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.
You can't keep doing the same thing and expect different results.

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Copyright © 2010-2018 PitSense Niagara Escarpment Group Inc.
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A L T E R N A T I V E S   P.2
A lot has changed since 1989!

First, we are all 29 years older. But are we any wiser?

What has changed along the way, and what have we learned? We are certainly far more aware of our ecology and environment today than we were then. Legislative initiatives have increasingly taken into account priorities such as re-use and re-cycling. More and more we have discouraged waste and misuse of finite resources. We are more concerned about our planet and the legacies we leave to our children.

So, what has NOT changed?

Well for one thing, key provisions of the Aggregate Resources Act of 1989 have not changed. The provisions within the act, which were largely derived from even earlier studies and reports, encourage low-cost exploitation of this finite resource. This has meant that thousands of acres of environmentally sensitive and supposedly protected land have been torn up for the benefit of corporate owners and shareholders. For example, a report by consultant M. A. Vos in 1969 stated:

“It is essential for a quarry to be located close to market for its product. The cost of transport of low-cost, bulk commodities like aggregate is critical in determining the competitive position of a producer.” [emphasis added]

Consequently, the Act provides that corporate profit will trump other considerations.

More recently (but still 18 years ago!) the favorable position of the aggregate industry was further entrenched by the “Provincial Policy Statement” of 1995. The PPS stated that municipalities had a responsibility:

“... to identify and protect mineral aggregate resources and legally existing pits and quarries to ensure mineral aggregates are available at a reasonable cost and as close to markets as possible …”.

The term “reasonable cost” goes undefined. However, it is clear that the aggregate industry is a highly profitable business, with the greatest profits accruing to those operators who are permitted to extract the resource ‘close to market’.

Are there ANY independent studies that document an economic benefit to the citizens and taxpayers from these policies?

The highly advantageous position gained by the aggregate industry from the recommendations going back 40 years or more was further enhanced in the 2005 PPS that stated:

Demonstration of need for mineral aggregate resources, including any type of supply/demand analysis, shall not be required …”. [emphasis added]

What is the purpose and result of such a statement? It certainly is not to encourage careful and responsible stewardship of a finite resource! It is apparent that the aggregate industry believes it should be (and has been) given precedence over other conflicting interests.

As planner Mark L. Dorfman, F.C.I.P., R.P.P. succinctly states in a recent submission to the Ministry of Natural Resources:

“The existing governance model built in the past sixty years does not work and does not effectively deal with 1) the complexity of the need for the aggregate resource; 2) the negative impacts on people in the area of the operations and along the haul routes; 3) the need for protection of natural area features and functions; 4) the impact on water resources and its contributing integrative force in nature; 5) the inability of the legislation to deal with mitigation measures and monitoring mechanisms; 6) the absence of any real oversight by the provincial government with regard to the full life cycle of the aggregate operation from construction of the pit or quarry, operations, and to the final site and area remediation; and 7) the lack of financial assurances that on-site and off-site operations, the mitigation and monitoring, and the remediation will occur as planned at the beginning of this complex procedure.”

Mr. Dorfman goes on to say:

"The aggregate industry continues to view their business as a finite operation of extracting a resource from nature without clearly recognizing and understanding the externalities created and impacted by their industry. However, the people in communities where aggregate operations are occurring and are planned are often affected by and are part of these externalities whether as individuals or in community groups." [emphasis added]

Isn’t it about time we re-think many of the current provisions and priorities?

PitSense heartily endorses Mr. Dorfman’s analysis and recommendations. His 2-part submission is essential reading for anyone interested in influencing the path forward. It can be accessed at:

Of particular interest to PitSense supporters is his statement on page 10 of Part One:

“Mitigating the financial impacts on people individually and collectively in municipalities have not been considered and rationally articulated by legislation and the communities.”

Among all the aspects that PitSense is addressing, one important part of our mandate is “rationally articulating” these “financial impacts”. As Mr. Dorfman states:

“Legislation should be put in place to allow municipalities to require, negotiate and enter into binding agreements with licensees to provide royalty payments based on the extracted volumes, as well as costs to mitigate impacts on off-site properties, compensation for impacts to people directly affected by the full extent of the extraction operation, compensating property devaluations, recompensing municipal losses of property taxes, and incentives for community facilities.”[emphasis added]

PitSense intends to vigorously pursue our mandate, and with your continued support we are quite confident we can have a positive influence.
As Bob Dylan once said: "The Times They Are A-Changing".
PitSense believes that we must re-evaluate society's relationships between our aggregate industries, our aggregate users, our environment, and ordinary citizens who currently suffer the harmful consequences without adequate compensation.
We must create a better balance between all stakeholders.

Reinventing cement: a potential game-changer
for the planet

A concrete example of massive carbon reduction could result from rearranging the building material’s molecules

Cement is the basic building block of the world, and its production one of the biggest contributors to climate change. But nanotechnology could hold the key to making it not only stronger, but also much greener.

Scientists at MIT and France’s CNRS have published research showing how to make concrete using cement that is more environmentally friendly by harnessing the power of nanotechnology.

The study, just published in the journal Nature Communications, is the culmination of five years of research by a U.S-French team led by MIT senior research scientist Roland Pellenq. It’s a promising breakthrough to addressing climate change because, as Pellenq has noted, “Cement is the most-used material on the planet,” and producing it emits huge amounts of carbon.

The researchers say 18 billion tonnes of concrete are produced every year—and this production accounts for 5-to-10 per cent of the carbon emissions caused by human activity. “One strategy to reduce this environmental footprint,” they write, “is to enhance concrete’s specific stiffness or strength by optimizing the molecular-level properties.”

To read full articles click HERE and HERE
January 28, 2018 - There is a miracle building material – one so environmentally friendly that it extracts carbon from the atmosphere rather than adding to it; a stuff with which structures can go up at lightning speeds, that reduces the noise and disruption of building sites, that can be as strong as steel and much lighter, that makes both construction workers and a building’s users happier, and that, with the help of technology, is getting ever more efficient and adaptable. “It’s the material of the future”
See full article HERE

MacRebur’s® carefully selected plastics, taken from old rubbish, are added into roadsto improve strength and durability, whilst reducing the quantity of the oil based bitumenused in a traditional road mix.
Imagine that; your old rubbish can now make our roads stronger and longer lasting…

The origin story ...

The idea was born when our CEO, Toby, was working in Southern India with a charityhelping people who work on landfill sites as ‘pickers’. Their job is to gather potentiallyreusable items and sell them on to be turned from rubbish into something useful again.

Some of the waste plastics retrieved by the pickers were put into potholes, petrol poured all over them, and the rubbish set alight until the plastics melted into the craters to forma makeshift plastic pothole filler.
Toby thought that our councils might ‘frown upon this’ the UK! So, he got together with two friends, Nick and Gordon, and formed MacRebur®. We came up with our innovative idea to take a mix of waste plastics, pelletise them and add them into the making of an enhanced asphalt road.

After 18 months of testing and trials, we had our product ‘MR6’: It is within British and European standards and is a patent pending, high performance, asphalt binder additive that enhances the roads we drive on today.
Every problem is an opportunity ...
recent developments in road construction

July 12, 2018 - Researchers use coal waste to create sustainable concrete

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have created a sustainable alternative to traditional concrete usingcoal fly ash, a waste product
of coal-based electricity generation.
The advance tackles two major environmental problems
at once by making use of coal production waste and by significantly reducing the environmental impact of
concrete production.
The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Centers and
the WSU Office of Commercialization.

                                                 Click HERE for full story