Understandably, some confusion exists regarding the outcome of the Hidden Quarry OMB Hearing that took place this past September. Please note that the OMB hearing was NOT conclusive with respect to the proposed quarry and so the effort to ensure that it is rejected is ongoing and strong. We are very optimistic that the best interests of the community and environment will prevail and the proposed quarry will be stopped for good. There is a great deal of work ahead of us but we are seasoned to the effort and we are in a much stronger position than when the Hidden Quarry was proposed almost 4 years ago.
Briefly, what was reasonably expected to be a single 7-week hearing that would have concluded with a definitive decision on the proposed quarry mine, was cut short to three abbreviated court days spread over 2 weeks that concluded in the ruling to adjourn the hearing “indefinitely.” The hearing had to be adjourned because JDCL had not appealed to have their application considered under GET’s new zoning bylaw. The bylaw that governed their application was repealed and replaced in August 2016. The OMB could not judge the case without the context of a current bylaw. (OMB Decision on Bylaw Jurisdiction)
JDCL was left with the option to reapply and start the process again. But this time, Wellington County’s amended Official Plan was in place requiring that municipal re-zoning required an official plan amendment. In addition, new zoning designations and amendment criteria were included in the Official Plan. The proposed site is now zoned Greenlands, Core Greenlands and Agriculture. The revised designation sets the bar a little higher for the applicant. Nevertheless JDCL reapplied in December 2016 (a Christmas present to Rockwood and the area) ushering in Phase 2 with the new year, 2017.
Phase 2 – OMB component
At this point the OMB is not involved. If and when the hearing begins again or a new hearing is scheduled remains to be determined. We do know that based on regulations, JDCL will have to wait until at least July 2017 before asking the OMB to intervene again.