CCOB pleads for Brant council to oppose water-taking permit

News Feb 18, 2015 by Mike Peeling Brant News

The Concerned Citizens of Brant made another effort to rally the County of Brant council's support to delay a water-taking permit for a Paris gravel pit.

Ron Norris and Nick Greenacre of the CCOB, a grassroots community group opposed to the aggregate mine on Watts Pond Road, spoke to council on Tuesday and focused on the questions proposed by Professor Ken Howard, director of the Groundwater Research Group, at a Feb. 5 meeting of stakeholders.

CCOB has been pushing for close to two years now for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to deny Dufferin Aggregates' application for a permit to take water (PTTW) from the 640-acre site. The water would be used in a wash pond to clean the aggregate mined from the pit. Norris said it typically takes two to three months for a PTTW application to be processed.

"The MOE wouldn't drag it out for two years for no reason," Norris said, referencing potential water contamination by atrazine, a widely used herbicide. "The evidence is overwhelming."

The CCOB wants new and more extensive water quality testing performed on the site that far exceeds provincial limits for contamination levels.

Howard, an environmental expert witness on groundwater flow, contaminant transport and well protection at the Walkerton Inquiry, addressed key points raised by the CCOB at the meeting in Hamilton. He discussed both short-term and long-term effects of allowing the Paris pit to move forward with the current data.

Howard's questions are: "How much contaminant do we have distributed throughout the site?" and "How much of the contaminant will end up being transferred to the water?" and "What will the contaminant concentrations in the water ultimately be?"

Howard's fundamental concern was that proponents of the pit have not provided data essential to assessing the potential threat to water quality.

"Given the history of the site, this is no run-of-the-mill sand and gravel quarry and shouldn't be treated as one," Norris said. "It's essential that the key concerns are appropriately addressed before the operation is allowed to proceed. This is not an unreasonable expectation."

Atrazine has undoubtedly already accumulated on the site due to widespread agricultural use, but Norris said once Dufferin starts digging up the site the herbicide will have little to stop it from making its way into the ground water. Although atrazine does degrade over time, it degrades far more slowly once in water, Norris said.

CCOB asked council to pass a motion requesting the MOE deny the PTTW.

Kevin Mitchell of Dufferin Aggregates said they don't have a timeline for when the MOE will respond to the application for a PTTW.

Council decided to hold off on making a decision regarding the CCOB's request until they could get more input from the Brant County Board of Health.

NEONICS

Council is sticking with its initial decision to support the Ontario Federation of Agriculture's position on a pesticide known to adversely affect honey bees.

Brant council kept the option open to reconsider its support of the OFA's opposition to an 80 per cent reduction of neonicotinoid (neonics) use on farms proposed by the provincial government. But presentations by the Ontario Beekeepers' Association (OBA) and the National Farmers Union of Ontario were unable to sway the majority of council.

"You put the cart before the horse," said Ella Haley, a certified organic farmer and member of the National Farmers Union of Ontario, told council. "You heard from one interested group on neonics and not the others."

Haley, who ran and lost a seat on council last year by 92 votes, chastised council for not keeping their pledge to listen to all taxpayers concerns, do their research and make informed decisions.

"There is something wrong when you decide to support a stance without hearing all sides," Haley said.

Haley suggested there are alternative means to neonics used by organic farmers for dealing with pests.

"You can't be emotional about this issue," she said. "You have to use science."

Haley said a big part of the problem is a lack of public awareness of the rules for signing up to make a presentation before council. Presentations by the OBA and Haley were delayed because of new rules. Mayor Ron Eddy apologized for the confusion. Council discussed how the problem could be fixed to make it fair for all concerned parties.

Eventually council voted against Shirley Simons' motion to take no position on neonics because it's a provincial issue. The motion was voted down 8-3.

CCOB pleads for Brant council to oppose water-taking permit

Group fears water contamination without further testing

News Feb 18, 2015 by Mike Peeling Brant News

The Concerned Citizens of Brant made another effort to rally the County of Brant council's support to delay a water-taking permit for a Paris gravel pit.

Ron Norris and Nick Greenacre of the CCOB, a grassroots community group opposed to the aggregate mine on Watts Pond Road, spoke to council on Tuesday and focused on the questions proposed by Professor Ken Howard, director of the Groundwater Research Group, at a Feb. 5 meeting of stakeholders.

CCOB has been pushing for close to two years now for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to deny Dufferin Aggregates' application for a permit to take water (PTTW) from the 640-acre site. The water would be used in a wash pond to clean the aggregate mined from the pit. Norris said it typically takes two to three months for a PTTW application to be processed.

"The MOE wouldn't drag it out for two years for no reason," Norris said, referencing potential water contamination by atrazine, a widely used herbicide. "The evidence is overwhelming."

The CCOB wants new and more extensive water quality testing performed on the site that far exceeds provincial limits for contamination levels.

Howard, an environmental expert witness on groundwater flow, contaminant transport and well protection at the Walkerton Inquiry, addressed key points raised by the CCOB at the meeting in Hamilton. He discussed both short-term and long-term effects of allowing the Paris pit to move forward with the current data.

Howard's questions are: "How much contaminant do we have distributed throughout the site?" and "How much of the contaminant will end up being transferred to the water?" and "What will the contaminant concentrations in the water ultimately be?"

Howard's fundamental concern was that proponents of the pit have not provided data essential to assessing the potential threat to water quality.

"Given the history of the site, this is no run-of-the-mill sand and gravel quarry and shouldn't be treated as one," Norris said. "It's essential that the key concerns are appropriately addressed before the operation is allowed to proceed. This is not an unreasonable expectation."

