PROTECTING Our Escarpment
PitSense is a community of people organized to respond to proposals for further increases in the number and size of aggregate operations in Caledon.
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 UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
In order to determine just how far from the McCormick pit you are, please refer to these maps: (click HERE)

Time is of the essence… please act now.

February / 18 / 2011

If you are concerned with aggregate issues in your community, this is your chance to have your concerns heard…

The Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) in cooperation with the Ontario Good Roads Association are holding their annual conference starting February 27th. This is an excellent opportunity for municipalities to discuss important issues with the province.

Per ROMA’s web site, “Issues which are currently before ROMA include intensive livestock operations, nutrient management, rural schools, commodity prices, farm taxation, economic development, roads, bridges and infrastructure, a new Municipal Act, and ambulance services in rural Ontario.” Absent from this list are issues related to pits and quarries.

Our affiliate Gravel Watch has recently contacted rural municipalities across Ontario, urging them to raise these issues at the ROMA conference. This is not enough - please reinforce this message locally. Bring your concerns to the attention of your municipal councils.The following are issues which we believe are key, and on which we believe a united voice can influence provincial policy:

1. Increase royalties payable to municipalities to help offset costs related to aggregate operations, and / or require applicants to pay the costs of peer reviews required by the municipality. Unless specifically required in the municipality’s Official Plan, current processes place the cost of these reviews on municipalities and residents’ groups who have inadequate resources to fund them.

2. Establish minimum separation distances between aggregate operations and settlements. The current required setback does not allow adequate protection of residential areas from negative impacts.

3. Do not allow MNR to unilaterally, without approval of the municipality, approve amendments to conditions on licenses and site plans that were set during the public process. Current policy allows MNR approval of many significant amendments, including changes of licenses from “above water” to “below water”, without approval by the municipality.

4. Require better enforcement of site plans and regulations, including rehabilitation. The MNR is understaffed and unable to adequately monitor operations. Pits and quarries are inspected,
on average, once every five to seven years.
Further, it is estimated that less than half of
excavated lands are being rehabilitated.

Please call, email or write to your local council immediately.
In addition to the above, make them aware of your particular concerns.
Feel free to use information provided on this website and in
this alert to make your job easier and your case stronger.

Sample letters ... CLICK HERE

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

                    .... Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Please Sign Guestbook

Copyright © 2010-2018 PitSense Niagara Escarpment Group Inc.
All rights reserved
April 2, 2011
HELP WANTED -in order to effectively pursue our goals PitSense is looking for more volunteers to do research, analysis, and communications on a wide variety of topics. Pick and choose the area that most concerns you! If you can spare an hour or two per week and would be willing to help, please contact us at:

ALSO - While we await the responses from MPAC regarding our Requests for Reconsideration, we need to complete our list of all those property owners who made requests. This is for use by our lawyers in  developing an effective strategy to advance the case for reduced assessment values and adequate compensation. If you submitted an RFR, and have not yet been in touch with one of our executive members, please advise us at:
June / 11 / 2011
PitSense held our 2nd BBQ to raise awareness and funds on June 11 from 4pm to dusk to enable our community to 'Meet, Greet, and Eat' with neighbours and friends who are working to protect the Niagara Escarpment. For more info click HERE
Audio sample of live music John Michael Green provided at the event:

March / 14 / 2011
The deadline for submitting a 2011 Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) Request for Reconsideration (RFR) is now past. PitSense has been working with lawyers, MPAC consultants, and local residents to pursue the principle that aggregate license applicants must be required to consider the negative impact that their proposals and operations have on property values. FULL COST ACCOUNTING is part of that strategy. What this means is that local residents need to establish that their losses: 1) are actual; and 2) that they should receive compensation in the form of reduced MPAC assessments and monetary payments. Our advisors suggest that as many people as possible should submit an RFR before this year's deadline. It is a simple, no-cost process and it involves no risks or obligations. Forms and instructions are available online (click HERE). If you would like assistance in filing, PitSense advisors can provide sample submissions and advice on how to proceed. We've 'been there, done that' and are happy to share. Just email us at:

The following graph is the result of a comprehensive study done by Professor Diane Hite. It shows the degree of property value loss in relation to the proximity to a gravel pit. You may use this information as the basis for your request. To read the full Town of Caledon report from which it is obtained: (click HERE)
To view a short video clip from the BBQ click HERE
For pics click HERE
June/18/2011      PitSense SIGNS NOW AVAILABLE!
Get yours now to show your support. $10 cost includes stakes and screws. $15 cost includes stakes, screws, delivery, and installation (within a reasonable distance).   email:

                WHO NEEDS IT?
              WHAT’S IT WORTH?

