EDITORIAL: More fierce gravel pit fight ahead?

Opinion Apr 04, 2013 by John Zronik Brant News

Members of a Paris-based group called the Concerned Citizens of Brant were surely a little more concerned following a recent decision by Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources to not review a licence granted to Dufferin Aggregates nearly 40 years ago to extract gravel from a 600-acre site north of Paris. The decades-old licence will allow Dufferin to operate a gravel pit along Watts Pond Road, despite concerns expressed by many that much has changed near the proposed pit location during the past 40 years. A request submitted by the CCOB to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario in January asked the MNR to review or revoke Dufferin’s licence. For months, members of the CCOB and others have been expressing concerns about potential groundwater contamination as a result of gravel extraction, a loss of farmland and increased truck traffic near the proposed operation. (Among other concerns.) Leaders of the CCOB say the organization is disappointed by the MNR’s recent decision, but that its fight is “far from over.” But where this gravel pit fight goes from here is far from certain. For its part, the MNR says it “is satisfied that the existing conditions of the subject licence and the applicable regulatory measures are sufficient to appropriately regulate the operation and to protect the environment.” In its response to the CCOB’s request, the MNR cited frequent groundwater monitoring requirements, control of contaminants and a low risk of impact to the water table among reasons for its decision to not review or revoke Dufferin’s licence. The proposed pit has caused quite a stir in Paris during recent months and the fight against it has garnered some high-profile support, including from Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians, who in January helped attract more than 400 people to a meeting concerning the pit plan. Even County of Brant Mayor Ron Eddy said politicians were hoping for a different response from the ministry when it came to the CCOB’s request. “It was a surprise in that we hoped (the environmental commissioner) would be given the legislative authority to review the licence,” Eddy said. In a story published in last week’s Brant News, a Dufferin Aggregates representative said the proposed pit could become a reality by as early as the end of this year, noting that the MNR’s decision to not review the company’s licence should assure Paris residents that Dufferin plans to abide by all current standards. While members of the CCOB would surely disagree, Dufferin says its dialogue with the community is of utmost importance in working toward opening the proposed pit. “We live and work here in Paris and throughout the County of Brant,” said company spokesperson Kevin Mitchell. “We plan to be a neighbour for the next 30 years...We will protect the health of our community and our environment for the long-term.” This week, the CCOB made a presentation to county council asking Brant politicians to take a more proactive stance in trying to stop the proposed gravel pit. Considering the county’s support for the CCOB’s considerable actions thus far in its fight, we’re not to sure how much of an impact that request will really have. In fact, it seems the CCOB and those who support its fight against this gravel pit are facing fewer and fewer options. Dufferin is moving forward with its plan. The CCOB says it will continue its fight to prevent a gravel pit on Watts Pond Road, a pit it sees as a danger to Paris. Those positions considered, it seems this fight has the potential to become a lot more fierce in the coming months. Whether it does or not depends on just how far the CCOB and its supporters are willing to go.

EDITORIAL: More fierce gravel pit fight ahead?