Atrazine has undoubtedly already accumulated on the site due to widespread agricultural use, but Norris said once Dufferin starts digging up the site the herbicide will have little to stop it from making its way into the ground water. Although atrazine does degrade over time, it degrades far more slowly once in water, Norris said.

CCOB asked council to pass a motion requesting the MOE deny the PTTW.

Kevin Mitchell of Dufferin Aggregates said they don't have a timeline for when the MOE will respond to the application for a PTTW.

Council decided to hold off on making a decision regarding the CCOB's request until they could get more input from the Brant County Board of Health.

NEONICS

Council is sticking with its initial decision to support the Ontario Federation of Agriculture's position on a pesticide known to adversely affect honey bees.

Brant council kept the option open to reconsider its support of the OFA's opposition to an 80 per cent reduction of neonicotinoid (neonics) use on farms proposed by the provincial government. But presentations by the Ontario Beekeepers' Association (OBA) and the National Farmers Union of Ontario were unable to sway the majority of council.

"You put the cart before the horse," said Ella Haley, a certified organic farmer and member of the National Farmers Union of Ontario, told council. "You heard from one interested group on neonics and not the others."

Haley, who ran and lost a seat on council last year by 92 votes, chastised council for not keeping their pledge to listen to all taxpayers concerns, do their research and make informed decisions.

"There is something wrong when you decide to support a stance without hearing all sides," Haley said.

Haley suggested there are alternative means to neonics used by organic farmers for dealing with pests.

"You can't be emotional about this issue," she said. "You have to use science."

Haley said a big part of the problem is a lack of public awareness of the rules for signing up to make a presentation before council. Presentations by the OBA and Haley were delayed because of new rules. Mayor Ron Eddy apologized for the confusion. Council discussed how the problem could be fixed to make it fair for all concerned parties.

Eventually council voted against Shirley Simons' motion to take no position on neonics because it's a provincial issue. The motion was voted down 8-3.

CCOB pleads for Brant council to oppose water-taking permit

Group fears water contamination without further testing

News Feb 18, 2015 by Mike Peeling Brant News

The Concerned Citizens of Brant made another effort to rally the County of Brant council's support to delay a water-taking permit for a Paris gravel pit.

Ron Norris and Nick Greenacre of the CCOB, a grassroots community group opposed to the aggregate mine on Watts Pond Road, spoke to council on Tuesday and focused on the questions proposed by Professor Ken Howard, director of the Groundwater Research Group, at a Feb. 5 meeting of stakeholders.

CCOB has been pushing for close to two years now for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to deny Dufferin Aggregates' application for a permit to take water (PTTW) from the 640-acre site. The water would be used in a wash pond to clean the aggregate mined from the pit. Norris said it typically takes two to three months for a PTTW application to be processed.

"The MOE wouldn't drag it out for two years for no reason," Norris said, referencing potential water contamination by atrazine, a widely used herbicide. "The evidence is overwhelming."

The CCOB wants new and more extensive water quality testing performed on the site that far exceeds provincial limits for contamination levels.

Howard, an environmental expert witness on groundwater flow, contaminant transport and well protection at the Walkerton Inquiry, addressed key points raised by the CCOB at the meeting in Hamilton. He discussed both short-term and long-term effects of allowing the Paris pit to move forward with the current data.

Howard's questions are: "How much contaminant do we have distributed throughout the site?" and "How much of the contaminant will end up being transferred to the water?" and "What will the contaminant concentrations in the water ultimately be?"

Howard's fundamental concern was that proponents of the pit have not provided data essential to assessing the potential threat to water quality.

"Given the history of the site, this is no run-of-the-mill sand and gravel quarry and shouldn't be treated as one," Norris said. "It's essential that the key concerns are appropriately addressed before the operation is allowed to proceed. This is not an unreasonable expectation."

Atrazine has undoubtedly already accumulated on the site due to widespread agricultural use, but Norris said once Dufferin starts digging up the site the herbicide will have little to stop it from making its way into the ground water. Although atrazine does degrade over time, it degrades far more slowly once in water, Norris said.

CCOB asked council to pass a motion requesting the MOE deny the PTTW.

Kevin Mitchell of Dufferin Aggregates said they don't have a timeline for when the MOE will respond to the application for a PTTW.

Council decided to hold off on making a decision regarding the CCOB's request until they could get more input from the Brant County Board of Health.

NEONICS

Council is sticking with its initial decision to support the Ontario Federation of Agriculture's position on a pesticide known to adversely affect honey bees.

Brant council kept the option open to reconsider its support of the OFA's opposition to an 80 per cent reduction of neonicotinoid (neonics) use on farms proposed by the provincial government. But presentations by the Ontario Beekeepers' Association (OBA) and the National Farmers Union of Ontario were unable to sway the majority of council.

"You put the cart before the horse," said Ella Haley, a certified organic farmer and member of the National Farmers Union of Ontario, told council. "You heard from one interested group on neonics and not the others."

Haley, who ran and lost a seat on council last year by 92 votes, chastised council for not keeping their pledge to listen to all taxpayers concerns, do their research and make informed decisions.

"There is something wrong when you decide to support a stance without hearing all sides," Haley said.

Haley suggested there are alternative means to neonics used by organic farmers for dealing with pests.

"You can't be emotional about this issue," she said. "You have to use science."

Haley said a big part of the problem is a lack of public awareness of the rules for signing up to make a presentation before council. Presentations by the OBA and Haley were delayed because of new rules. Mayor Ron Eddy apologized for the confusion. Council discussed how the problem could be fixed to make it fair for all concerned parties.

Eventually council voted against Shirley Simons' motion to take no position on neonics because it's a provincial issue. The motion was voted down 8-3.