CRC seeks immediate moratorium on Ontario aggregate applications

EDEN MILLS – Although the Concerned Residents Coalition’s (CRC) community meeting planned on March 12 at the Eden Mills Community Hall was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak – the group is committed to its cause.

Last month, a Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) decision approving the Hidden Quarry left many questions unanswered for CRC members about the rationale for approving a quarry which the group contends will have countless negative impacts on the community and environment.

The 39-hectare property at the northeast corner of Highway 7 and 6th Line, south of Rockwood, has been owned by James Dick Construction Limited (JDCL) since 1989.

On Feb. 11, the Local Planning and Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) rendered a decision to approve the “hidden quarry” near Rockwood.

On Feb. 24, CRC director Dan Kennaley and president Doug Tripp sought Guelph-Eramosa council’s support to have their group included in a community liaison committee and to keep the group updated regarding the quarry.

At that time, Tripp said the CRC “is doing everything possible at a political level to prevent this interim decision from being made final.”

The March 12 community meeting was to provide an opportunity for residents to respond to the decision and for the CRC board to describe both the decision and its conditions, as well as the legal options for parties to the hearing.

The group maintains the LPAT decision is a bad one.

While the tribunal chair acknowledges on-going social and environmental risks from the quarry, his solution is to impose what he characterizes as “a robust monitoring system at the operator’s expense that could result in cessation of extraction.”

CRC members state “more than 1,400 residents from Guelph-Eramosa, Rockwood, Halton Hills and Milton have worked together for seven years to bring the best legal, planning and scientific assessment to this case, raising more than $800,000 to bring all the risks to light.”

A CRC press release stated the group would communicate its response to the Hidden Quarry decision via media.

When asked what that response was, CRC member Linda Sword responded by sending a statement prepared in February and notes for Tripp’s presentation to Guelph-Eramosa council on Feb. 24.

“We have made a presentation to GET council outlining our concerns and providing a draft terms of reference for the Community Liaison Committee which would monitor the operation,” Sword said.

“We are continuing to assess the situation and will be conferring with community members about next steps. Given that JDCL  has purchased two adjacent properties, a total of 200 acres, across the Line from the Hidden Quarry site and even closer to Rockwood, it is urgent that expansion of aggregate mining in this significant water re-charge area and in the Paris-Galt Moraine be stopped and that aggregate policies be addressed.”

The CRC maintains its belief there is still time to stop the Hidden Quarry

The CRC states John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry must reject the LPAT interim decision on the Hidden Quarry.

The CRC is seeking support for an immediate moratorium on the Hidden Quarry and all aggregate applications in Ontario

“The Hidden Quarry decision is a wake-up call to the large number of communities facing an application for a pit or quarry in their community or preparing for an LPAT hearing,” officials say.

The CRC is calling on the province to intervene immediately and:

– put the Hidden Quarry decision on hold;

– impose an immediate moratorium on all quarry applications in Ontario; and

convene an emergency summit for a comprehensive consultation with all stakeholders on impact of aggregate extraction on integrity of communities and ecosystems.