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Dufferin Aggregates faces public over pit concerns


July 5, 2012
By Andrew Macklin

July 5,
2012, Paris, ON – Web Exclusive – Dufferin Aggregates’ plan to open a 648
hectare sand and gravel pit in the small community of Paris, Ont. was met with
stiff community resistance during a public meeting attended by nearly 100
residents. It marked the second time the company had met with members of the
community over the past three months.

July 5,
2012, Paris, ON – Web Exclusive – Dufferin Aggregates’ plan to open a 648
hectare sand and gravel pit in the small community of Paris, Ont. was met with
stiff community resistance during a public meeting attended by nearly 100
residents. It marked the second time the company had met with members of the
community over the past three months.

 

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Andrea
Bourrie, the Director of Planning and Regulatory Affairs for Dufferin’s parent
company Holcim Canada, provided a lengthy presentation to clearly outline plans
for the project, as well as present facts about the project to help diminish
some of the concerns held by the general public. That included clarification of
plans for transportation, water use, blasting (which isn’t happening), wellhead
protection, fuel storage and extraction. The presentation was complimented by
information presented by consultants hired by Dufferin to conduct studies on
both the impact to Paris’ water system, as well as the expected impact of dump
trucks rolling through the roadways of the surrounding area.

 

Unfortunately
for Bourrie, and the rest of the team that attended the meeting, their words
did little or nothing to stop a slew of angry and bitter questions from the
people in attendance. The two main targets of the community’s frustration concerned
the impact on the town’s water supply, and the additional traffic that the pit
would create.

 

On the
issue of water, concerns were expressed over proximity to wellheads, as well as
pit water consumption. The issue of wellheads was addressed by Richard Murphy,
a consultant hired by Dufferin to review water issues surrounding the proposed
pit, who stated that fuel storage had been moved away from wellheads to
eliminate the possibility of contamination should an accident occur. As for pit
water consumption, that issue was addressed with a diagram that showed how a
closed loop wash plant. Still, it was clear that many in the crowd were not
satisfied with those answers.

 

Dump
truck traffic was a more difficult issue to address, as there is no way to
prevent the additional road use. However, Bourrie was quick to speak to the
company’s work with County officials about the work being done to upgrade roads
as a result of the dump truck traffic. Also, she outlined how the levy system
worked for the removal of aggregate, explaining how monies collected by the
county would be used for roadwork.

 

No
answers seemed to satisfy residents, as they continued to voice concerns over
elements of the plan that seemed out Dufferin’s control.

 

Several
individuals talked about the impact of the traffic and noise on their own road,
even though their road was only been used because the County’s transportation
master plan had made their road a part of the truck route. One man complained
that the 7.5-cent levy per ton of aggregate was far too low, even though it is
the provincial ministry that dictates that amount. Another was annoyed by the
hours of operation, even though that too is dictated by the ministry.

 

As
Dufferin Aggregates’ proposed Paris Pit plan moves forward towards its opening
date, it is clear that the operation will continue to face widespread community
opposition.