Risks too great

Dear Editor:

Wellington Water Watchers’ (WWW) recent statement at the LPAT hearing for the “hidden quarry” near Rockwood conveyed the need to protect the Paris Galt Moraine.

The moraine provides many important services for those of us living in this region. The loss of this moraine’s water-filtering function through the removal of its topography and compositional uniqueness will be permanent. There will be no going back. It is our opinion that bedrock extraction is not an interim land use when it comes to moraines in Ontario. There are permanent consequences wherever quarries are dug and the Paris Galt Moraine has become host to a concentrated number of gravel pits with associated quality of life and environmental impacts.

But our more important point made at the hearing is that we should never create the conditions where another potential DoLime scenario could occur.

Since 2008 WWW has been campaigning on the issue that unfolded at the “DoLime” gravel quarry in Guelph, currently known as the Guelph Limestone Quarry. This quarry was operated by James Dick Construction Limited (JDCL), the proponent for the hidden quarry. In 2008 work completed by the Ontario Geological Survey in the vicinity of the quarry discovered that excavation at the quarry had breached the aquitard, exposing the aquifer. It is important to note that it was this independent research that discovered this breach, not the monitoring of JDCL.

The issue remains to this day, 11 years later, an unresolved cautionary event that WWW believes is currently the most significant potential threat to local groundwater. This should not be forgotten.

We believe we should learn from our past mistakes and not allow the conditions for this great a risk to unfold again.

This threat to groundwater offers proof that no person or corporation can or should ever say “never”, “it won’t happen here.” There’s always risk. The bedrock geology of the site and surrounding area of the hidden quarry is still not adequately understood.

The movement of groundwater to wells following ongoing blasting may not be predictable. We must not allow the potential of creating surface-to-groundwater conduits capable of carrying contaminants to the source water that supplies the community with precious drinking water. We must remember that the Walkerton issue occurred within a karst bedrock formation, a similar formation to what we have at the proposed site.

I personally believe that the risks of operating the proposed hidden quarry are too great to overlook. If you believe so as well, please tell minister John Yakabuski to stop the hidden quarry.  Visit the WWW website for more information.

Arlene Slocombe,
Eden Mills