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News Archives


Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Ontario Greenbelt Alliance Issues Report Card for Greenbelt Protection on Greenbelt's 2nd Anniversary

The Ontario government gets an overall grade of "B+" for its efforts to protect and promote Ontario's 1.8 million acre Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt, according to a report card released today by the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance. The report was released on the 2nd Anniversary of the Greenbelt's creation. It finds that the government has generally done a good job defending the Greenbelt and of further greening it by designating provincially owned land as protected parkland. It notes, however, that the government is failing to protect sensitive ecological areas in the Greenbelt that are still under threat from highways, roads, sewer pipes, quarries and urban sprawl. The Report Card specifically references the proposed St Marys CBM Flamborough Quarry as one of the aggregate hot spots to be protected. The Report Card also points to the need for broader aggregate development reform policy and calls for no new quarries in the Greenbelt - especially citing the Niagara Escarpment and the Greenbelt's Natural Heritage System - at least until these reforms are completed, if ever. Read the Greenbelt Alliance Press Release for more details and visit www.greenbelt.ca to download a free copy of The Greenbelt Report Card: 2nd Anniversary Edition. The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance is a diverse multi-stakeholder coalition of more than 75 organizations who share a common vision for protecting and expanding the Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt.

Friday, February 23, 2007 - Flamborough Review
Councillor challenges borehole testing

In the wake of public criticism arising from recent boreholes drilled into rural Flamborough and Milton roads, St. Mary's Cement pledged this week to take steps to ensure that all contractors hired by them are operating with proper permits in place.

A furor erupted last week when it was learned that 40 boreholes had been drilled into roads surrounding the company's proposed quarry at 11th Concession Road East and Milburough Townline.

Read the Full Article (176 KB)

Monday, February 19, 2007
St Marys Cement and the Mysterious Orange Road Stakes

Last fall area residents noticed orange stakes appearing beside some area roadways. Because these stakes appeared by roads that are potential haul routes for the proposed St Marys Cement Flamborough Quarry, members of FORCE contacted the Town of Milton and the City of Hamilton to investigate.

Both the Senior Manager of Infrastructure for the Town of Milton and the Senior Project Manager of Public Works for the City of Hamilton informed us that these stakes were not placed by the municipalities, but were part of a transportation study undertaken on behalf of St Marys Cement in support of the proposed Quarry. They marked sites where unauthorized drilling had been done to obtain core samples of the road and roadbed. Each official told us that this work could only be done under permit, but that no permits had been issued by either municipality. In fact, Milton's Senior Manager of Infrastructure told us that St Marys Cement had contacted the Town about performing this study, had been informed that a permit was required, but had never applied for this permit. No application for such a permit had been received by the City of Hamilton.

The City of Hamilton is taking this very seriously. They are worried that cutting through the road's surface and then attempting to patch the resulting hole could allow water to get into the roadbed and cause premature failure of the road. This is particularly concerning for the 11th Concession, which had been newly paved at public expense. In fact, the City of Hamilton has recent records of the roads' composition and condition, which would have been made available to St Marys Cement, had they asked for them.

This unauthorized activity was done in violation of local laws. We are very concerned that a company that has gone to great lengths and expense to claim that they want to be good neighbours should behave in this way. This question arises: If agents of the proposed Quarry have indeed behaved with disregard of local regulation during the application phase, could they be trusted to respect legal or regulatory conditions placed on their operations if the Quarry were to be approved for development?

Map of known core sample locations. (94.6KB)

View Councillor McCarthy's updates:
St. Mary's Quarry - Road Core Sampling

Monday, February 19, 2007
Province Donates Another 1,500 Acres of Land to Rouge Park to strengthen the ecological integrity of the Greenbelt

The Ontario Government announced that it was dedicating another 1,500 acres of provincial government owned land to the Rouge Park in Ontario's Greenbelt. The donation strengthens the ecological integrity of the Greenbelt and improves connectivity between natural features. This brings the total Ontario Realty Corp. owned lands donated to the Rouge to 5,500 acres since 2003. That is the equivalent of transferring 11 of Toronto's High Parks or 6.5 of New York City's Central Parks.

The Rouge Park, located near the Metro Toronto Zoo, now comprises some 11,500 acres within Ontario's Greenbelt providing connected greenspace between the Oak Ridges Moraine in the north and Lake Ontario in the south. This recent donation of lands creates a strong link between the parts of the park above and below Steeles Avenue.

Future planning can now consider how best to maintain the north-south park connections and to allow for the free and safe movement of wildlife and people. It also enables better integration of trails between systems like the Oak Ridges, Trans Canada and Rouge Park trails. Read the news release (136.7KB), backgrounder (123.1KB), and map (658.8 KB).

