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.
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.
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.
With the proposed Hidden Quarry property zoned Greenlands, why does JDCL still want to destroy this environmentally sensitive land?
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.
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.
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.
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.