Residents to get one more shot at increased gravel pit setback

ERIN – The Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) has approved official plan and zoning amendments for the expansion of a gravel pit south of Erin village, but residents still have a chance this fall to make a case for an increased setback distance from their homes.

LPAT member Sharon Vincent presided at a June 17 case management conference in the Erin council chamber, listening to expert witness Neil DeRuyter on behalf of  Halton Crushed Stone (HCS) and to an overview of objections.

Residents living near the proposed pit expansion on Wellington Road 52 had no assurance they would be allowed to speak, but Vincent agreed to have Ed Delaporte as their spokesperson.

“There has been a catastrophe of misrepresentation – the residents need to be protected,” said Delaporte.

He noted that when he bought his house on Aspen Court 24 years ago, an employee with the previous pit owner assured him extraction would never come close to the homes, despite the zoning in place.

With the Town of Erin and Wellington County in agreement with HCS through a negotiated settlement, as well as no opposition from Credit Valley Conservation and peer reviewers and no evidence the HCS proposal does not conform to the Planning Act or provincial policy, Vincent said she had no option but to approve the planning changes requested by the company.

The county planning department recommended in 2018 that Erin councillors approve the changes, but they deferred the matter, resulting in the appeal to LPAT by the company.

The pit expansion still requires a license from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry under the Aggregate Resources Act.

LPAT will conduct a three-day hearing, Oct. 16 to 18, to receive testimony from registered objectors and HCS witnesses. LPAT has the authority to order an increase to the distance between the gravel extraction zone and the northwest corner of the HCS property, across the road from BelErin subdivision.

The company has agreed to 90 metres (an increase from the 30-metre minimum under old regulations that are still in effect), but residents are hoping for 300 metres, which is the modern setback from populated areas according to the official plan.

Residents say that while the lot was previously zoned for extraction, it remained unlicensed for 46 years, and should now be governed by the current official plan.

“We have not said we don’t want the pit to operate. We just want some consideration for the health of those concerned,” said Delaporte.