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2008-2009 Annual Report

Message from Chair - The Applications - Our Case - Community Issues - Concluding Comments - Financials - Volunteer Committee - Public Activity Report - Appendix 1 & 2 - References

Message from the Chair

Dear Neighbour & FORCE Supporter,

Since 2004, when we first learned about a proposal to establish Ontario's 3rd largest limestone quarry in the midst of our rural residential and agricultural communities, we have been engaged in a David and Goliath style battle. If St Marys Cement (SMC), our "Goliath", had its way, there would already be a massive open pit industrial mine operating in our communities, with thousands of truck trips daily past our homes, farms, schools, and businesses. In the process, our drinking water aquifer and the sensitive natural features on and around the site would have been negatively impacted. It is our opinion, however, that SMC has underestimated our communities' resolve and determination to fight back.

Recently, we have seen the fight escalate, as SMC moved the focus of the battle away from the City of Hamilton to the Province of Ontario. SMC invested over a year and a half trying to get a temporary Permit to Take Water (PTTW) approved through the Ministry of the Environment (MOE). When the MOE decided that excessive rain had affected the results of the first phase of testing, SMC abandoned the very testing it fought so hard to perform. Rather than regroup and complete the testing, as they had promised our communities they would do, SMC abandoned the PTTW, and filed an Aggregate Licence application under the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA) with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).

Even this change of path did not set our communities back. We gathered in large numbers, first to understand, and then to respond to this new process that SMC had thrust upon us. More than 1,200 residents and all the involved governments, agencies and stakeholders registered their formal objections to the Aggregate Licence as part of a consultation / objection period. Then, just 6 months after the original application objection period had finished, SMC triggered another arduous process, a 20-Day Official Notification of Objector Response process. Our communities have once again responded, and, as of the writing of this report, over 1,000 people have filed their objections. It has been a very busy two years.

In early 2009, FORCE chose to keep our focus on the fight, rather than write the 2008 Annual Report. This two-year report encapsulates the highlights of the recent battles: primarily the PTTW and the ARA Application. Hydrogeology, transportation, environment, and community issues, the four cornerstones of our case, are also discussed. For the first time, we are including Appendices. They detail the activities our communities have engaged in over a 3-year span with the PTTW, and through twelve months of 2009 with the ARA.

Our opponent may have the size and strength of a Goliath, but our communities are nimble, informed, skilled, and supportive. We continue to demonstrate that when a Goliath threatens our homes, our families, and our very way of life, we will respond. The science and facts of the situation remain on our side. This is not the right place to establish a new Greenfield limestone quarry. We will continue to use the various legislative frameworks and their associated regulations to make our case. By pooling our resources and remaining united, we can and we are succeeding. Please enjoy this latest version of the story of our fight.

Together We Will Succeed!

Graham Flint,
FORCE Chairperson   


Together We Will Succeed!