Thursday, February 15, 2007 - Halton Compass
Councillor pushes for legal action against St. Mary's

Flamborough Councillor Margaret MCarthy says she will push for legal action against St. Mary's, saying the quarry proponent has illegally taken core samplings from four streets surrounding the quarry application, including Milburough Townline.

According to a map supplied to McCarthy from Hamilton's Public Works department, St. Mary's took 40 core samplings in total from the 11th Concession East, Centre Road, Campbellville Road and Milburough Townline in an "effort to determine their own information regarding the structural calibre of our roadways," said McCarthy.

Read the Full Article

Tuesday, February 6, 2007 - Canadian Champion
Hurry and fix bridge, Town of Milton will tell Province

The Town is urging the Province to hurry up and fix the Guelph Line bridge at the Hwy. 401 interchange.

Milton council passed a motion to that effect last week after hearing from the Province on the improvements it has planned for the area around the interchange. But the work isn't slated to happen until sometime between 2008 and 2010.

Read the Full Article (171 KB)

Friday, February 2, 2007
Provincial Greenbelt and Aggregate Policy News Round-Up

Here are some provincial news stories (October 2006 - January 2007) regarding protection of the Greenbelt and aggregate policy that were not posted on the website previously.

Durham Regional Council Defeats Recommendation to Remove Land from the Greenbelt (Jan 25, 2007) - Durham Regional Council voted to defend the Greenbelt and its boundary. It defeated a recommendation from its Planning Committee to include an attachment to its Official Plan identifying lands the committee wanted removed from the Greenbelt. This is an important municipal decision to uphold the Greenbelt. Read the Provincial Government News Release (30.58KB). Read the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance News Release (32.61KB).

Ontario's Leading Environment Groups Release Priorities for Ontario Election - including Greenbelt (Nov 9, 2006) - Thirteen of Ontario's leading environment groups are joining forces to build a comprehensive environmental agenda based on 6 priority areas on the lead up to the provincial election in October 2007. One of the 6 priorities is the safeguarding of the Greenbelt and the strengthening of policies to stop urban sprawl and to protect green spaces across Southern Ontario. Read the News Release (68.91KB). For more details see the following document - Ontario environmental groups release summary of party positions on environmental priorities

Provincial Government Transfers Selected Lands to Protect and Enhance Integrity of Greenbelt and its Natural Space Linkages (October 2006 - February 2007) - The Province has turned over a number of Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC) parcels of land to municipalities and/or Conservation Authorities in recent months in order to protect and enhance the integrity of the Greenbelt and its natural space linkages. These are positive directions although significant acreage remains in provincial control under ORC and should be evaluated for protection and future transfer. Recent transfers in the Hamilton/Halton area include:

Province Strengthens Environmental Protection Requirements for Aggregate Operations (Oct 30, 2006) - The Ministry of Natural Resources announced 2 measures to begin to strengthen environmental protection requirements under the existing Aggregate Resources Act (ARA) provisions. These are modest but important directional reforms. First, more lands will be regulated under the ARA, levelling the playing field across the province. Second, the annual fee and minimum royalty rate will be increased - from 6 cents to 11.5 cents per tonne - effective Jan 1, 2007. The extra revenue is to be used to improve rehabilitation for pits and quarries and to improve compliance capacity by hiring additional enforcement officers. Municipalities will also see a slight increase - 2 cents - in revenues to them. We will continue to monitor for broader ARA reforms as well as promised 3Rs initiatives committed to as part of an Interministerial Committee's work in response to both the Environment Commissioner's Reports and the Places to Grow Initiative. Read the Provincial Government News Release (29.84KB), Backgrounder (30.93KB), and Designated Areas Map (300.12KB).

Friday, February 2, 2007
FORCE Submits Comments on Source Protection Committee Discussion Paper

On behalf of our communities, FORCE provided feedback during the latest round of consultation held in January 2007 on the proposed directions for establishing Source Protection Committees under the Clean Water Act, 2006.

Source Protection Committees will be established for each local watershed - based source protection area to undertake the planning work to protect drinking water sources. They will be created by regulation authorized by the legislation. We hope that the Ministry will move expeditiously to bring forward the regulations and begin to implement this important legislation. Read the FORCE Input to the Ministry of the Environment (116.68KB). This work follows up on written submission work and presentations before Committees of the Legislature as the legislation was being developed. To read the summary of the Environmental Registry posting, visit http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=Mjg3ODE=&statusId=Mjg3ODE=&language=en and to click here (200.34KB) to read the Discussion Paper.

Friday, February 2, 2007
FORCE Submits Comments regarding Species at Risk legislation

On behalf of our communities, FORCE provided feedback during the latest round of consultations held in January 2007 on the proposed directions for legislation to protect Species at Risk. Reforms to the Species at Risk legislation to protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats is long overdue. We hope that legislation will be introduced and expedited when the Legislature resumes sitting in March.

