With the announcement of the Blueland Farms McCormick pit in February 2010 came the expected concern and “push back” from local residents who live in the vicinity of the proposed pit. As has occurred in other areas, the properties in the vicinity were immediately adversely affected by the announcement, and they would be most negatively impacted by a pit’s operation and proposed haul routes. Property owners faced with such proposals are then left with the enormous task of trying to infuse sense into the Pit approval processes and deal with anticipated negative impacts.
While the Aggregate Industry is a necessity for Ontario’s economy there is a serious lack of thoughtful planning and dialogue with the affected communities prior to selection of a pit location. Many years of planning occur before a community is allowed to be involved in the process. Areas of greatest concern include aquifer and well water impacts such as supply and contamination, pollution of the air through dust and noxious emissions, and most importantly the deadly micro-particles from the pit’s processing equipment and diesel trucks. We are also concerned about intrusive noise levels from heavy equipment, as well as unsafe haul routes. Finally, we are greatly concerned about the immediate and on-going loss of community property values.
On behalf of the communities affected, PitSense seeks assurances that pit and quarry applicants and operators will be required to meet certain principled criteria both prior to and subsequent to being granted an operating license. We seek to establish the following principles …
1) Ecological Sense. Aggregate operators must demonstrate that there will be no adverse effects on the ecology and environment in the affected areas surrounding their pit or quarry. They must also adhere to the spirit and regulations of the various agencies that have jurisdiction in the affected area, such as the Niagara Escarpment Commission, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Greenbelt, Oak Ridges Moraine, Credit Valley Conservation Authority, Town of Caledon Official Plan, and Ministry of Environment regulations.
2) Sociological Sense. Applicants must prove that all aspects of the operation of their pit in a rural residential area will have no negative impacts on the health or safety of their neighbours and the normal peaceful use and enjoyment of neighbouring properties.
3) Economic Sense. Aggregate applicants and operators must be required to abide by the principles of FULL COST ACCOUNTING and FINANCIAL ASSURANCE AGREEMENTS in order to provide compensation 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 and quarries. They must compensate host municipalities for added infrastructure costs and lost tax revenues incurred due to reduced property values in the affected areas. Operators must also be required to provide sufficient financial guarantees to cover all costs of their anticipated operation, including both predictable and unforeseen damages, as well as mitigation, compensation and rehabilitation expenses.
4) Political Sense. PitSense believes effective review of aggregate proposals is best
pursued in cooperation with all other affected groups or agencies with similar
objectives province-wide. We must ensure that all levels of Government fully
understand all the implications before granting licenses to aggregate companies.
No applicant should be granted a license to operate a pit on the Niagara Escarpment
unless it satisfies all of the above criteria. PitSense considers it the obligation
of every member of our team to hold applicants, operators, the Town of Caledon,
and the Province of Ontario accountable to this mandate.
"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise."
.. F. Scott Fitzgerald
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