Another aggregate company has submitted an application to the province for a gravel pit in the County of Brant as Paris residents continue their fight against Dufferin Aggregates’ proposed gravel pit north of Paris.
CBM Aggregates, a division of Toronto-based corporation St. Marys Cement Canada Inc., has submitted an application to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for a 500-acre operation to be located northeast of Burford, according to a notice recently distributed to county councillors.
A hydrogeological study prepared by Golder Associates on behalf of the company says domestic wells and agricultural water sources in the area are not expected to be impacted by the planned operation.
“There is not expected to be any noticeable impact on water levels in local private wells,” the study says. “The pit ponds’ restricted size was designed to minimize water level effects on local private wells.”
The proposed operation – called the Olszowka Pit – would straddle both sides of Bishopsgate Road between Golf Links Road and Concession Road 5.
Glenn Harrington, an independent consultant working on the proposed project, said no hydrogeological study is ever completely definitive.
“No hydrogeologist in the world will give you a definitive statement,” Harrington said. “There is always the potential for something to happen that is unforeseen.”
Harrington said, in his experience, there has never been an incident where extraction below the water table affected private groundwater sources.
“In 20 years, there has never been a noticeable impact on a well with extraction below the water table,” Harrington said. “It is illegal for us to affect someone’s well under provincial law. If something did happen, the company would be forced by the Ministry of the Environment to fix the water supply.”
CBM Aggregates plans to extract gravel below the water table in three separate ponds, which make up only 27 per cent of the 500-acre pit, according to the study. The company plans to extract about one million tonnes of gravel from the site annually.
“The design is built around where potential problems are,” Harrington said.
Ron Norris, spokesperson for the Concerned Citizens of Brant, a citizens’ group that for months has been fighting a proposed gravel pit by Dufferin Aggregates in the area of Watts Pond Road, said the group plans to discuss the new pit proposal.
“We are concerned about it,” Norris said. “It falls in the same category of pits that could affect our drinking water. This is new news to us. We just found out about it and we have alerted our membership and we will be discussing it.”
County of Brant Mayor Ron Eddy said the company’s plan concerns him.
“It is taking farmland out of production forever because they (plan to extract) below the water table,” Eddy said. “We have to go through the planning process and everybody has the opportunity to give their views. I’m concerned about the loss of farmland because it is happening in so many ways across Ontario.”
Eddy said while the application is of concern, it is not a threat to municipally owned water sources.
“This (proposed) pit is not in a source protection area for a municipal water source,” Eddy said.
A public information session in relation to CMB Aggregates’ planned operation will be held at the Burford Arena and Community Centre, 14 Potter Street in Burford, on Feb. 4 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.