WALK TO STOP THE QUARRY
Stop the Megaquarry Openpit Mine
news release from Danny Beaton April 10 2011
Starting; Earth Day, April 22, 12 pm Queen’s Park at noon – Finishing; Dufferin County, Melancthon Township, April 26 -Five Day Walk with Native drumming and singing beginning at Queen’s Park, ending Melancthon Township, Ontario, Canada to ask Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Opposition Leaders Tim Hudack and the Honourable Andrea Horwath, the Right Hon. Stephen Harper, the Hon. Jack Layton, and Elizabeth May, to STOP THE MEGA QUARRY OPEN PIT MINE.
A US Hedge Fund, Baupost operating in Canada as The Highland Companies, has applied for a license to build a enormous open pit quarry, 2316 acres, 100 km north of Toronto in Melancthon Township. It will be the second largest open pit mine in North America, largest in Canada. The quarry will destroy for ever thousands of acres of prime productive farmland. The area chosen is the highest point in Southern Ontario, right on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, an officially declared UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Below this valuable land lies priceless limestone which filters the water and an aquifer that is the Headwaters of several major river systems in Southern Ontario. The quarry will severely damage this valuable water system, Ontario’s food supply and the drinking water of more than one million people which originates in this area. Thousands of acres will be blasted 200 ft below the water table! As proposed it is one-third the size of Toronto. A serious concern is that the Highland Companies own more that 5000 adjacent acres. This gravel may be for export out of Canada.
It’s difficult to imagine how very, very bad this mega quarry will be. It will be a social, cultural and environmental disaster for everyone in Southern Ontario: the people, the farms, the forests, the water and the wildlife.
Please join us at Queen’s Park Earth Day, April 22nd at 12 pm, or anywhere along the walk
Turtle Clan, Mohawk, Ontario, Canada
Contacts and resources:
-Sierra Club Ontario
Dan McDermott, Director
-Council of Canadians
Maude Barlow, Mark Calzavara
Honourable Andrea Horwath
MPP (Hamilton Centre)
-North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce
Board member of CAUSE www.citizensalliance.ca
Citizens’ Alliance for a Sustainable Environment
-Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society
Dr John Bacher
Depart Queen’s Park Friday April 22
Arriving Melancthon Township, Dufferin County April 26
——-From Council of Canadians communique re Mega Quarry, April 2011;
“The Highlands company started buying farmland in Melancthon several years ago saying they wanted to become the province’s largest potato growing operation- which made sense to local farmers as the area is well known for its particularly high quality soil and micro-climate. … After many local farmers had sold their farms –some of which had been in the family for generations- the real motives of the company became apparent. Under that rich and rare soil is a fortune in high quality limestone worth upwards of eight billion dollars. … There is little doubt that they intend to excavate the entire 8000+ acres. To do so, Highland will strip off all that precious soil then blast their way down more than 200 feet BELOW the water table.
From the area around the proposed mine site spring the headwaters of river systems that are important drinking water sources for more than one million people downstream. The Nottawasaga River, the Grand River and the Pine River systems will all be threatened by the mine’s 600 million litre per day dewatering pumps. Massive amounts of toxic demolition explosives will be used to smash the limestone and hundreds of dump trucks per hour will enter and leave the site- 24 hours a day, 360 days per year. The company rightly points out that this is all allowable under Ontario’s aggregate extraction laws but the problem is that those laws couldn’t be more favourable to the industry or more rigged against communities that want to protect their water.”
——-From page 75 of OMB decision on Rockfort Quarry Application, November 2010;
“Too much of enormous value to the Province, the Region and the Town could be lost if the proposed quarry went forward. A failure in the mitigation measures proposed for the quarry, as set out in the AMP, would have a catastrophic impact on the natural environment or the natural features and functions of the area. Such an impact cannot be countenanced by the Board. In addition, the fundamental change to the character of the area attendant upon the proposed quarry would not be acceptable. The loss of views of rural lands, the loss of a cultural heritage landscape and cultural heritage resources and the conversion of a rural area into an urban area centred on a heavy industrial operation cannot be permitted in the interest of the production of more aggregate for infrastructure development. It is time for alternatives to aggregate for infrastructure construction to be found. Too much of what is essential to the character of this Province would be lost if aggregate extraction were to be permitted on lands like the subject property. Lands situated in a significant cultural landscape, surrounded by significant natural heritage features and functions, are not lands on which extraction should be permitted in the absence of demonstration of no negative impacts. No such demonstration has been completed in this case.”
——-From Melancthon Citizens Coalition newsletter, June 2003 ;
“The law is clear in Ontario. Like it or not, municipalities have to make aggregate available. The law says, “As much of the mineral aggregate resources as is realistically possible will be made available to supply mineral resource needs, as close to markets as possible.”
It doesn’t even matter if the aggregate is under some of the finest farmland in the province, as it is in Melancthon Township. Gravel — according to the Progressive Conservative government of Premier Ernie Eves (our MPP) — is more important than our vanishing farmlands. It doesn’t even matter if extracting the gravel destroys the value of peoples’ homes or devastates our communities. The Progressive Conservatives just don’t give a damn.
However, the law also says, “The quality and quantity of ground water and surface water and the function of sensitive ground water recharge/discharge areas, aquifers and headwaters will be protected or enhanced.”
Melancthon Township has to do both. That’s the law. We have to make available as “much of the mineral aggregate resources as is realistically possible” and protect or enhance the “quality and quantity of ground water and surface water and the function of sensitive ground water recharge/discharge areas, aquifers and headwaters.”
Obviously, we can’t make aggregate available until after the ground water and headwaters are protected. Excavating millions of tonnes of gravel before the ground water and headwaters are guaranteed safe could cause irreparable damage. ”