• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Gravel mining is not a benign activity

In Development
Apr 26th, 2022

From Simcoe.com, April 21, 2022
A Letter to the Editor

Re: “Know the facts about stone, sand and gravel,” Simcoe.com, April 11.

As a concerned citizen, I do not approach the subject of gravel mining with any vested interests. Norm Chessman, the Ontario Stone, Sand and Gravel Association executive director, represents the interests of the gravel-mining industry. Draw your own conclusions.

I have been watching the growing footprint of gravel mining at French’s Hill in Tiny Township and have been spurred to look more closely at this industry. The more I dig, the more alarmed I have become.

Any facts presented are from publicly available documents from the Ontario Aggregate Resources Corporation (TOARC). An average of 5,000 acres of land is licensed each year for gravel mining in Ontario. TOARC data indicates that the acres under license for gravel extraction have increased from 221,000 in 1998 to 333,000 in 2020, an increase of 112,000 acres, or almost 5,000 per year.

The gravel-mining industry enjoys numerous special provisions and exemptions to typical regulatory requirements. Municipalities have seen their ability to exercise control over this industry reduced by this current provincial government, leaving the municipalities with all of the liability for road destruction, groundwater pollution, sound and dust pollution, and essentially no control over gravel-mining operations.

Claiming gravel mining’s environmental impacts are dominated by trucking ignores the absolute destruction of the natural environment caused by each and every gravel mine when it is established. It also ignores the downstream climate-change impacts from gravel. For example, the large quantities of gravel used in cement and that the cement industry produces eight per cent of global CO2 emissions and if it were a country it would be the planet’s third-largest emitter.

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