PitSense is a community of people first organized in 2010 to respond to proposals for further increases in the number and size of aggregate operations in Caledon. In cooperation with affiliated groups we are opposed to the continuing 'Domino Effect' growth of open pit mines and quarries in the agricultural and rural residential areas of the Niagara Escarpment and other threatened areas across Ontario.
"Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come"
... Victor Hugo
We are very fortunate to have in Ontario an area that is recognized internationally as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Large parts of the Niagara Escarpment are also designated as 'Protected' areas, with 'Greenbelt', 'Oak Ridges Moraine', and 'Credit Valley Conservation Area' status as well. We seek to make these designations truly meaningful.
I N T H E N E W S - p.2
November 4, 2014 - LaFarge applies for another 100+ acre pit in Caledon - Local residents are alarmed as another gravel domino appears to be about to fall on Caledon.
Green Lake is a narrow, 14-hectare kettle lake. Kettles are depressions that are formed as partially-buried glacial ice blocks melt. Kettle lakes are quite rare in southern Ontario and are formed when these glacial depressions are filled with water. The lake is dependent on surface run-off from the surrounding slopes as well as a perched water table. Water levels drop significantly in the summer.
Green Lake is designated as a provincially significant wetland. The marshes contain a variety of vegetative species, and are usually flooded in the spring and early summer and at the water’s edge by late summer.Source: Natural Heritage Information Centre, www.nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/nhic/areas.cfmTo see full Notice of Application
July 23, 2015 - Olympia Sand and Gravel Melville Pit approved by the OMB - The approval of the 300 acre Olympia property adds to Caledon's 'MegaComplex' inventory of approved and licensed pit properties, bringing the total to well above 3700 acres. So far in 2015 we have seen Melville, the 100+ acre Limebeer Pit, and approx 8 acres of 'wayside pit' on McLaren Rd. added to the approximately 3300 acres of existing pits and quarries in and around Caledon.
October 14, 2015 - Another gravel pit domino is about to fall. "Many residents have been vocal in opposing the operation. Their concerns include the impact to groundwater, lower property values and increased truck traffic."
To read the full article
October 14, 2015 - Late last month (Sept.) residents living near the Brock Aggregates Tottenham Pit in north-east Caledon were shocked to learn that a pit expansion was quietly approved last May and the community was not informed by their local representatives nor by the Ministry. Our local Green Party candidate and the provincial leader have expressed concerns and spoke to a hastily organized gathering in front of the pit site. Read full articles HEREand HERE
September 29, 2015 - Milton council votes to support CRC group at OMB hearing. See full article HERE
November 2015 - Gravel Supply by Rail is more cost effective and more environmentally friendly than traditional means of gravel transportation. Each rail car can hold the equivalent of roughly 3 gravel trucks and wagons, so each train load of 100 cars is taking the equivalent of 300 trucks off of the road network every day, making our roads safer and avoiding costly wear on our highway infrastructure. Shipping by Rail also emits roughly 52% less CO2 than the equivalent in trucks.
To read more click HERE and HERE
December 4, 2015 - Who Gets Left Out of Ontario's Public Participation Act? PEN Canada interviews victims of SLAPP suits. When our affiliated group CRAND raised community concerns about the health impacts of air contaminants from a proposed gravel pit near residences in North Dumfries, little did they know this effort would lead them to an appearance before the Ontario Municipal Board and subsequently facing one of the largest financial penalties ever levied by the OMB. At the time, a Bill was before the provincial legislature that might have offered some protection, but the proposed retro-activity of the Bill was removed before passage, leaving CRAND without protection. Read the full interview HERE.
Watch this space for future developments!
September 6, 2016 - 44-year-old licence held by a brick manufacturer is allowing the company to clear-cut an estimated 9,000 trees.
Visit the website for the Tyandaga Environmental Coalition - Click HERE www.tecburlington.com
November 1, 2016 - Erin residents dismayed to learn of proposed pit expansion
A group of residents is angry and frustrated over possible expansion of a gravel pit just south of Erin village, with many saying they feel betrayed.
Tension over the pit boiled to the surface at a public meeting at Centre 2000, with officials of Halton Crushed Stone (HCS) and members of Erin Town Council taking harsh criticism over the potential for increased dust, noise and disruption of the land.
photo: Erin Advocate
See full news article HERE
January 2017 - The New Year starts the same way the old year ended , with more citizens seeking protection from relentless aggregate operations ...
