Monday April 23: Final day to comment on Dufferin bid for expanded permit to take water
After a sunrise ceremony last year at Cedar Point -AWARE Simcoe photo
Letter to the Springwater News from Anne Ritchie Nahuis
On April 9th 2018, Tiny Township Council considered an appeal to the Ontario Municipal board by Dufferin Aggregates / CRH Canada Group of the municipality’s failure to approve a permit which would allow for a further expansion of aggregate extraction on the Waverley Uplands.
Dufferin / CRH seek an expansion to the north of an existing CRH gravel pit, located on the property known as Part Lots 79 and 80, Concession 1 O.S. (40 Darby Road).
The intent of the Official Plan Amendment application is to re-designate the subject property from the ‘Rural’, ‘Environmental Protection II’, and ‘Mineral Aggregate Resource II’ designations to the ‘Mineral Aggregate Resources l’ designation. The intent of the Zoning By-law Amendment application is to re-zone the subject property from the Rural (RU) Zone to the Mineral Aggregate (MAR) Zone.
It should be pointed out that the Provincial Policy Statement prioritizes and protects mineral aggregate operations. This is quite perverse. Water recharge areas should be prioritized as the highest and most protected use.
This is something that unfortunately Source Water Protection legislation fails to address, as it is focused solely on municipal supplies.
As for the Simcoe County Official Plan, it states explicitly that, because of the PPS, “the official plans of local municipalities shall allow consideration of new or expanded mineral aggregate operations within local NHS and local natural heritage features and areas, subject to completion of a satisfactory EIS.”
Tiny Township planner Shawn Persaud in his report recommended that, “if the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) appeal proceeds to a hearing, Council direct staff to take an active role, which will include retaining the services of the Township Lawyer (Barriston LLP), Engineering Consultant (R.J. Burnside & Associates) and Land Use Planner (TBD).” Tiny Township Council voted to support challenging this appeal 5-0.
Area residents and Water Watchers welcome the leadership being shown by the mayor and members of Tiny Township Council in this matter. We hope this will lead to the creation of policy that protects this water at the local and County levels and will persuade the province to realize that aquifers matter more than aggregate.
Why are people concerned about the development of aggregate?
Aggregate operations have a wide range of potential negative issues for communities, and one that is consistently raised and of most importance is the impact on ground water, aquifers, and neighbouring wells. Many residents believe that the already operating CRH Teedon Pit (formerly Beamish) is having significant impacts on their wells.
Over 16 households have reported that their water has changed since the wash plant began in 2008. Crystal clear water has turned cloudy intermittently. Silt in their water is the cause. It wrecks their washing machines, water heaters, furnaces and use of their water supply. The stress of this situation has not been alleviated by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC). In fact if you have an artesian well, it does not seem to matter what occurs to it. These are what many area families have relied on this naturally flowing water for many, many generations. No pump required and beautiful water.
Wilf Ruland, a Professional Geoscientist, has disagreed with the MOECC point of view and suggested in his October 20, 2015 report strongly the wash pond on site has impacted the wells.
“To date the MOECC has not done a good job of overseeing the aggregate washing operations at the Teedon Pit, and has failed to protect the off-site environment and neighbours of the site from the impacts of the leakage of huge volumes of wash water from the Cedarhurst property. In particular the MOECC failed to recognize that the site conceptual model which was the basis for the original 2008 Permit to Take Water (PTTW) was incorrect, and before issuing the amended 2010 PTTW failed to consider the fate of the massive volumes of silty wash water leaking from the Cedarhurst settling/wash ponds into the underlying groundwater flow system.”
Dufferin Aggregates has also sought a water taking Permit renewal EBR Registry Number: 013-2282 to the MOECC. They are asking for over 6 million litres a day for 10 years, the purpose of the water taking: Industrial – Aggregate Washing, Final day to comment is April 23rd.
All efforts should be made to stop this proposal. Our Township cannot do it alone. I ask you to reach out to friends and neighbors to alert them as well as County Councillors and Provincial Candidates for the upcoming election. These are the people in charge of planning in Ontario. The County has approved this area as future aggregate extraction through the Official Plan and have has taken no steps to identify this significant water recharge area for protection.
Why should we protect this area?
Professor William Shotyk, President of the Elmvale Foundation and Bocock Chair for Agriculture and the Environment at the University of Alberta, said it best when he stated:
“The artesian springs of Springwater, Tiny and Tay Townships represent what is arguably the cleanest natural water on Earth. Every effort should be made to protect these aquifers for future generations to enjoy, as they are enjoyed today: these waters have supported the inhabitants of the region for millennia. Expanding aggregate quarries and dumping bitumen-containing industrial materials such as asphalt will reduce the extent of the soil zone which filters percolating rainwater, and increase the risk of contaminating the groundwaters; ultimately, there may also be consequences for surface waters. Expanding the industrial utilization of the groundwater recharge area is the polar opposite of the action needed to protect these waters. Having tested these waters for more than 25 years, first in my lab in Switzerland, then Germany, and now here in Alberta, I have no doubt about their unique quality and inherent value. If we have the best water in the world, why put this valuable asset at risk?”
Anne Ritchie Nahuis