Proponent requests ‘pre-pre-consultation’ prior to pit proposal application

ABERFOYLE – CBM Aggregates is seeking a “pre-pre-consultation” meeting with Puslinch Township, according to Neal DeRuyter of MHBC Planning.

On Dec. 18, DeRuyter said the proponent wants the township’s hydrogeologist to meet with CBM’s hydrogeologists to review and provide input on groundwater modelling scenarios, prior to the technical reports being finalized for a future pit application for Lots 18 to 20 on Concession 1.

DeRuyter explained the property contains a significant amount of high quality sand and gravel resources that warrant further assessment and evaluation.

CBM is in the preliminary stages of investigation and preparing technical studies of the location. Any future application would still need approvals from the township and province.

Due to the high elevation of the groundwater table, DeRuyter explained extraction on the site would be below the water table.

He noted parts of the property include Mill Creek and significant wetlands both on the property and within the immediate area.

“The protection of these features is paramount,” DeRuyter said.

“Aggregate extraction, if it were permitted, must have no adverse effect on these features.”

DeRuyter asked the township to authorize a hydrogeologist meeting.

“Given the links with groundwater and the natural environment,” DeRuyter stated this type of input is needed.

“We believe that … engaging the township’s consultant will allow for meaningful dialogue before reports are prepared or submitted.”

He said this would ensure technical expertise and advice at the beginning of the process rather than at the middle or the end of the application process.

Even so, DeRuyter did not anticipate an application submission before the end of 2020. He noted a full public process is needed within the planning and the aggregate acts.

He added that even with this “pre-pre-consultation” meeting, a formal pre-consultation meeting with township, county, Grand River Conservation Authority  and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will still be required.

He explained an initial meeting with the township would allow for discussion of specific details, whereas the pre-consultation meeting is a “high level” discussion.

Mayor James Seeley said he appreciates the proponent was engaging the municipality early in the process.

Councillors wanted assurances CBM would cover the township’s costs to bring in its hydrogeologist. DeRuyter understood there was a related cost and said he would be willing to hold a discussion.

Councillor John Sepulis wanted to see confirmation of CBM’s willingness to cover the cost rather than have it come out of the township’s pocket to support such an application.

Councillor Matthew Bulmer noted CBM operates several pits in the area and all pit operators would benefit from a good groundwater model. He asked about the benefit to the community of having such a good groundwater model for one site which is not connected to other or all gravel extraction sites.

He asked whether CBM had discussed the idea with other operators to benefit all, rather just one application,

DeRuyter said he could not speak on behalf of all licensed aggregate operators in the township.

“Certainly we could have that discussion with CBM,” he said.

Bulmer shared Sepulis’ concern about costs and wanted to see written assurances.

Mayor James Seeley believed passing a resolution authorizing a meeting with the consultant was premature. He suggested additional meetings are needed to hash out the details on how costs would be covered.