Is it worth a few minutes of your time? A phone call? An email or two? Perhaps even a postage stamp?
Well, read on ….

One of the major concerns that PitSense supporters share is the restoration and preservation of our air quality.

Did you know that in Caledon, an applicant cannot obtain a license to extract aggregate unless:
“the Applicant has demonstrated that the impacts from dust and other air pollutants will be mitigated to acceptable levels “

So what is an “acceptable level”, and to whom must it be acceptable?

Consider - In the 1996 Caledon Planning Report #96-36, in comments regarding the proposed James Dick gravel pit expansion east of Kennedy Rd. it was stated: “Although dustfall levels exceed the provincial criterion, the marginal increase in dustfall resulting from the proposed expansion is not expected to have a noticeable effect.” [emphasis added] These words are intended to be reassuring, but what is the reality?

Imagine if your child came home from school with a note saying that classroom asbestos levels exceeded the provincial criterion and that a “marginal increase” might not be noticed. Would YOU be reassured?

PitSense would like to know what actually happened, now that we are 15 years further down the ‘gravel’ road. We are therefore asking for your help in determining what has been done, what is being done, and what needs to be done to preserve and protect the clean air that we require for healthy living.

We would like you to call, email or write to the contacts listed at the end of this letter.

Please help by voicing your concerns. The more calls/emails/letters they receive the better the chances that something will be done.

Some of the questions that need to be asked are:

>>What air contaminants are contained in the dust and fumes that are produced by aggregate operations – machinery, trucks, wind, etc.?

>>What are the long term health effects of inhaling fine particulate matter such as is contained in diesel exhaust and wind-blown contaminants from open-pit mining operations?

>>Are there any official tolerable/acceptable limits to exposure? What are they?

>>What measures are being taken to see that limits are NOT exceeded? What happens if/when excesses occur?

>>Is there any on-going monitoring being done in our area, and how/when is it done?

>>Was there any follow-up to the Caledon Planning Report cited above and what was the outcome?

Residents in the local area of the James Dick pits and the proposed McCormick Pit, particularly downwind, report high levels of visible dust. That’s bad enough to become concerned. But it is the INVISIBLE dust that is the most dangerous! Who is measuring this and determining its source? Please help us obtain answers.

The people to contact are:

Janette Smith, Commissioner of Health Services, Peel Region –
Mailing Address: 10 Peel Centre Drive, Suite A and B, Brampton, ON L6T 4B9

Dr. David Mowat, Medical Officer of Health – 905-791-7800, ext. 2566
email at:

Ministry of Environment416-739-4826 1-800-565-4923 Email:

You need not ask all questions at one time. A series of questions will have more effect. Please keep a record of the contacts you make and any responses you receive, and share the information with us. We have been assured that they will take our questions very seriously and provide substantial answers.

Thank you for your support!

Your PitSense Team


Subject: Urge the Niagara Escarpment Commission to Seek a Review of the
Walker Aggregates Inc. Decision!

On June 18, 2012 the Joint Board, in a split decision (2-1) approved a massive, new 42-million tonne aggregate quarry for Walker Aggregates Inc. located at the very highest point of the Niagara Escarpment, near Duntroon, Ontario.Please voice your concern to the NEC by 5:00 p.m. on Friday July 13, 2012, by email to or fax (905) 873-7452 so that it may be before the NEC at its July 19, 2012 meeting. Please cc so that they may track the number of responses. Your support, and that of others, is urgently needed!

DEADLINE ALERT!   Written comments on the CTC Draft Source Water Protection Planmust be made by Monday October 8, 2012, 5pm. Send submissions to: Chair, Source Protection c/o TRCA, 70 Canuck Avenue, Downsview, ON M3K 2C5  fax: 416-667-6278
email:      If you would like help with your submission or obtain sample templates to follow please contact us at:

URGENT ALERT! As you may know, many aggregate companies are FOREIGN OWNED.
A new piece of federal legislation that may have SERIOUS ramifications is about to be implemented. It is the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act (FIPPA), Canada's biggest foreign trade treaty since NAFTA. It will come into effect at the end of October and will bind both the federal and provincial governments of Canada to its clauses for a MINIMUM of 15 years without the ability to cancel the agreement, and for an additional 15 years during which it can be cancelled, but any rulings prior to cancellation will survive for another 15 years, until 2043 and beyond.  (Read more about the agreement HERE.)