Wellington County and its member municipalities have taken a $6 million hit because of changes to how gravel pits are assessed for property taxes – a shortfall now being made up by other taxpayers. See full story here:
PARIS - More than 100 residents packed the Brant County council chamber to hear public presentations as part of an environmental tribunal hearing into an aggregate company's attempt to gain a water-taking permit for its new operation north of Paris.
Nine witnesses expressed concerns during a special evening session this week about the prospect of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change giving Dufferin Aggregates, a division of CRH Canada Group Inc., and owners of the 40 year old unused license, an environmental compliance approval (ECA) and a water-taking permit to operate a gravel pit it has opened on more than 600 acres of agricultural land on Watts Pond Road. See full story here :
May 16, 2017 - The government has announced that the controversial Ontario Municipal Board is being revised. The changes will establish a new board (the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, or LPAT) that will have substantially narrower powers. Also of great interest to community groups like ours are provisions that should ease the financial risks and burdens that presently accompany appeals to the OMB. We look forward to learning the details since implementations don't always match government announcements.
May 18, 2017 - The results of the Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review have been published. A quick review of the changes in the various plans reveals that there is entrenchment of provisions that are contrary to the interests of communities that face the establishment or expansion of open pit mines in their neighborhoods. For example, the use of pits and quarries as storage and processing facilities for imported demolition materials, that was stealthily introduced in the Provincial Policy Statement (2014), is specifically permitted. We have consistently opposed such provisions because of the risk to human health and the environment from toxic contamination getting into the air and groundwater, as well as the total absence of effective monitoring and enforcement. See our page on the topic HERE
June 2017 - Cleaning Up Their Act? ... Or just the appearance of doing the right thing?
Several years ago the gravel industry initiated an organization called “Cornerstone Standards Council (CSC) to try to develop improved standards that would lead to the “Certification” of pits and quarries that adhered to the higher standards and thus would be marketed/promoted as preferred sources for aggregates. These standards are now in place and municipalities and other purchasers of aggregate materials and being urged to adopt resolutions specifying these sources over non-certified sources.
Early on in the process we asked for specifics on how the ‘standards’ would exceed the default standards imposed by the Aggregate Resources Act. We repeated the same question over the years in various meetings, most recently with Ms. Krista-Bay West, Certification Specialist with CSC, and never received a reply. We are concerned that these efforts may simply amount to 'greenwashing' PR.
We are very pleased that Gravel Watch Ontario has also issued a statement that reinforces our concerns. You can read it HERE.
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September 13, 2017 - Is it just coincidence that we continue to get reports of traffic fatalities involving heavy trucks and other motorists at the same time as efforts to enforce regulations appear to be ineffective? Ever since PitSense got involved in aggregate issues in early 2010 we have been following haulage related issues, including pollution, infrastructure damage, and especially safety.
Between August and October 2012 the Ontario Ministry of Transportation conducted a survey “… to determine the scope of weight compliance issues within the aggregate industry”. A total of 434 aggregate vehicles were surveyed, revealing “… a systemic problem and pattern of non-compliance for both gross and axle weight” and “The majority of the vehicles surveyed exceeded maximum allowable axle weight.” The same letter which contained these quotes, from Minister Chiarelli to the Director of the Town of Kawartha Lakes, mentions several options for remedial actions.
We are not aware of any implementation of these options. We can only speculate on the possibility that truck safety and overloading contraventions continue and may have contributed to continuing deaths from accidents involving heavy trucks.
In fact, adding to our concerns, a letter from the MOT to the Ontario Dump Truck Association on January 7, 2015 refers to an “… enforcement deferral in place for the aggregate industry.”
Is this “deferral” still in place in some form? Enquiries we made regarding the MOT survey were not answered by the Ministry.
In the meantime the toll mounts. Recently there have been more accident reports. For example -
We also have a report that OPP and Regional Police forces along with several government Ministries conducted safety inspections on Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) in Caledon on September 12 and 13, 2017. The results were as follows:
September 12 – located on County Road 109, west of Highway 10
September 13 - located on George Bolton Parkway, east of Coleraine Drive
177 Commercial motor vehicles inspected
65 Vehicles placed out of service (36%)
107 charges laid under the Highway Traffic Act
So do we have a problem? It would appear so.
Our questions remain - is this acceptable and what should we do about it?