ABERFOYLE – Puslinch council has directed staff to send a letter of support for AMO’s position on changes to Bill 132 in regards to the Aggregate Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Mayor James Seeley said council supports AMO’s (Association of Municipalities of Ontario) position on the bill, which received royal assent on Dec. 10.
Bill 132 states it is “an improvement” that under the Aggregate resources Act a change will require an application process for below water table extraction, rather than just an amendment to a licence.
However, AMO notes the province is still allowed to issue licences for below water table extraction while Section 19 of the Safe Drinking Water Act stipulates that owners of municipal drinking water sources are guilty of an offence if they fail to exercise care over a drinking water system, like a well.
As aquifers are connected, a decision of the province to allow below water table extraction could lead to contamination of municipal drinking water sources.
Given the conflict between the two Acts, AMO had asked for a concurrent amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act to indemnify council members for decisions on Aggregates Act applications that the province makes.
“This amendment was not made to the legislation that now has royal assent,” AMO states. “We believe this will result in municipal councils appealing all provincial decisions on below water table extraction to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) to show appropriate due diligence.”