of Rockwood as the crow flies, and as little as 165 m from homes and buildings on Eramosa 6th and 7th Lines and those at the north end of Nassagaweya 5th line! Nearly half the population of Rockwood lives within 2 kilometers of the site.

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Property Values

​​​​​There don’t appear to be any. CRC has taken issue with the findings of the Township consultant’s economic impact analysis which ignores any downward pressure on house and land prices and the accompanying loss of tax assessment, as well as new costs borne by the municipalities related to infrastructure management, emergency services, and so on.  GET Council recognizes that there is nothing ​tangible in this for the community.  So, the only benefits the quarry will have are to JDCL’s bottom line.

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​​It is located at the corner of Highway 7 and 6th Line Eramosa, just east of Rockwood and west of Acton. It is only one kilometre from the southern neighbourhoods of Rockwood as the crow flies, and as little as 165 m from homes and buildings on Eramosa 6th and 7th Lines and those at the north end of Nassagaweya 5th line! Nearly half the population of Rockwood lives within 2 kilometers of the site.

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​​​​Yes. Just ask yourself, “Would I knowingly purchase a property adjacent to a quarry rather than a similar one somewhere else?” Only if it were cheap enough. MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corportation) reduces property values near quarries and studies have been done that demonstrate that property values drop due to proximity to pits and quarries.  The successful fight against JDCL’s Rockfort Quarry in Caledon included analysis showing projected property value losses up to 20%.  Such properties will appreciate in value along with market trends, but along a trend line that remains below where it would have been without the quarry influence.  ​Aggregate proponents argue to the contrary of course, but again ask yourself whether you would knowingly purchase a property adjacent to a quarry rather than a similar one somewhere else. Only if it is cheap enough.

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The recent decision by MPAC to lower assessments for gravel pits and quarries was the result of aggregate company appeals dating back to 2009, and a settlement negotiated by MPAC with the Ontario Stone Sand and Gravel Association (OSSGA), the representative of the aggregate producers in Ontario.  It appears that some Ontario municipalities, including Wellington County Township including Guelph Eramosa and Puslinch Townships, will appeal this decision since the impact on what is already nominal tax revenue is substantial.  If it stays in place, the new tax burden resulting from the change would inevitably be transferred to residents.

Category: Property Values
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Traffic

​Yes. A lot.  JDCL projects haulage traffic to be 26 trucks per hour, 13 inbound, 13 outbound.  CRC’s view is that this underestimates real traffic rates due to the creative use of averaging.  In any event, 26 trucks per hour, or one every two minutes or so, all concentrated at the 6th Line Eramosa – Hwy 7 intersection will have a significant impact on overall traffic levels and road safety.  If the traffic goes east towards the GTA, this will have a huge impact on downtown Acton and RR25 south of town.  If, as we think is more than likely over the 20 year life of the quarry, traffic goes west towards other markets, that impact could be happening in Rockwood village and/or south on Guelph line through Brookville, or just about anywhere JDCL decides to send its trucks.

Category: Traffic
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​​Most likely. Highway 7 is the main commuting thoroughfare and it is also the proposed haul route, eastward through Acton towards the GTA according to the plan in the application.  Trucks will be running from 6 am to 6 pm, coinciding with the busiest commuting times.  The 6th Line Eramosa – Hwy 7 intersection will be a pinch point as heavily loaded trucks try to turn left onto Hwy 7 and accelerate up to the 80 kph limit–you know how long that takes.  Nassagaweya 5th Line, a 20 metre jog south and east of Eramosa 6th Line will also be seriously impacted. By the way, there is no guarantee that truck traffic won’t end up going west through Rockwood to serve markets west of here, such as the new Hwy 7 construction planned between Guelph and Kitchener or other Wellington County projects. Finally, there is also no guarantee that, in spite of JDCL’s assurances, trucks won’t use the Nassagaweya 5th and 6th lines to avoid going through Acton.  Your commute certainly won’t get better!

