CRH’s Teedon Pit extension: Friends of the Waverley Uplands response
The following is an Objector’s Response to a January 3 2020 letter from CRH Canada Group Inc. Objectors (there are 178) are those who registered in a process under the Aggregate Resources Act. Those who did not register can’t respond under this process but can continue to fight to protect the water in the political arena – local, provincial and federal – and in the court of public opinion.
In its documentation CRH Canada document correctly states, our community is concerned about any threat to the quality of some of the purest groundwater ever identified – based on research by Dr. William Shotyk. CRH’s expert pooh-poohed this research, but then it became clear that he had not read it. CRH states that its technical analysis shows that this will not happen.
But over the last decade, there have been obvious impacts that coincide with the increased expansion of aggregate extraction on Frenches Hill. (The area between Wyevale, Waverley and Elmvale) The various companies that are or have been associated with the aggregate operations on the Waverley Uplands contend there is no connection between their activities and these impacts. These impacts include wetlands and streams in the area that have become silty, there has been flooding of wells, streams, roads; some wells have become silty and cause much hardship to area residents. We believe that the removal of forest cover, the extraction of aggregate and the pumping of millions of litres of water a day is highly likely to have an adverse impact on all aspects of the Alliston aquifer complex, and ground and surface water.
CRH suggests that citizens who may have unresolved concerns regarding its operation may turn to the relevant ministries – MNRF (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry), and MECP (Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks) – for resolution. The fact is that cutbacks to these ministries means that self-monitoring by the industry is the rule, oversight is minimal and citizens’ complaints get short shrift. In such circumstances the law of unintended consequences comes into play all too easily. We believe that there is always a threat of unauthorized activity or human error.
To cite just two instances:
– a mature maple forest was illegally clear-cut by the Sarjeant Company.
-In 2015, there was an unauthorized dewatering by Beamish now owned by CRH Canada, after a pump was left to run, apparently by mistake, for 79 days. An MOE inspection report noted a resulting draw-down of the local groundwater table. However nothing was done when area wells had problems even after several calls to the MOE office by area residents.
We have many concerns about the public process:
The liaison committee was a sham. It met behind closed doors, when it should have met in public. Arbitrary rules prevented citizen members from presenting to the committee. Citizens’ requests – for instance, for turbidity monitors to be placed in monitoring wells – were refused. Citizens were not allowed to record or take minutes. The minutes taken by the company did not reflect the discussion; rather they were a summary of the company’s position.
The open house was a sham. Questions were not answered at the first open house and subsequent requests for advertisements to be placed in the Springwater News were ignored by CRH Canada instead sent only to the Midland and Lafontaine papers.
The much-vaunted website is not user friendly. It may contain all the documents cited in the CRH January 6 2020 letter, but a search using any of the parameters that should lead an interested citizen to those documents is unsuccessful. In fact, even a search using the words “Teedon Pit” does not produce results. The updated technical reports that address the requirements of Sections 12 of the Aggregate Resources Act cannot be found either.
We have concerns about the notification process. There are differences in the letters sent to objectors. Some did not receive the sections dealing with ‘Next Steps,’ and ‘Summary.’ CRH correctly notes that provincial, county and township policies permit and even encourage extraction at the Teedon Pit location. The fact that this activity is legal does not make it right. These policies are outdated and fail to take into account a unique and pristine water resource that should be protected for future generations.
Suggestions to Tiny Township to take steps to preserve this precious water with a groundwater protection bylaw would be a good first step. Additional measures should be taken with the 4 local Municipalities that all border in the community of Waverley – including Tiny, Springwater, Tay, Oro Medonte Townships.
Simcoe County has known about this Pristine Groundwater Source as well however has taken no steps within its Official Plan to make aggregate not a possibility in this area noted as the Worlds Cleanest Groundwater Source. We believe that the utmost care should be taken when it comes to a remarkable resource.
In presentations to local municipal councils, Dr. Shotyk has explained how he and other leading scientists are planning to study the remarkable natural filtration ability of the forest soils, sand, gravel and clay of the Waverley recharge area. It is a Provincial decision whether to license an aggregate company and we urge the public to reach out to Premier Doug Ford.