A group of concerned Paris residents hope an appeal to Ontario's environmental commissioner will make Queen's Park finally take notice of its longstanding opposition to a gravel pit proposed by Dufferin Aggregates Ltd.
The Concerned Citizens of Brant have asked environmental commissioner Gord Miller to review the company's 38-year-old license to extract gravel from a 600-acre site at the northern edge of Paris.
The CCOB contends that Dufferin Aggregates has not addressed the group's concern about potential groundwater contamination from runoff from the proposed pit. The appeal includes environmental issues raised by the County of Brant and Grand River Conservation Authority.
The company has maintained that its plan will protect water sources such as the Gilbert and Telfer well fields and Gilbert Creek.
“Dufferin has always said that they have this science to prove that everything is fine," said CCOB co-chair Sandra Parsons.
"This appeal is saying 'we've looked at all your plans, but all of this (information) is missing."
The group hopes the appeal will pressure Ontario's environment or natural resources ministries into amending or revoking the decades-old pit license, which would force the company to reapply and be reassessed.
The CCOB's appeal was filed on Dec. 21. Miller has 10 days to direct it to the appropriate ministry. Then, over a 60-day period, the minister would decide whether the review should proceed.
The Canadian Environmental Law Association has spent the last year helping the CCOB research and prepare its appeal, based on Ontario's Environmental Bill of Rights.
The CCOB plans to keep up the pressure at a community meeting scheduled for Jan. 12 at the Paris Fairgrounds with guest speakers Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians and Faisal Moola of the David Suzuki Foundation. The meeting begins at 1 p.m.
Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, Parsons said the CCOB will keep up its efforts to garner public support.
“We're going to keep going,” she said.