Purest water: Tiny considers options including appeal, purchase, expropriation in wake of Teedon Pit PTTW
Tiny Township Council in special meeting January 26 2021
By Kate Harries AWARE News Network
Tiny Township Council will go into closed session this afternoon, to consider its options following the provincial government decision to grant a 10-year permit to take water to CRH Canada for its Waverley Uplands Teedon Pit operation.
Several residents and organizations appeared before council yesterday, in a special meeting called on the matter, urging protection of what tests have determined is the cleanest water on record.
Councillors expressed annoyance that they had not been notified of the January 14 2021 decision, posted on the Environmental Registry of Ontario January 15, and had to learn about it from residents’ organizations who keep an eye on what is announced there.
This is particularly galling because the government has set a tight 15-day deadline for an appeal and the filing requirements are stringent, the township’s lawyer Sarah Hahn of the firm Barriston Law told council, noting that the deadline is in effect Friday, January 29 2021 – three days away from yesterday’s meeting.
In its notice asking for a judicial review hearing to be granted, the township will have to lay out what portion of the permit it is appealing and what its ground are. “It needs to be specific,” Hahn said, “it’s not something that can be done at a later stage. cards on the table.”
Clearly, the government is doing everything it can to discourage an appeal, said Councillor Tony Mintoff.
Along with other members of council, he expressed disappointment that the decision gave no regard to the two principles expressed by the township in its comments to the province – that Tiny does not want aggregate washing in an environmentally sensitive area, and it asked for no further licenses to be granted until a study of the water is completed by eminent hydrogeologist Dr. John Cherry.
“in my opinion we need to appeal every single step in the process,” Mintoff said, noting “the overwhelming resistance from our residents.”
“I have no confidence that the provincial ministries have the ability or even desire to monitor operations such as these,” he added. “I’m tired of hearing that these ministries are understaffed, or under-resourced and that they don’t have the wherewithal to operate effectively. They cannot be in my opinion trusted to protect our most valuable resources.”
He was referring to the ministry of environment, conservation and parks, which is responsible for monitoring any impact to groundwater, and the ministry of natural resources and forestry, which oversees aggregate operations.
Mintoff said this is a situation where “CRH gets all of the rewards and the township, its residents, the broader public in North Simcoe are assuming all the risk. If their experts are wrong, what are the consequences and who lives with them? I don’t think it’s going to be CRH.”
Mintoff suggested the township could offer CRH a fair market price to purchase the land and consider its use for affordable housing. If the company declines, the township should look at the feasibility of expropriating the property, he said.
Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma said he might be in favour of the idea of purchasing the land. “That’s an actual avenue where we can actually effect change,” he said. “What I don’t want to do is get into a legal battle… where we spend a whole bunch of money for nothing.”
Walma said he does not believe the township has grounds to appeal.
He noted that CRH has worked hard to address the concerns raised by the township’s consultants and he wants to maintain a good working relationship with the company. “i’m about winning the battle in the sense of protecting the water,” he said. “Purchasing, I like that. But the appeal, I’m out.”
Planning director Shawn Persaud told council that, based on the opinion provided by the township’s consultant Dave Hopkins of R.J. Burnside & Associates, he does not recommend an appeal.
Earlier, council heard deputations from residents Bonnie Pauze, Jake Pigeon and Peter Anderson, as well as from Kate Harries of AWARE Simcoe, Erik Schomann of the Green Party of Ontario, Karen Rathwell of Wellington Water Watchers and Sandy Agnew of the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition. The clerk read out submissions from other residents, including John Nahuis and David Barkey, as well as from Mike Calzavara of the Council of Canadians.
To watch the special meeting, go to the township’s YouTube channel. The meeting starts with the deputations. Consultant Hopkins provides his perspective and fields questions from councillors at 48:00 to 1:20 and is followed by lawyer Hahn’s comments.