Concerned citizens unite to oppose Ghent Pit

Opponents of H. Bye Construction’s Ghent Pit voiced their concerns again at a crowded council meeting in Kenilworth on May 25.

The group has come together as Concerned Citizens of Wellington North to oppose the formation of the Ghent Pit, in the hope that council will deny the application.

“We need to work together to save prime agriculture this application stands to destroy,” Brett McHugh, a member of the group, told council.

“We are protecting the ground water we all use.”

The group cites concerns with the safety of residents, including school children, high traffic, noise, low demand for aggregates, ground water, and prime agricultural land as issues in their opposition to the application.

Council also heard from Peter Fallis, solicitor for H. Bye Construction, who argued Wellington North council should accept the application based in law.

“Town council must conform, not conflict [with the Provincial Policy Statement],” said Fallis, noting the policy states planning authorities may permit the extraction of mineral aggregate in prime agricultural land.

Fallis acknowledged the citizens’ concerns, stating that mitigation is necessary.

“We are under attack,” said Pat Brown, a member of the concerned citizens group, noting the loss of agricultural lands is "at 300 acres a day.”

Brown was quoting Waterloo Region chair Ken Seiling, who outlined concerns over loss of agricultural land in 2014 during a recent National Farmers Union meeting.

Council thanked both sides for speaking and indicated they take the concerns into consideration when making their final decisions.