County defers Aikensville pit decision

Some county councillors were reluctant in January to defer an official plan amendment that would have given Capital Pav­ing the go-ahead for extracting gravel from the proposed Aik­ensville pit.
Three members opposed deferring the issue to the plan­ning committee, but that com­mit­tee is now also suggesting that council wait until all the information is collected before it proceeds.
Planning committee chair­man Walter Trachsel, one of those who at first opposed the deferral, told council on Feb. 28 his committee did not wish to proceed after receiving a letter from area residents who opposed the pit, as well as correspondence from Puslinch Township’s hydrogeologist.
Denis Lever, president of CARRA, the  Cranberry Area Residents and Ratepayers As­so­ciation, said in his letter to the committee that Pus­linch hydrogeologist Stan Denhoed had done a peer review of Capital’s monitoring data on water levels.
Denhoed’s letter, which the planning committee also re­ceived, stated, “We find that the high­est water level recorded at the site occurred in the spring of 2006 and the site plans should have been updated ac­cordingly.”
Denhoed stated, “Some fin­al pit floor elevations are below the elevation of the high water level. Therefore, in wet years, portions of excavated lands will be inundated with water.”
He recommended the final grading not be accepted “until the position of the water table has been adequately determin­ed at the site.”
Puslinch council also decided to take advantage of the county deferral in Jan­uary to lobby for more specific site plans of the area.
Capital Paving wants to ex­cavate 2.5 million tones of gravel from the site, which has neighbours close by in a rural area. The land is part of Lot 13, 14, and 15, Concession 3, in Puslinch. It is in the northwest part of the township, north of County road 34, and im­mediately west of County Road 35.
The residents have asked county council to reject  Capital’s bid, but the county determined to proceed last fall, by a margin of one vote.
Trachsel said due to the resident’s letter, his committee decided it would defer its decision for another month, and consider the pit in March, when more details are available.
Councillor Barb McKay de­clared a conflict of interest on the issue at the planning com­mittee, and at county council because her husband is involv­ed in the gravel business.