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​​It is certainly possible.​ Though JDCL claims there won’t be, they were unwilling to fix their incomplete and misleading haul route study and took their application to the OMB instead. JDCL has also changed haul route projections in its application, and recently indicated to Wellington County that Hidden Quarry aggregate would be available to the County, ie. north of Rockwood.  Twenty years is a long time to be able to predict where aggregate markets might be.  In addition to general demand, the proposed twinning of Highway 7 between Guelph and Kitchener/Waterloo will be looking for aggregate so it is not unreasonable to expect a significant increase in truck traffic through Rockwood over to Guelph.

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Flyrock refers to the unintended ejection of rocks from blast holes due to fissures, cavities, or other weaknesses in the underground rock structure adjacent to the blast holes or faulty blast design.  Flyrock ejected from the top of the blast holes, as opposed to the face of the excavation much of which will be under water, is the potential problem in the Hidden Quarry.  Many jurisdications around the world require exclusion zones of 500 m for rock blasting operations, but here there are no standards meaning that the 19 houses, businesses, buildings and residents within the 500 metre radius are at risk, as well as cars, school and GO buses and other vehicular traffic along about a one and a half kilometre stretch of Provincial Highway 7, a busy commuter road in this area.  “Wild flyrock” also can occur, with incidents of rock being thrown 1000 to 1200 m having been reported.

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​​It is located at the corner of Highway 7 and 6th Line Eramosa, just east of Rockwood and west of Acton. It is only one kilometre from the southern neighbourhoods of Rockwood as the crow flies, and as little as 165 m from homes and buildings on Eramosa 6th and 7th Lines and those at the north end of Nassagaweya 5th line! Nearly half the population of Rockwood lives within 2 kilometers of the site.

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Water

​Rockwood well number 4 on Milne Place, approximately 1000 metres from the quarry site, is awaiting being put into service.  The uncertainties of the impacts of blasting in the karst environment of the quarry site on the aquifers that flow through the site and nearby are such that there is no assurance that the municipal water supply will not be affected.  Domestic wells both upstream and downstream of the site will, in CRC’s view, be impacted.

Category: Water
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​​It could become a bigger quarry if surrounding properties are bought up by the aggregate industry which commonly happens. It is very difficult to sell a property adjacent to a quarry unless it is sold well below market value. Other aggregate sites in the province have been identified for possible use in aggregate recycling operations and/or landfill.  These are possible future uses for the Hidden Quarry that may become the focus of future land use debate should applications for such uses be made. James Dick Construction Ltd. (JDCL) suggests that in 20 years or so the water-filled pits will continue to exist as lakes–Rockwood Conservation Area version 2 perhaps.

Categories: Pollution, Water
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​​Definitely. There are risks of contamination of the surface water flowing through the site into the Byrdson Creek-Blue Springs Creek-Eramosa River systems–all part of the Grand River watershed–and similar contamination of the groundwater aquifer that feeds downstream wells,  There is real uncertainty about the extent to which blasting will impact the aquifer that feeds the Rockwood number 4 well.  In spite of assurances to the contrary, we believe that dust arising from crushing and loading operations as well as heavy truck traffic into and out of the site will be emitted as air pollution.

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​​It is located at the corner of Highway 7 and 6th Line Eramosa, just east of Rockwood and west of Acton. It is only one kilometre from the southern neighbourhoods of Rockwood as the crow flies, and as little as 165 m from homes and buildings on Eramosa 6th and 7th Lines and those at the north end of Nassagaweya 5th line! Nearly half the population of Rockwood lives within 2 kilometers of the site.

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In a gravel pit only surface gravel deposits are removed. They are usually only open for a few years. The top soil is preserved and after the gravel is removed the top soil is replaced for farming. A quarry strips away all the top soil and gravel down to bed rock then blasts into the bedrock to remove stone which is crushed and usually trucked away for a full range of construction use from roads to buildings. The Hidden Quarry proposes to blast 100 feet into the water table over a 60 acre area. It will operate for at least 20 years and maybe much longer, leaving two small lakes.  The property will no longer be available for agriculture.  It may also expand into neighbouring properties.

Categories: Blasting, Farming, OMB, Water
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Greenlands is the term used in Wellington County’s Official Plan (and Ontario planning in general) to define and identify woodland areas including both old growth forest and plantations.

