Provincial candidates sound off on proposed gravel pit

News Jun 10, 2014 by Natalie Paddon Brant News

Brant provincial election candidates say, if elected Thursday, they would work to make sure environmental, transportation and financial concerns are taken into account when it comes to the proposed Dufferin Aggregates gravel pit in Paris that has been the source of much controversy.

The Concerned Citizens of Brant have voiced their concerns that a planned pit on Watts Pond Road could contaminate the local water supply as well as create the need for road maintenance because of the damage caused by gravel trucks transporting material.

In light of Thursday’s provincial election, CCOB posed six questions to the local candidates and filmed responses from Green Party candidate Ken Burns, NDP candidate Alex Felsky, Liberal candidate Dave Levac, Libertarian Party candidate Rob Ferguson, as well as received an emailed response from PC candidate Phil Gillies.

“It isn’t just about this pit in particular, it’s also about agricultural land,” said CCOB president Ron Norris. “I think the community needs answers.”

Burns said there are numerous preconditions that would need to be in place before he could endorse the pit’s operation.

Paris’ drinking water and the aquifer must be protected from contaminants, he said.

If there is a hazard, controls and mechanisms must be put in place and monitored on an ongoing basis to make sure they’re working, he added.

Burns is also concerned about taxpayers footing the bills for roads and infrastructure when aggregate royalty fees are “far too low”.

Ontario charges 11.5 cents per ton for aggregate, and the county sees 7.5 cents of that, which Burns says is “woefully inadequate”.

Quebec charges 50 cents a ton, and in the United Kingdom that cost is $3.50 per ton.

Burns would like to see aggregate extracted from non-agriculturally productive areas first because of the sometimes permanent damage it can cause to soil quality.

“We don’t need to compromise our farmland, which would mean we don’t need the Dufferin pit at all realistically,” he said.

Felsky agreed that clean water is an “absolute necessity”.

“I think it comes down to striking a balance between the industrial activity and environmental protection,” she said.

The New Democrats also want to see aggregate royalty fees increased so those funds could go directly into researching and managing the industry.

Felsky also pointed to the potential road damage caused by trucks transporting aggregate.

If elected, the New Democratic Party would work to implement the recommendations that came out of the Aggregate Review Act that they pushed for including, wherever possible, aggregate sites be rehabilitated to farmland.

At its most recent meeting, County of Brant council supported the CCOB who asked for provincial approvals for the pit to be denied until there is scientific proof it will not adversely affect the local water supply and aquifer.

Gillies said he would support county council’s desire to see the environmental impact properly reviewed before the licensing process for the pit proceeds.

As a province Ontario wouldn’t require as many new gravel pits and gravel pit expansions if more recycled aggregate was being used, he said.

At a seminar he attended last year, he learned that 90 per cent of concrete used in construction projects in Berlin was recycled aggregate whereas in Toronto that figure is 15 per cent.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” he said.

Many regulations and contract requirements currently stipulate the need for virgin aggregate only, but Gillies thinks this should be visited because the quality of recycled aggregate is getting better.

Levac said he already took action as MPP for Brant by writing a letter to the Minister of the Environment supporting CCOB and the county’s request for an environmental assessment, and he will continue to press for that to happen if elected.

His first priority is protecting source water, but that needs to be balanced with allowing aggregate extraction to help sustain the economy, he said.

“You can have both as long as it’s done with the utmost respect and protection of the drinking water and source water on the surface and underground,” Levac said.

CCOB’s interviews with the candidates can be viewed at http://ccob.ca/provincial-video-debate/.

Other candidates running locally include John Turmel of the Pauper Party and Brittni Mitchell of the Freedom Party. 

Provincial candidates sound off on proposed gravel pit

News Jun 10, 2014 by Natalie Paddon Brant News

Brant provincial election candidates say, if elected Thursday, they would work to make sure environmental, transportation and financial concerns are taken into account when it comes to the proposed Dufferin Aggregates gravel pit in Paris that has been the source of much controversy.

The Concerned Citizens of Brant have voiced their concerns that a planned pit on Watts Pond Road could contaminate the local water supply as well as create the need for road maintenance because of the damage caused by gravel trucks transporting material.

In light of Thursday’s provincial election, CCOB posed six questions to the local candidates and filmed responses from Green Party candidate Ken Burns, NDP candidate Alex Felsky, Liberal candidate Dave Levac, Libertarian Party candidate Rob Ferguson, as well as received an emailed response from PC candidate Phil Gillies.

“It isn’t just about this pit in particular, it’s also about agricultural land,” said CCOB president Ron Norris. “I think the community needs answers.”

Burns said there are numerous preconditions that would need to be in place before he could endorse the pit’s operation.

Paris’ drinking water and the aquifer must be protected from contaminants, he said.

If there is a hazard, controls and mechanisms must be put in place and monitored on an ongoing basis to make sure they’re working, he added.

Burns is also concerned about taxpayers footing the bills for roads and infrastructure when aggregate royalty fees are “far too low”.

Ontario charges 11.5 cents per ton for aggregate, and the county sees 7.5 cents of that, which Burns says is “woefully inadequate”.

Quebec charges 50 cents a ton, and in the United Kingdom that cost is $3.50 per ton.

Burns would like to see aggregate extracted from non-agriculturally productive areas first because of the sometimes permanent damage it can cause to soil quality.

“We don’t need to compromise our farmland, which would mean we don’t need the Dufferin pit at all realistically,” he said.

