NIMBY group, County still fighting licensed pit
By Andrew Macklin
In January of 2014, I made a presentation at the Alberta Sand and Gravel Association AGM discussing the types of proactive measures companies can use to educate community stakeholders on the importance of aggregates operations.
At the time of my presentation, I used the specific example of a community campaign put forward by an organization known as the Concerned Citizens of Brant and the plight to halt a pit being opened by Dufferin Aggregates in the Town of Paris, which is located approximately 100km southwest of Toronto. I referred to this one in particular because, in addition to the importance of following the story in my role as editor of this magazine, members of my family have lived in Paris for more than 100 years and still do today.
Two years ago, when I made the presentation, I had recently attended a community meeting hosted by Dufferin. The public forum gave Dufferin a chance to educate the community about its plans and, in turn, the community could ask questions in regards to the project. I have to admit; I left the meeting feeling very disappointed. But it was not because of what Dufferin did; it was because of the monstrosity of accusations and complaints thrown out by the public, and the complete disregard for any professional studies or research presented by the company.
Fast-forward to the first week of November of 2015 and, the story of the CCOB and its accusations against Dufferin continue to play out in the local press. At issue, at least right now, is the environmental compliance approval (ECA) that was issued by the Ministry of the Environment for taking water for use in the wash pond. The CCOB took its issue to County of Brant council, once again clamouring for Council to support its fight against Dufferin.
The Council, and the CCOB, are somehow convinced that the removal of the water, mixing it with fines created in the crushing process, collecting the fines in the pond, and then removing the fines at a later date could somehow have a catastrophic impact on the local water supply. Somehow, it seems, oils, lubricants and fuels are going to be mixed into this same water supply and somehow destroy, or even adversely impact, the local river and ground water sources.
For their part, the CCOB argues that applications made by Dufferin do not provide enough information and strong enough tests were not completed in regards to the impact the company’s activities could have on the water supply.
The MOE has provided approvals for the water-taking permit and the ECA and provided additional conditions be placed on these approvals. Aquote from the ministry’s announcement, used in the article from the Brantford Expositor on November 10th, 2015 states: “The ministry has strict rules for these activities that protect our water sources and the surrounding environment and carefully considered all public comments before arriving at a decision.”
Even the County’s own consultant on the matter, Stantec, made recommendations for monitoring water use involved with the pit operations, which were included in the permit provided by the ministry.
And yet, this is still not enough to satisfy the CCOB.
I get it. You don’t like dump trucks driving by your house. You don’t like the increased traffic. You don’t like the noise. But guess what? You bought a house in a community that sits on top of a massive shelf of rock. Pits and quarries are going to happen, especially with our need for improved infrastructure, the same infrastructure you rely upon every single day.
Enough is enough.