"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
... Mahatma Gandhi
Dear Mayor and Councillors;
I / We have reviewed the agenda for the coming five day Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference and find it absent of topics and issues that are related to aggregate pits and quarries.
The impact pits and quarries have on the rural residential population is immense. It is almost inconceivable that this topic would not be addressed during the conference.
In particular, we believe the following six issues must be addressed.
1. Compensation to homeowners for property devaluation.
2. Compensation to the Municipalities or loss of property tax revenue.
3. Increase in royalties payable to municipalities.
4. Establishment of greater minimum separation distances between aggregate operations and settlements.
5. Change the policy that allows the MNR to unilaterally, without approval of the municipality, approve amendments to conditions on licenses and site plans that were set during the public process. For example current policy allows changes of licenses from “above water” to “below water”, without approval by the municipality
6. Require better enforcement of site plans and regulations, including rehabilitation and restrictions on and oversight of “fill” for rehabilitated sites.
Please raise these issues on behalf of all those who are affected by the continuing growth of aggregate operations,
particularly on the Niagara Escarpment. Also please advise us of the outcome of the conference in this regard.
Thank you for your efforts.
Copyright © 2010-2019 PitSense Niagara Escarpment Group Inc.
All rights reserved
views on this page do not necessarily
reflect the views of PitSense
Dear Mayor and Councillors:
The Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) is holding its annual conference starting February 27th in Toronto. We trust that Caledon will be properly represented. It appears that there are a number of topics scheduled for discussion but noticeably absent from the list are issues related to pits and quarries.
We are hereby requesting that you raise the issues generally related to pits and quarries
We would like you to pursue changes to legislation and regulations that would result in requiring pit/quarry applicants to meet certain strict criteria prior to being granted any operating license.
Please seek to establish the following principles …
Economic Sense. Applicants and operators must be held accountable for the negative financial impact on all properties whose values decrease, or businesses that are harmed, due to the threat of and operation of their pits or quarries. They should compensate the Town of Caledon for lost tax revenues incurred due to reduced property values in the affected area. Applicants/operators must also be required to provide sufficient financial resources in the form of performance bonds to cover all costs of both predictable and unforeseen damages, as well as rehabilitation. We ask you to obtain an increase in 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.
Ecological and Environmental Sense. Applicants must demonstrate that there will be no adverse effects on the ecology due to their proposed operations. For example in the case of the proposed McCormick pit the applicants should adhere to the spirit and regulations of the various agencies that have jurisdiction in the area, such as Niagara Escarpment Commission, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Greenbelt, Oak Ridges Moraine, Credit Valley Conservation, Town of Caledon Official Plan and Ministry of Environment regulations. We do not believe that the MNR should be able 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. We also request that you press for changes that would result in 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. “Fill” used to rehabilitate these pits/quarries has also come under the microscope lately. A municipal policy that supersedes all other regulations from a Provincial or Federal to protect the residents of Caledon from contaminated land and water is also imperative.
Sociological Sense. Pit/quarry applicants must be required to prove that operations in rural residential areas will have no negative impacts on the health or safety of their neighbours and their normal peaceful enjoyment of their properties. We want to see the establishment of more reasonable minimum separation distances between aggregate operations and residential areas. The current required setback does not allow adequate protection from negative impacts.
Thank you for representing our concerns.
Sample letters to be sent to municipal leaders prior to February 27 ROMA conference:
Letter to Editor of Caledon Citizen ...
Title: More than environmental factors at stake
In your article “Jones questions Minister about Melancthon quarry”, 9 June 2011, the Minister of Natural Resources Linda Jeffrey assures us that it’s her job to ensure that “all environmental concerns, health concerns or safety concerns are addressed before any license is issued”.
If she can indeed live up to that job it would be a great start but there are other considerations. Two of the most easily measured consequences of new gravel pits and quarries (and wind farms too) are the loss of private property value in the vicinity of the operations or haul routes, and the increased maintenance costs on municipal infrastructure. If we were to take these costs fully into account it might very well change the logic of whether these operations are worthwhile even before environmental, health or safety impacts are assessed.
Why should residents be forced to subsidize local economic activity through a loss in their property values or a reallocation of their municipal taxes for new infrastructure maintenance?
Ard Van Leeuwen,
Dufferin-Caledon Federal Green Party candidate
We are very pleased to welcome a 'Guest Columnist' to our website. Doug Karrow, like most of us, is a relative newcomer to the aggregate game but has some very thoughtful observations. We hope you enjoy his insights. The introduction is reproduced below left and to the immediate left is Part 1 of the series.
Part 2 and 3 are linked to below ...
I commend all of you for taking on the monumental matter of "recycling"of waste aggregate materials. Your work in trying to define this industrial operation appropriately and to establish industry standards is so necessary. There is such a push at this time to legitimize the importation of waste materials into licensed pits and quarries for storage, reprocessing and shipping, etc.
PitSense and its allies are doing what needs to be done in the public interest and for the protection of the natural environment and public health and safety! Teamwork is so important and will result in getting the job done to your satisfaction!
... H.P. Guelph, Ontario