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Minto council hears two objections to expanded pit

by David Meyer

MINTO - A public meeting here found two objections to a gravel pit expansion proposal by the Murray Group, but those might turn out to be insignificant.

The meeting Oct. 4 was to hear of plans to expand a gravel extraction operation at Part Lot 7 Concession A. The land is currently designated secondary agriculture, greenlands, and core greenlands. The area is not currently identified as an area for aggregate in the county official plan, but the rules permit the expansion to that designation.

The notice from the town stated that the official plan does permit the establishment of new or expanded mineral aggregate operations, subject to considerations for potential impacts on agricultural, natural environmental, and surrounding land use.

The amendment would allow The Murray Group to expand its existing pit operation to a portion of the lands at the site. The extraction would be above the water table.

Town planner Mark Van Patter, of the Wellington County planning department, introduced The Murray Group’s planner Rob Stovel and vice president Richard Seibel.

Stovel told council the land is 22 hectares but the company plans to mine only 13 of them. He said the Plume Pit is the back of a family farm, and the company is planning to obtain setbacks required. It hopes to get 300,000 tonnes of aggregate per year from the site, with no increase on the number of trucks hauling from the area. The entrance would be at the north part of the farm.

The hours of operation would be 6am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 6am to 6pm on Saturdays.

Stovel said there is another pit on the 12th Line directly to the north. He said the crusher would be brought in one to three times a year for each session, and the eventual goal is to reforest 3.5 hectares of the pit lands.

He said he did not think there would be any social impacts because the pit is located well away from neighbouring farms and is well buffered. He said the closest residence is 600 metres away, and the Murray Group owns the pit located between that residence and the proposed site, so the pit operation is actually moving farther away from residences.

Stovel added the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority had no objections to the proposal.

Public works director Terry Fisk asked what trees will be used for reforestation. Stovel said the list would be on the rehabilitation plan, and the company will use native species.

Councillor Mary-Lou Colwell asked about nearby residences.

Stovel said all of them in the area are closer to the existing pit than they are to the one the company is moving to. He said the Plume family is the closest.

Councillor Ron Faulkner wondered about two residences on the 12th Line.

Stovel said, “They’ve got to be far away. There’s another wetland and [another] pit in between” those homes and the proposed pit.

Faulkner asked about the residences on Sideroad 1.

Stovel said there is an existing pit closer to those than the proposed pit.

Van Patter explained the official plan is the first part of the application, then the township would have to approve a zoning bylaw amendment, and the Ministry of Natural Resources wold issue a licence if it deems the land a replacement source of aggregate.

Van Patter said there would no increase in the number of  trucks, and the soil in the area is poor, being rated classes 4 to 7. He added the proposal excludes a cement or asphalt plant.

Van Patter said half the site is designated greenlands, and that when the project was first proposed, there were concerns, but now the conservation authorities are no longer concerned.

When Mayor George Bridge asked is anyone was opposed, Mark MacKenzie, a county councillor and representative on the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority said he wants to see a Ministry of Natural Resources report.

He said the map council was presented was not exactly correct, and there is a stream near the proposed site that runs into the Saugeen River.

“If I can be assured this  [pit] won’t affect the quality and quantity of water ...” MacKenzie said.

Bridge asked if the SVCA had looked into the proposal.

Stovel said he believes the MNR raised a number of issues, but the stream is “well away” from the property.

He volunteered to meet with MacKenzie after the meeting to discuss the issue, and MacKenzie agreed.

Bridge noted that there was a handwritten letter of objection from an S. Badojein, of RR1 Harriston, who complained about traffic and noise, property values being lowered, and the destruction of trees.

He noted many of the trees on the site had been planted by school children.

But Bridge pointed out the man is farther away from the proposed pit than he was to the one being completed.



October 21, 2011


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