Concerns raised that new provincial policy allows aggregate to trump agriculture

ABERFOYLE – Council here has raised concern that provincial policy changes for aggregate extraction will take precedence over other local needs.

On Nov. 20, Puslinch council reviewed correspondence from Halton Region to Premier Doug Ford with respect to the recent proposed changes to the Provincial Policy Statement dated Nov. 5.

Puslinch councillor Matthew Bulmer said, “it is interesting … one of the concerns this community has had for a long time is that aggregate (extraction) trumped food production.

“To the province ‘prime ag’ meant aggregate, to us it means prime agriculture.”

He added that now, outside the greenbelt, aggregate extraction seems to trump heritage features.

Bulmer was glad to see Halton Region raise the concern that heritage features come second to aggregate (extraction).”

“Now aggregate trumps air, food and water, in terms of the provincial policy statement,” Bulmer stated.

One thing not mentioned in the proposed changes to policy related to vertical zoning.

Bulmer suggested that changes now suggest vertical extraction depths would be the purview of the ministry and Aggregate Resources Act even after the gravel extraction licence is retired.

He said he did understand how that would work once the land is no longer a licenced aggregate extraction site.

CAO Patrick Moyle said there are a number of things within the proposed legislation that are difficult to understand. He said that is why the province has indicated a lot of details are being left to regulations.

Mayor James Seeley said, “there are turbulent times in the aggregate industry right now.”

He believed council raising these concerns would be a great idea for a delegation at the upcoming ROMA conference in January.