ISSUE: Making ENVIRONMENTAL and ECONOMIC SENSE
Fact: Many pockets of gravel aggregates were left behind by the same ancient glaciers that make the Greenbelt/ Niagara Escarpment/ Oak Ridges Moraine one of the major sources of water for the Greater Toronto Area and Great Lakes.
Fact: Ground source water is not a very well-understood resource. Where it comes from, where it goes, how it can become disturbed and contaminated is highly speculative.
Fact: Gravel Pits and Stone Quarries can dig a hundred feet or more into the earth – and many stories below the water table! – potentially releasing harmful earth minerals and contaminants and risking leaching into ground source water aquifers.
Fact: Noise pollution from potentially hundreds of trucks per hour, noise from mining equipment such as rock crushers and excavation equipment can travel for many miles.
Fact: Dust and fine particulate pollution from gravel trucks and stationary mine operations can travel for many miles.
Fact: Studies have shown that Property Tax Assessment/ Land values can drop
by as much as 30% in the vicinity of a pit or quarry, beginning as soon as the
application for a permit is announced. Profit-seeking corporate pit and quarry
owners should be willing to compensate home owners for the drop in their property
values due to the announcement/operation of their pit. One way this can occur is
through Full Cost Accounting and Financial Assurance Agreements. If the
profitability of a proposed mining operation is insufficient to provide such assurances
and compensation, then it is NOT economically viable and should not be permitted to proceed.
Fact: Even if you are not in the immediate affected area, your property tax may suffer
an increase to cover the shortfall if the municipality is hit with reduced revenues from reduced assessment values of properties in the pit area. Pit operators should accept the principle that these costs should be borne by them, not the neighbouring property owners and municipal taxpayers.
Fact: Once a pit or quarry is approved, roads - and other infrastructure - may need significant improvement to handle heavy trucks. These costs currently impact ALL municipal property owners/taxpayers.
PitSense is working to ensure that new gravel pits make both environmental and economic sense for everyone. To do that we are calling for new policies that would require aggregate operators to do Full Cost Accounting when evaluating the economic viability of a proposed operation. Full Cost Accounting means: accounting that recognizes ALL economic, environmental, health, and social costs of an action or decision. This includes negative impacts on property values and municipal revenues. Aggregate operations are not a public service, they are private, for-profit businesses. Local residents and municipalities should no longer be forced to financially subsidize these businesses so they can make huge profits. We recognize that gravel is an important resource for infrastructure development, construction, and to some extent for job creation. We believe that Aggregate operations should not be conducted at a NET COST to society; they should provide a NET BENEFIT once all environmental and economic costs are calculated.
How can you help? All levels of government need to understand that this is an important issue to ALL of us, regardless of where we live. PitSense has begun with approximately 180 supporters. We, the unpaid founders of this important group, need to know that you care and that we have your support to take this issue further.
If you can volunteer any time to organize events, collect names of interested persons,
or other necessary tasks, please volunteer. Or consider making a financial contribution
using the 'Donate' button to the right. We will need specialists such as lawyers and
environmental experts to help express our concerns and quantify costs. We would
like to align ourselves with other affected parties and groups so that a consistent,
well-thought-out message is conveyed to government through us and through you,
the taxpayers and voters.
PLEASE JOIN US.