The Greenbelt is a permanently protected area of green space, farmland, forests, wetlands, and watersheds, surrounding a significant portion of Canada’s most populated and fastest-growing area—the Golden Horseshoe.  Created by legislation passed by the Government of Ontario in 2005, the Greenbelt is considered a major step in the prevention of urban development and sprawl on environmentally sensitive land in the province. At over 1.8 million acres (7300 km²), the Greenbelt is one of the largest and most successful greenbelts in the world.

Categories: Greenlands, Water
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JDCL argues that aggregate supply is paramount, that a ‘close to market’ source trumps all concerns, and that they will rehabilitate the site when extraction is complete.  Their rehabilitation plan attempts to show that the effects of mining will not be detrimental to the environment.  The plan provides for some tree planting, but the significant result will be two lakes deep in the bedrock in what is now a valuable water recharge area in the Paris Galt Moraine which produces clear, cold water an increasingly rare commodity in southern Ontario.  The fact that excavation would break into the ground water system means that the new lakes would be ‘surface water’ and that the local ‘groundwater’ system would be permanently subject to surface water pollutants.

Categories: Greenlands, Water
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Greenlands

Yes, quarries are permitted on both Greenlands and in the Greenbelt if they meet certain criteria.  In the case of Wellington County designated ‘Greenlands’, “it is essential that extraction be carried out with as little social and environmental cost as practical. Provincial standards, guidelines and regulations will be used to assist in minimizing impacts.”  The County Official Plan has a list of criteria which must be taken into consideration.

In the case of the Greenbelt, aggregate extraction is also permitted, but again, there is a list of criteria which must be considered.

In both cases there are underlying assumptions that aggregate supply is urgent and that mitigation and rehabilitation can repair the damage done to the environment, for both of which they are compelling counter-arguments.

 

Category: Greenlands
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Greenlands is the term used in Wellington County’s Official Plan (and Ontario planning in general) to define and identify woodland areas including both old growth forest and plantations.

The Greenbelt is a permanently protected area of green space, farmland, forests, wetlands, and watersheds, surrounding a significant portion of Canada’s most populated and fastest-growing area—the Golden Horseshoe.  Created by legislation passed by the Government of Ontario in 2005, the Greenbelt is considered a major step in the prevention of urban development and sprawl on environmentally sensitive land in the province. At over 1.8 million acres (7300 km²), the Greenbelt is one of the largest and most successful greenbelts in the world.

Categories: Greenlands, Water
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JDCL argues that aggregate supply is paramount, that a ‘close to market’ source trumps all concerns, and that they will rehabilitate the site when extraction is complete.  Their rehabilitation plan attempts to show that the effects of mining will not be detrimental to the environment.  The plan provides for some tree planting, but the significant result will be two lakes deep in the bedrock in what is now a valuable water recharge area in the Paris Galt Moraine which produces clear, cold water an increasingly rare commodity in southern Ontario.  The fact that excavation would break into the ground water system means that the new lakes would be ‘surface water’ and that the local ‘groundwater’ system would be permanently subject to surface water pollutants.

Categories: Greenlands, Water
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Not necessarily.  The Greenlands designation in the Wellington County’s Official Plan recognizes the 40-year-old, 33.5 hectare conifer plantation and the three 100-year-old small mature stands of less than 2 hectares each.

The Official Plan states  “The Greenlands System will be maintained or enhanced. Activities which diminish or degrade the essential functions of the Greenlands System will be prohibited”.

However, The Greenlands policies do permit consideration of aggregate extraction subject to more detailed policy considerations, but those more detailed policy considerations must be made in the context of the planning approach for the Greenlands System contained with the O.P. which state that “Wellington County is a good place to live, (that) this Plan intends to keep it that way”; and that “the people of County enjoy clean air, clean water, healthy communities, natural heritage, cultural heritage, public health and public safety.”

CRC believes that the Greenlands are essential to the protection of the Paris Galt Moraine water re-charge system and to sequestration of CO2.

 

Categories: Greenlands, OMB
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