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Gravel pit proposal near Everett raises concerns

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In Adjala-Tosorontio
Feb 13th, 2015
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By Brad Pritchard Alliston Herald

ADJALA-TOSORONTIO – An Adjala-Tosorontio councillor believes the township needs to take a stronger stance over a company’s proposal to create a large gravel pit south of Everett.

Ward 3 Coun. Bob Meadows, whose ward contains the property of the proposed pit, said he’s read enough about the plan to know it could have some serious consequences for the township.

“I’ve been through that whole pile of documents that was given to us, it’s about eight inches thick of material, and there are a lot of questions and concerns in that particular area,” he said.

Nelson Aggregate Company based in Burlington is proposing to create the pit at a property located near the 5th Sideroad and County Road 13. The company has filed an application with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) for a Category 1, Class A licence to create a 72.8-hectare pit at the site.

The licence, if approved, would allow the company to extract one million tonnes of sand and gravel annually from below the established water table.

At Monday’s council meeting, Meadows tabled a motion to have the township make an official opinion on the quarry application before March 9, which is the deadline for objections to be submitted to the MNR, but it failed in a 3-3 vote.

Meadows is disappointed with council’s decision, saying he doesn’t understand why the township isn’t prepared to comment.

He said the documents provided by the company highlight potential risks to local wildlife, plant species and the water table, recommend the creation of berms and other noise reduction measures, and include plans to build an enclosed processing plant at the site.

“All I wanted was a document going to the MNR with a stamp of council’s approval saying that we do have concerns, and valid concerns, about the material that they have provided us with,” he said.

Earlier in the meeting, Adjala resident Janet Budgel spoke to council to share her concerns on the proposal, from the environmental issues, the impact of the truck traffic on local roads, to the potential decrease in quality of life for area residents.

“There is no benefit to our community for this to go in, none,” she said.

Mayor Mary Small Brett, who voted against Meadows’ motion, said the township will comment to the MNR by the March 9 deadline to say it cannot support the application, but only based on the fact the property hasn’t been zoned for aggregate use.

She said it’s too early to say anything further because agencies, such as the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, have not responded with their comments, which needs to weigh into the township’s decision.

“We can’t give a formal opinion until we have all information, to me that would be irresponsible,” she said.

In order for the quarry licence to get approved, Small Brett said the company needs to apply to the township to have the lands rezoned for aggregate extraction, which hasn’t happened yet.

If the application is submitted, she said the township would hold a public meeting as required under the planning act, to allow residents to share their thoughts on the plan.

Once all the comments have been made, she said council will make a decision on the rezoning application.

“At that time we would direct our concerns, our direction and zone it for extraction or not, after we’ve heard all the input,” she said. “Council needs to be careful of making up its mind before we have all the information.”

If the township were to deny the rezoning application, Small Brett said the company has the option to appeal the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Comment due by March 9

To comment on the proposal, letters must be mailed to both the applicant and the ministry by March 9.

Email responses are also acceptable, but must include the objector’s full mailing address.

Applicant’s address: Nelson Aggregate Co., 2433 No. Sideroad, P.O. Box 1070, Burlington, Ont., L7P 0G8, Attn: Mr. Steve Drew, steve.drew@nelsonaggregate.com.

MNR address: Midhurst District Office, 2284 Nursery Road, Midhurst, Ont. L0L 1X0, Attn: Mr. Brent Armstrong, midhurstagg@ontario.ca.

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