Felsky agreed that clean water is an “absolute necessity”.

“I think it comes down to striking a balance between the industrial activity and environmental protection,” she said.

The New Democrats also want to see aggregate royalty fees increased so those funds could go directly into researching and managing the industry.

Felsky also pointed to the potential road damage caused by trucks transporting aggregate.

If elected, the New Democratic Party would work to implement the recommendations that came out of the Aggregate Review Act that they pushed for including, wherever possible, aggregate sites be rehabilitated to farmland.

At its most recent meeting, County of Brant council supported the CCOB who asked for provincial approvals for the pit to be denied until there is scientific proof it will not adversely affect the local water supply and aquifer.

Gillies said he would support county council’s desire to see the environmental impact properly reviewed before the licensing process for the pit proceeds.

As a province Ontario wouldn’t require as many new gravel pits and gravel pit expansions if more recycled aggregate was being used, he said.

At a seminar he attended last year, he learned that 90 per cent of concrete used in construction projects in Berlin was recycled aggregate whereas in Toronto that figure is 15 per cent.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” he said.

Many regulations and contract requirements currently stipulate the need for virgin aggregate only, but Gillies thinks this should be visited because the quality of recycled aggregate is getting better.

Levac said he already took action as MPP for Brant by writing a letter to the Minister of the Environment supporting CCOB and the county’s request for an environmental assessment, and he will continue to press for that to happen if elected.

His first priority is protecting source water, but that needs to be balanced with allowing aggregate extraction to help sustain the economy, he said.

“You can have both as long as it’s done with the utmost respect and protection of the drinking water and source water on the surface and underground,” Levac said.

CCOB’s interviews with the candidates can be viewed at http://ccob.ca/provincial-video-debate/.

Other candidates running locally include John Turmel of the Pauper Party and Brittni Mitchell of the Freedom Party. 

Provincial candidates sound off on proposed gravel pit

News Jun 10, 2014 by Natalie Paddon Brant News

Brant provincial election candidates say, if elected Thursday, they would work to make sure environmental, transportation and financial concerns are taken into account when it comes to the proposed Dufferin Aggregates gravel pit in Paris that has been the source of much controversy.

The Concerned Citizens of Brant have voiced their concerns that a planned pit on Watts Pond Road could contaminate the local water supply as well as create the need for road maintenance because of the damage caused by gravel trucks transporting material.

In light of Thursday’s provincial election, CCOB posed six questions to the local candidates and filmed responses from Green Party candidate Ken Burns, NDP candidate Alex Felsky, Liberal candidate Dave Levac, Libertarian Party candidate Rob Ferguson, as well as received an emailed response from PC candidate Phil Gillies.

“It isn’t just about this pit in particular, it’s also about agricultural land,” said CCOB president Ron Norris. “I think the community needs answers.”

Burns said there are numerous preconditions that would need to be in place before he could endorse the pit’s operation.

Paris’ drinking water and the aquifer must be protected from contaminants, he said.

If there is a hazard, controls and mechanisms must be put in place and monitored on an ongoing basis to make sure they’re working, he added.

Burns is also concerned about taxpayers footing the bills for roads and infrastructure when aggregate royalty fees are “far too low”.

Ontario charges 11.5 cents per ton for aggregate, and the county sees 7.5 cents of that, which Burns says is “woefully inadequate”.

Quebec charges 50 cents a ton, and in the United Kingdom that cost is $3.50 per ton.

Burns would like to see aggregate extracted from non-agriculturally productive areas first because of the sometimes permanent damage it can cause to soil quality.

“We don’t need to compromise our farmland, which would mean we don’t need the Dufferin pit at all realistically,” he said.

Felsky agreed that clean water is an “absolute necessity”.

“I think it comes down to striking a balance between the industrial activity and environmental protection,” she said.

The New Democrats also want to see aggregate royalty fees increased so those funds could go directly into researching and managing the industry.

Felsky also pointed to the potential road damage caused by trucks transporting aggregate.

If elected, the New Democratic Party would work to implement the recommendations that came out of the Aggregate Review Act that they pushed for including, wherever possible, aggregate sites be rehabilitated to farmland.

At its most recent meeting, County of Brant council supported the CCOB who asked for provincial approvals for the pit to be denied until there is scientific proof it will not adversely affect the local water supply and aquifer.

Gillies said he would support county council’s desire to see the environmental impact properly reviewed before the licensing process for the pit proceeds.

As a province Ontario wouldn’t require as many new gravel pits and gravel pit expansions if more recycled aggregate was being used, he said.

At a seminar he attended last year, he learned that 90 per cent of concrete used in construction projects in Berlin was recycled aggregate whereas in Toronto that figure is 15 per cent.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” he said.

Many regulations and contract requirements currently stipulate the need for virgin aggregate only, but Gillies thinks this should be visited because the quality of recycled aggregate is getting better.

Levac said he already took action as MPP for Brant by writing a letter to the Minister of the Environment supporting CCOB and the county’s request for an environmental assessment, and he will continue to press for that to happen if elected.

His first priority is protecting source water, but that needs to be balanced with allowing aggregate extraction to help sustain the economy, he said.

“You can have both as long as it’s done with the utmost respect and protection of the drinking water and source water on the surface and underground,” Levac said.

CCOB’s interviews with the candidates can be viewed at http://ccob.ca/provincial-video-debate/.

Other candidates running locally include John Turmel of the Pauper Party and Brittni Mitchell of the Freedom Party.