Is public perception improving?
By Andy Bateman
July 6, 2009 – A letter submitted
to the Orangeville Citizen last week illustrates, again, the views of some
members of the public towards the aggregate industry.
“The area will be permanently damaged by a large mining
“There will be “irreversible damage to our
unique and irreplaceable resources.”
(Our emphasis in
Clearly, there is still plenty of opportunity to improve
some public perception, but the question is how best to go about doing just
that. Some ideas are included in our current poll for your consideration.
The full text of the published letter was as follows:
"'Dismayed' at comments
We read with dismay recent comments attributed to Melancthon Mayor Debbie
Fawcett. In response to a question regarding the role of the Municipality in
preventing the Highland Companies from establishing quarry operations in
Melancthon, Ms. Fawcett was quoted as follows:
"It's been rumoured for years, so it's not that much
of a surprise to us. Can we stop it? I don't think we can stop it. Can we get
the best deal for the community? We'll try as best we can…to make it as safe
We are appalled that Ms. Fawcett, as the leader of local
Council, is abdicating the responsibility entrusted to her by the citizens she
represents. Even if Ms. Fawcett were to favour a quarry proposal (something not
explicit in her public comments) she has a duty, and an obligation, to
aggressively negotiate on behalf of the Municipality. To publicly admit a lack
of confidence in her ability to oppose the anticipated quarry application is,
at best, a poor negotiating tactic.
NDACT has been vigorously advocating a course of action
which would enable municipal governments in Dufferin County
to afford additional protections and safeguards to this unique area of
agricultural land. That course of action is to designate the potato growing
areas of Melancthon and Mulmur as a "specialty crop area", in the
same fashion as such designations and protections have been extended to the
Holland Marsh and the fruit growing regions of the Niagara Peninsula.
It IS possible for the Municipality to take positive
action to prevent Melancthon from being permanently damaged by a large mining
operation. Before coming to the conclusion that she, as leader of the
Municipality, is powerless to affect the outcome of a quarry application, Ms.
Fawcett has a duty, and an obligation, to explore all options available to her
government, and then to pursue a course of action which is in the best
interests of all her constituents.
Two well attended community meetings organized by NDACT,
coupled with the obvious concerns expressed in the media and in Council
meetings by Melancthon residents, lead to the inevitable conclusion that a
growing percentage of the population does not support the approval of mining
operations as contemplated by the Highland Companies. The interests of a large,
Hedge Fund should not be placed above the concerns and views of Ms. Fawcett's
Melancthon electors may wish to reflect on the comments
made by Ms. Fawcett, and on the quality of leadership she has provided on the
quarry issue since the last municipal election. The next municipal elections
will be held in 2010. Melancthon ratepayers may not wish to delay expressing
their views on Ms. Fawcett's performance on the quarry issue until that time-
by then it may be too late to prevent irreversible damage to our unique and
Respectfully submitted, North Dufferin Agricultural and