Already, under the provisions of NAFTA chapter 11, Canada has been successfully sued for millions of dollars because foreign companies claimed lost profits as a result of Canadian laws. More suits have been attempted or are pending, one in particular was about the denial of an aggregate license where St Marys Cement was seeking $275 million in compensation for actions taken by the Province of Ontario to block the proposed Flamborough Quarry. In that case the grounds for the denial were basically that St Marys VCNA, LLC (the party filing the claim) is wholly controlled by a Brazilian company and Brazil is not a signatory to NAFTA.

As with Chapter 11 in NAFTA, Chinese State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) will have the right to sue the Canadian government for laws, regulations, even court decisions that might interfere with or prevent present or future profits. Unlike NAFTA, this would be done in secrecy with special tribunals. China recently claimed 3 Billion Euros in damages from Belgium for an investment failure.  We simply do not know enough about the potential impact on Canadian resource industries, like aggregates, to proceed with this type of legislation without more careful scrutiny.

   This treaty is set to take effect on November 1, unless YOU act to require your federal MP to intervene.
           PitSense members have already written letters. Please do your part, and keep us updated.

New CSC Signals AFO-SERA Merger
The creation of the CSC marks the coming together of the Aggregate Forum of Ontario (AFO) and Socially and Environmentally Responsible Aggregate (SERA).  The new CSC continues the mission of both groups, to create certification standards. We urge all PitSense supporters to visit the website at:   and participate in the formation of standards and protocols. Your input is important !
Notice of Application - Harrington McAvan Ltd. on behalf of Blueland Farms Ltd. has once again submitted an Official Plan Amendment application to the Town of Caledon. They are seeking to redesignate the property from Rural Area to Extractive Industrial B to permit below-water-table mining as well as various accessory uses such as "crushing, screening, washing, stockpiling and recycling of asphalt and concrete material."
See the full Notice of Application HERE.
We are firm in our opposition to any provision that would allow such an industrial recycling operation in a rural residential area. Also we believe the Ministry of Natural Resources is neither mandated nor staffed to undertake such responsibilities.
We welcome your comments on this application. Please provide us your thoughts and concerns ASAP so we may effectively represent your views as we proceed.
A new batch of PitSense lawn signs are now in. Please show your support for our efforts by putting up a sign.
Email us at: to arrange for pickup or delivery.
       November 23, 2013 -  Although the plans were hatched in 2004, PitSense only recently became aware of a plan to convert a number of local rural roads into heavy truck haul routes.    It's called the

The voracious appetite for open pit mining in close proximity to residential areas adds significantly to the demand for local roads to be used as haul routes. This is despite the fact that planners said the strategy should "minimize the impact of truck traffic on residential communities including noise, safety and accessibility". That seems to be the last time that residential property owners were considered! Of 120 identified "stakeholders" there is not one mention of property owners, residents, constituents, etc.
In addition to Heart Lake Rd., PitSense is most concerned about Horseshoe Hill Rd. and Mountainview Rd., two very scenic and relatively tranquil roads lined with rural residences. The inclusion of these types of roads in this plan is a travesty.
We feel this is an unacceptable situation, where those most affected are totally overlooked. We urge anyone who sees the injustice of this to contact their political so-called 'representatives' and demand that these plans be stopped, unless and until local property owners have been properly engaged in the process.

Please ACT NOW!
           The Concerned Residents Coalition (CRC), who are fighting a quarry  proposal near Rockwood Ontario, have received support, both legal and financial from their municipality and from neighbouring municipalities. On Monday October 17, 2016, Mayor Bonnette of Halton Hills will be seeking to increase that support. Here is the announcement and request for action from CRC:

"If you can, especially if you live in Halton Hills, please attend next Monday evening's meeting of the Town of Halton Hills Council at 7 pm. Mayor Bonnette will present a notice of motion recommending funding for the Concerned Residents Coalition! And this after Halton Hills has already invested tens of thousands of dollars in preparing its case for the OMB Hearing on the proposed Hidden Quarry. Halton Hills will join Guelph Eramosa Township and Milton Councils in providing financial assistance to residents through CRC.

CRC President Doug Tripp will make a short presentation to Council. We must, in good numbers, show our appreciation for the support Halton Hills has provided CRC throughout this long process.

The Council meeting location is: 1 Halton Hills Drive, Halton Hills Ontario Halton Hills Civic Centre L7G 5G2"

This sort of cooperation and support from Municipal representatives needs to be actively appreciated and encouraged in all municipalities where questionable aggregate developments are proposed.