• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

CRH’s Teedon Pit extension – Ray Nason responds

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In Council Watch
Jan 23rd, 2020
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from Ray Nason, Tiny Township

I have several comments and have decided to send this email response to all the parties I originally included in my first two emails on March 22 and May 2 for continuity as I believe this “Notice”, while directed by the Provincial Government apparently as a prerequisite in the process, is timed, and worded to perhaps cause a number of complaints to fall by the wayside because people are away, or because they don’t respond in the proper fashion. I think this is an expensive, wasteful bureaucratic process, particularly when I receive a registered package delivered to the door on the first Sunday of January. But I’m glad I was home…many won’t be this time of year.

1) On the header page there is a statement saying “…recommendations must be delivered personally or by registered mail with the above-noted 20 day period or it will be deemed that there is no longer a valid objection”. I do not agree that objections that were previously accepted by the Government can be dismissed if I or anyone that objected do not respond hard copy by Registered Mail or in person by January 30, 2020. My understanding from the government in an email to me July 26th, 2019 from Tracy Allison (on behalf of Shawn Carey – District Manager) was that “..if there are unresolved objections MNRF may refer the application and objections to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) for a decision. A referral may occur before February 7, 2021, depending on when the applicant fulfils the appropriate notification and consultation requirements under the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA).”

2) CRH appear to have done a good job in answering various community concerns and providing good communication of why they consider their request to move aggregate from the Teeden Pit. I also realize now that the request does not involve taking water from the site. However, while they have addressed many concerns they really did not address my two specific concerns. First, while they state that they will extract no closer than 1.5 meters above the water table there are no guarantees what happens when a mistake occurs above the pristine water underneath. Yes, clean-up. But long term damage? We do know that if a mistake happens and the water table is compromised then so is the water degraded and we know now this is no ordinary water which is the crux of this whole issue.

3) Second, my ‘Hold the Decision” file attached announced a new groundwater study, being done by several eminent groundwater experts and funded for 5 years by the Federal Government. The fact is that this area, in spite of being under a Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) has attracted Federal interest simply because the water underneath is so pristine. And in particular, according to these scientists very little is known about groundwater movements and how contaminants impact the water and spread. Given the new knowledge we have about our land, our area, the perfect, very unusual water underneath, the lack of knowledge about ground water movement, this land, I feel, should not have any Provincial Policy Statement on it for aggregate extraction, let alone considering an expansion of the area affected.

4) To me it is ludicrous to carry on with this decision to expand the area aggregate expansion, until the results of the study are known, and published at the end of the 5 year grant and I look to the Provincial Government to revamp the PPS. We are into new knowledge and an unknown phase. CRH, understandably, want to pursue every avenue to work the area based on the old agreements that were put in place many years ago. With new but unknown knowledge it is important that the elected powers that be slow down the rush to push product to market until the results of research are known and by changing the PPS.

However, for the record, I plan to fulfill the deadline submission by Registered Mail to First, Ministry of Natural Resources, 2284 Nursery Road, Midhurst, ON L9X 1N8 (Attention: Robert Herbst) and secondly to CRH Canada Group Inc., 2300 Steeles Avenue W. 4th Floor, Concord, ON L4K 5X6, (Attention: Jessica Ferri).

Many people have argued specifics; ecology, Wells, Traffic etc….my point is the future of our country and how we are perceived by the billions of people with no water when we squander ours on gravel pits, ignoring scientific water studies that are in process. I know CRH have their priorities, but times have changed and unless we as individuals change our mindset life will not be the same for our kids and those that follow.

Canada, with 0.5% of the world’s population has 15% of the worlds water (30 times our share), and what do we do with it? More important “What should we do with it?” Protect it? Build bridges? Or take a breath, do the research and then decide what is safe and what is feasible?

Attachment: Hold the Decision! (May 2 2019 email to Premier Doug Ford and other authorities)

I emailed you on March 17 regarding my concerns about approving an expansion to the Teedon pit.

At the time the company was asking to expand their operations and to use an additional 6 million liters of water each day, pure pristine water from the aquifer, to wash gravel to facilitate that expansion. I received an acknowledgement response from Sharon Rew, Director, Southern Region on March 22 and have added Sharon to those copied on this email.

I wish to add new information that may give you reason to pause any decision.

My wife and I were fortunate on Sunday to attend a meeting in Elmvale to hear Dr. John Cherry, a Professor and pioneer Canadian groundwater expert speak about groundwater. The highlight of his presentation, which was filled with many interesting facts some of which I have included below, was when he announced he has a grant from the Canadian Government to conduct a 5 year study of the uniqueness of the water in the Waverley Uplands, where the Teedon pit resides.

He was also proud to inform us that partnering in this study among others is Dr. Beth Parker a highly respected Hydrogeologist professor from the University of Guelph, and Dr. William Shotyk , an eminent water professor at the University of Alberta who was the man who identified the water initially as unique back in 2012/2013 as part of the Site 41 protests at that time. So this will be a bona fide professional analysis that will be published and newsworthy.

Some of the facts Dr. Cherry put before us were: – 30% of Canadians rely on groundwater for their water from Wells, and yet little is known what is in groundwater, how it moves, and what hidden chemicals might be intruders

– Groundwater accounts for an astounding 96% of all fresh water

– ‘pristine’ groundwater (containing no human chemicals) is extremely rare

– The water we are talking about in the Waverly Uplands is pristine and is unique in that it exists in a sandy soil area (His grant is to discover why? Whether it is glacial, and therefore once it is gone, it is gone, or if it is replenishable, and if so how and why)

– Groundwater actually moves, always, and man-made chemicals move with it and many do not degrade, dilute or break down

– One of the very first expansive studies into groundwater was Dr. Cherry’s work at Camp Borden in 1982 where they launched a contaminant ‘blob’ and found while it travelled it didn’t mix or dilute.

– remarkably, little research has been done on groundwater

– in the past mankind has just gone ahead and done what was needed to produce the products we all use without realizing that many of those effects, and the pollutants generated, move into the groundwater, don’t mix or break down and through the generations may be causing some of the health problems of today. We don’t know that because the research has not been done. But the dramatic increase in cancers may be a by-product

In my other email to you I talked about the importance of water in the future, how Canada has 15% of the world’s ‘fresh’ water (excluding groundwater) with 0.5% of the world’s population. I also mentioned the importance of being proper stewards.

I want to now add to that now that instead of doing the same old approval processes to requests to expand an operation, like the Teeden pit, while not fully realizing the implications of that decision, which if wrong will be paid in full by future generations….. that you consider putting a moratorium on any further development and expansion of the Teeden pit until the scientific study under Dr. Cherry, with a 5-year grant from the Canadian Government, concludes and is published.

The fact is that groundwater is a ‘new’ study area, and this particular area has truly unique water, the experts call ‘pristine’. The nice thing about this study is that the main scientists, and the crew working it are Canadian and it has literally not been done before, anywhere. It will be a landmark study. You might consider that when a group of groundwater scientists choose to study the groundwater of this area, and you decide to grant a company the right to use and possibly adversely affect the same groundwater, about how that would look to the international community when the results of the scientific study are published.

Thank you and I look forward to your response.

One Response to “CRH’s Teedon Pit extension – Ray Nason responds”

  1. Donna Deneault says:

    Ray, what a beautiful letter; so well put. I am going to share it, as it should be, as is Donna Baylis’ and the others. I would like to suggest an email campaign regarding the halt of expansion to Premier Ford. I say this because the buck stops with him. He’s been known to back down with enough “push” from the public. Now, more than ever, we must push back for all of the reasons you described.

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