Residents again make case against Aikensville gravel pit

While an official plan amendment for a proposed Aikensville gravel was approved by county council, residents were at Puslinch council recently to outline a case against the pit.
Dennis Lever, representing the Cranberry Area Residents and Ratepayers Association, said there are several en­vironmental, social, and fin­ancial impacts associated with the Capital Paving plan – including the pit would be located near wetlands.
Lever said there is “a lot of unrest” from about 107 nearby property owners who have several issues with the proposal, including: false claims made in Cap­ital’s dust management report; issues with insufficient setbacks; noise pollution; conflicting land uses; and the financial burden on residents.
Lever said if Capital follows its plan for below-the-water table extraction, there is likely only 500,000 tonnes of gravel to be removed, not 1.5 million, as Capital claims.
Township hydrogeologist Stan Denhoed stated in a letter to another resident he has not verified that reduction in volume. Denhoed said he would comment on it when new site plans are available.
Lever said mediation could be an option, but given what he called Capital’s history of not cooperating with residents, he is not confident talks will be productive. He said a 7-6 vote at county council is proof there are problems with the proposal.
He told council if every­thing was up to planning de­part­ments there would be no need for elected officials, and some­times councillors need to say no.
Councillor Matthew Bul­mer thanked him for the information.
Bulmer said distance and sep­aration is the best way to mitigate noise, and he has yet to see Capital address that, or identify re­quired setbacks.
Lever said the amount of noise from a gravel crusher 30 metres away is 86 decibels. Capital plans to have the crusher only 15 metres from one, he said, so the noise will be louder than that. He said most industries require ear plugs with noise levels at or above 85 decibels, and proposed berms would provide a moderate reduction in noise – “at best.”
Councillor Susan Fielding gave her word council would do everything in its power to ensure the situation is workable. “I have a lot of concerns about this,” she said.
Councillor Dick Visser agreed. “My mind is far from made up,” he said of the proposed site plan and zoning for the pit. He expressed some frustration with only four councillors addressing the issue, because of declarations of pecuniary interest .
Councillor Don McKay – along with his wife, county councillor Barb McKay  – has declared a conflict of interest  because of employment connections to gravel companies.
Mayor Brad Whitcombe  said it is a councillor’s right to  decide about declaring a conflict of interest.