Opinion Apr 04, 2013 by John Zronik Brant News

Members of a Paris-based group called the Concerned Citizens of Brant were surely a little more concerned following a recent decision by Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources to not review a licence granted to Dufferin Aggregates nearly 40 years ago to extract gravel from a 600-acre site north of Paris. The decades-old licence will allow Dufferin to operate a gravel pit along Watts Pond Road, despite concerns expressed by many that much has changed near the proposed pit location during the past 40 years. A request submitted by the CCOB to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario in January asked the MNR to review or revoke Dufferin’s licence. For months, members of the CCOB and others have been expressing concerns about potential groundwater contamination as a result of gravel extraction, a loss of farmland and increased truck traffic near the proposed operation. (Among other concerns.) Leaders of the CCOB say the organization is disappointed by the MNR’s recent decision, but that its fight is “far from over.” But where this gravel pit fight goes from here is far from certain. For its part, the MNR says it “is satisfied that the existing conditions of the subject licence and the applicable regulatory measures are sufficient to appropriately regulate the operation and to protect the environment.” In its response to the CCOB’s request, the MNR cited frequent groundwater monitoring requirements, control of contaminants and a low risk of impact to the water table among reasons for its decision to not review or revoke Dufferin’s licence. The proposed pit has caused quite a stir in Paris during recent months and the fight against it has garnered some high-profile support, including from Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians, who in January helped attract more than 400 people to a meeting concerning the pit plan. Even County of Brant Mayor Ron Eddy said politicians were hoping for a different response from the ministry when it came to the CCOB’s request. “It was a surprise in that we hoped (the environmental commissioner) would be given the legislative authority to review the licence,” Eddy said. In a story published in last week’s Brant News, a Dufferin Aggregates representative said the proposed pit could become a reality by as early as the end of this year, noting that the MNR’s decision to not review the company’s licence should assure Paris residents that Dufferin plans to abide by all current standards. While members of the CCOB would surely disagree, Dufferin says its dialogue with the community is of utmost importance in working toward opening the proposed pit. “We live and work here in Paris and throughout the County of Brant,” said company spokesperson Kevin Mitchell. “We plan to be a neighbour for the next 30 years...We will protect the health of our community and our environment for the long-term.” This week, the CCOB made a presentation to county council asking Brant politicians to take a more proactive stance in trying to stop the proposed gravel pit. Considering the county’s support for the CCOB’s considerable actions thus far in its fight, we’re not to sure how much of an impact that request will really have. In fact, it seems the CCOB and those who support its fight against this gravel pit are facing fewer and fewer options. Dufferin is moving forward with its plan. The CCOB says it will continue its fight to prevent a gravel pit on Watts Pond Road, a pit it sees as a danger to Paris. Those positions considered, it seems this fight has the potential to become a lot more fierce in the coming months. Whether it does or not depends on just how far the CCOB and its supporters are willing to go.

EDITORIAL: More fierce gravel pit fight ahead?

Opinion Apr 04, 2013 by John Zronik Brant News

Members of a Paris-based group called the Concerned Citizens of Brant were surely a little more concerned following a recent decision by Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources to not review a licence granted to Dufferin Aggregates nearly 40 years ago to extract gravel from a 600-acre site north of Paris. The decades-old licence will allow Dufferin to operate a gravel pit along Watts Pond Road, despite concerns expressed by many that much has changed near the proposed pit location during the past 40 years. A request submitted by the CCOB to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario in January asked the MNR to review or revoke Dufferin’s licence. For months, members of the CCOB and others have been expressing concerns about potential groundwater contamination as a result of gravel extraction, a loss of farmland and increased truck traffic near the proposed operation. (Among other concerns.) Leaders of the CCOB say the organization is disappointed by the MNR’s recent decision, but that its fight is “far from over.” But where this gravel pit fight goes from here is far from certain. For its part, the MNR says it “is satisfied that the existing conditions of the subject licence and the applicable regulatory measures are sufficient to appropriately regulate the operation and to protect the environment.” In its response to the CCOB’s request, the MNR cited frequent groundwater monitoring requirements, control of contaminants and a low risk of impact to the water table among reasons for its decision to not review or revoke Dufferin’s licence. The proposed pit has caused quite a stir in Paris during recent months and the fight against it has garnered some high-profile support, including from Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians, who in January helped attract more than 400 people to a meeting concerning the pit plan. Even County of Brant Mayor Ron Eddy said politicians were hoping for a different response from the ministry when it came to the CCOB’s request. “It was a surprise in that we hoped (the environmental commissioner) would be given the legislative authority to review the licence,” Eddy said. In a story published in last week’s Brant News, a Dufferin Aggregates representative said the proposed pit could become a reality by as early as the end of this year, noting that the MNR’s decision to not review the company’s licence should assure Paris residents that Dufferin plans to abide by all current standards. While members of the CCOB would surely disagree, Dufferin says its dialogue with the community is of utmost importance in working toward opening the proposed pit. “We live and work here in Paris and throughout the County of Brant,” said company spokesperson Kevin Mitchell. “We plan to be a neighbour for the next 30 years...We will protect the health of our community and our environment for the long-term.” This week, the CCOB made a presentation to county council asking Brant politicians to take a more proactive stance in trying to stop the proposed gravel pit. Considering the county’s support for the CCOB’s considerable actions thus far in its fight, we’re not to sure how much of an impact that request will really have. In fact, it seems the CCOB and those who support its fight against this gravel pit are facing fewer and fewer options. Dufferin is moving forward with its plan. The CCOB says it will continue its fight to prevent a gravel pit on Watts Pond Road, a pit it sees as a danger to Paris. Those positions considered, it seems this fight has the potential to become a lot more fierce in the coming months. Whether it does or not depends on just how far the CCOB and its supporters are willing to go.