Read the FORCE Input to the Ministry of Natural Resources (82.47KB). This work follows up on on-line and written submission work undertaken during summer 2006 in response to the Ministry Discussion Paper. To read the Discussion Paper, a summary of Consultation Comments Received, and the Report of the Advisory Committee, visit www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Species/.

Friday, February 2, 2007
Hamilton Councillors Contacted by St Marys Paid Consultant

St Marys CBM has expanded its government relations / public relations paid consultant activities into the municipal arena in support of its application to develop the proposed Flamborough Quarry. FORCE and Ward 15 Councillor Margaret McCarthy have learned that Chris Phillips has been retained and is requesting meetings on behalf of Bruce Davis of Urban Intelligence with local councillors. This activity builds on previous provincial and community relations initiatives underway by the Urban Intelligence / Global Public Affairs / National Public Relations team in support of St Marys. Councillor McCarthy contacted her colleagues directly to offer her ongoing assistance on this matter along with that of City staff.

On behalf of the community, FORCE contacted newly elected and returning Hamilton Councillors immediately following the November 2006 municipal elections as a follow-up to the election survey. Regular e-mail and written correspondence will continue with them and update meetings are currently underway.

Friday, January 26, 2007
FORCE continues to monitor onsite Proponent activities

FORCE has been contacted by several members of the community regarding the Proponent's ongoing activities at the site of the proposed St Marys Flamborough Quarry on the 11th Concession. FORCE has been monitoring this activity in the light of the Permit To Take Water (PTTW) application made by the Proponent late in 2006.

These activities began when the Proponent applied to the City of Hamilton for, and was granted, a Site Alteration Permit which allowed improvements of the onsite road system in the late fall 2006. The Proponent used the improved internal roadway to transport drilling equipment into the site and drilling is now underway. This drilling is part of the study of the aquifer that they are both required and legitimately permitted to do, and is not the extensive and invasive testing that they are proposing in their PTTW application. We understand that this study work may also involve the drilling and instrumenting of a test well located offsite, between the proposed quarry property and the Carlisle municipal wells.

At this point the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has made no decision on the Proponent's PTTW application. It is our understanding that the MOE has asked St Marys for additional information in support of their PTTW application, and is awaiting that information before making any decision. FORCE is asking for that additional information to be made available to the public as well.

FORCE will continue to monitor the situation, and will provide updates as they become available. Any member of the Community who sees any activity that they feel is significant is encourage to contact FORCE at info@StopTheQuarry.ca with their observations.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 - Halton Compass
St Mary's permit on hold until March

The contentious water-taking permit being applied for by St. Mary's is on hold until at least mid-March.

St. Mary's applied to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) for a permit to draw 12.7 million of litres of water per day for a 20-day period to prove to the Ministry and local residents that their water recirculation program was effective.

Read the Full Article

Thursday, December 7, 2006 - Halton Compass
Carr has concerns over St. Mary's application

Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr is echoing the sentiments of Milton's Ward 1 and 3 councillors when it comes to the St. Mary's quarry application in Flamborough.

"There are huge traffic concerns, problems with this being on the escarpment and most definitely, water is one of the big concerns for residents and I share them," Carr told the Post.

Read the Full Article

Thursday, December 7, 2006
Appeal of Milton Dufferin Quarry Expansion Dismissed

On Friday December 1, 2006, the Province dismissed an appeal filed by two environmental groups, P.O.W.E.R (Protect our Water and Environmental Resources) and C.O.N.E (Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment), along with 3 residents opposed to the application by Dufferin Aggregates to expand its existing Milton quarry operation. The appeal was filed following the June 2005 Joint Board (OMB and Environmental Review Tribunal) decision to approve the expansion with conditions.

As a Community, we can appreciate the broader issues represented here and the disappointment local residents must feel when they thought that the quarrying operation near them, and its impacts, would finally have had an end date.

When we think about how this development impacts our fight though, it is important for us to remember some key distinctions between this case and our own:

FORCE will continue to review the application, the decision, and the attached conditions for learnings to apply to our own case. Here are the Press Releases from P.O.W.E.R (129.2 KB) and the Greenbelt Alliance (87.8 KB).

Friday, December 1, 2006 - Flamborough Review
Safeguards built into testing process: St. Mary's

Despite assurances from an executive of St. Mary's CBM Aggregates, Mountsberg/Campbellville area residents continue to be apprehensive about the impacts of proposed pumping tests on the St. Mary's Flamborough quarry site.

According to Graham Flint, chair of FORCE (Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment), rural residents are concerned that the quantity and quality of water in their wells will be affected by the tests. They're particularly alarmed by the high volumes of water being applied for by the company to be used in the testing.

Read the Full Article (176 KB)


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