• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Clearview candidates divided on quarry issue: coalition

In Clearview
Oct 9th, 2010

Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin – October 8 2010
 A questionnaire distributed by the Clearview Community Coalition (CCC), a group opposing the proposed new quarry on the Niagara Escarpment west of Duntroon, shows a division of opinion between current Councillors and their challengers. According to a news release from the group, none of the challengers support the agreement between the Township and Walker Industries to downgrade part of County Rd. #91 from a county to a township road and to close part of it to facilitate the new quarry.
As part of the agreement the Township is supporting Walker’s application for an amendment to the Niagara Escarpment Plan and the Township’s lawyer, planners and consultants are appearing at the ongoing provincial Hearing into the matter.
A majority of all those who responded to the questionnaire agreed that the World Biosphere Reserve which is the Niagara Escarpment is not an appropriate location for a new quarry. However many of them support the current application by describing it as an “expansion” of the existing quarry.
According to CCC president Janet Gilham, under the Aggregate Resources Act there is no provision for expansions, and each application for a quarry is dealt with as a new location. She noted that last week at the hearing, during cross examination by the Niagara Escarpment Commission lawyer, Brent Clarkson, the planner for Walker Aggregates, agreed that the Act does not facilitate an expansion.
Gilham said that another inconsistency in the responses is that when asked to rank four economic strategies for Clearview, almost all of the respondents said that, “Enhancement and protection of natural features to promote tourism” was their first or second priority, and “Development of new aggregate resources” was number four.
Incumbent councillors who support the Walker quarry qualified their answer by citing the claim that it was an “expansion,” not a new quarry.
Candidates were asked about their support for the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority and the majority agreed the NVCA should be provided with the resources needed to protect wetlands and environmentally sensitive areas in Clearview. There were also questions about traffic and waste management.
“It’s evident from the responses to the questionnaire that many members of the current council claim to value the township’s natural heritage features but chose to enter into an agreement with Walker Industries to oppose the efforts of the Niagara Escarpment Commission to protect Clearview’s natural heritage,” said Gilham, adding the coalition is “pleased that incumbent Thom Patterson and a number of the new candidates do not support the agreement and value more transparent decision making.”
All of the responses to the questionnaire are posted on the CCC’s website at clearviewcommunitycoaltion.com;Gillham encourages voters, “to read the responses and vote for the candidates who you believe will promote a sustainable economy, protect Clearview’s natural heritage and support our rural way of life.”

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