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News Archives


Friday, February 29, 2008
Minister of Municipal Affairs Announces Draft Criteria to Grow the Greenbelt

The Minister of Municipal Affairs, Jim Watson, announced draft criteria and a process of municipal application to grow the Greenbelt on February 21, 2008. The government made a commitment as part of the 2007 provincial election that it would consider municipal requests to "grow the Greenbelt".

The government is now looking for feedback on 6 core criteria:

  1. municipal request
  2. embraces the Greenbelt purpose
  3. additions to the Greenbelt
  4. connections to Greenbelt systems
  5. complements the Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan
  6. timing and relationship to other provincial initiatives

Read the full discussion paper on the draft criteria and related questions at www.greenbelt.ontario.ca or at their posting on the Environmental Bill of Rights registry at www.ebr.gov.on.ca.

Comments are welcomed on the draft criteria until April 30, 2008.

Thursday, February 28, 2008
Hamilton City Council Votes Unanimously on Motion to Protect Carlisle area Drinking Water

About 40 community supporters were present to witness Hamilton City Council vote unanimously on a motion moved by Councillor Margaret McCarthy. The motion moved by Councillor McCarthy focused on concerns about the potential adverse impacts from the proposed St Marys Flamborough quarry on the groundwater-based municipal system serving Carlisle's 3,000 residents and called on the McGuinty provincial government for action. Adverse impacts could also be experienced by the community managed well at Stonebrook Estates, the many hundreds of nearby residential wells, and other groundwater users.
Read the full motion (22 KB).

"The City of Hamilton is speaking out for the first time on the significant issue of drinking water," said Graham Flint, Chair and Spokesperson for FORCE. "This sends an important signal to the Province at a key decision point." Read the full FORCE press release (30 KB). The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) is currently reviewing an October 2006 application by St Marys for a permit to take water (PTTW) to allow the company to test its unproven and theoretical groundwater recirculation pumping mitigation system for the proposed quarry.

A community print and electronic postcard initiative is underway to help protect our drinking water. Over 1,000 print cards and almost 600 e-cards have been sent to Premier McGuinty, to date.

Councillor McCarthy also successfully moved a second motion calling for the reinstatement of security deposits for pit and quarry rehabilitation.

Friday, February 22, 2008 Flamborough Review
Reinstate quarry fees: McCarthy

Flamborough councillor Margaret McCarthy wants to make sure that pit and quarry operators in Ontario have all the incentives they need to ensure speedy rehabilitation of pits and quarry lands. She's pushing for the reinstatement of security deposits from the aggregate industry to guarantee that rehabilitation work is done and she's asking Hamilton city council for support.

Read the Full Article... (35 KB)

Thursday, February 14, 2008 Halton Compass
$48 Million in Security Deposits Returned to quarry companies under the Direction of the Province.

Gravel Watch Ontario requested a review of security deposit returns in January, 2004. In August, 2006 (two years later) the Ministry of Natural Resources suggested themselves that the aggregate industry is not making sufficient efforts to rehabilitate their aggregate sites. Gravel Watch Ontario would like to go back to the previous system of security deposits and monitoring. Further details on this issue are noted in the Halton Compass article (600 KB).

COUNCILLOR MARGARET MCCARTHY FULLY AGREES WITH THIS INITIATIVE and the question that arises after exposing the issue is: "Where do we go from here?"

Councillor McCarthy forwarded a NOTICE OF MOTION at the Wednesday February 13th City Council meeting requesting that:

The Province of Ontario Re-establish Security Deposits and Monitoring

She will advise us on the results of this motion. Debate on the motion will take place at the following City Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, February 27, 2008.

Read Councillor McCarthy's Motion... (12.6 KB)

Thursday, February 14, 2008 Halton Compass
Quarries not committed to rehad, says Gravel Watch

The president of Gravel Watch Ontario warns that many quarry companies are doing little or nothing when it comes to rehabilitating their abandoned pits.

Read the Full Article... (600 KB)

Thursday, February 14, 2008 Halton Compass
Federal Green Leader talks gravel

Over 100 environmentally-minded braved the figid weather on February 5 to listen to Federeal Green Party leader Elizabeth May at Puslinch Community Centre in Aberfoyle when she was the guest speaker at a meeting sponsored by Gravel Watch Ontario.

Read the Full Article... (486 KB)

Thursday, February 14, 2008 Halton Compass
FORCE begins postcard campaign

Premier Dalton McGuinty can expect his Queen's Park mailbox to be filled with postcards shortly and they won't be of the tropical island "wish you were here" variety.

Read the Full Article... (467 KB)

Friday, February 8, 2008 Flamborough Review
Postcard campaign to send message to Queen's Park

About 3,500 postcards were sent this week to residents in Carlisle, Freelton, Campbellville, Kilbride and other parts of rural Milton. But they didn't carry the usual "wish you were here" message. Rather they invited residents to add their names to the postcards and slip them back into the mail for delivery to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Read the Full Article... (43 KB)

Stop the Quarry Postcard Campaign

Decisions about St Marys Cement (CBM)'s application for a Permit to Take Water (PTTW) for a pilot test on the theoretical and unproven groundwater recirculation pumping system must be made by the Ontario Government.

Since 2003 Premier McGuinty has stated his commitment to protecting Ontario's drinking water at its source. It is time for the Premier to honour this commitment in our community.

We must hold the McGuinty government accountable for its commitments under the Clean Water Act to protect our drinking water at its source now. Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment (FORCE) and Environmental Defence have launched a Postcard Campaign to Premier McGuinty on behalf of our Communities. The postcard message stresses that we want the Premier to honour his stated commitment to protect our drinking water and to stop the quarry.

FORCE and Environmental Defence are asking you, your family, your sports team, cycling group, church group, classmates, coworkers and neighbours to send an e-postcard to the Premier.

Click here to go to send your electronic postcard. (This campaign is now closed)

Thursday, January 24, 2008 Flamborough Review
Water, septic uses discussed at Carlisle meeting

Following the enactment of the Clean Water Act in 2006, the Hamilton and Halton communities have come together to form a Source Protection Committee. Information regarding the Clean Water Act, source protection program funding, and septic system management was presented to the community Thursday (January 24) evening.

Read the Full Notice... (84 KB)

Tuesday, January 21, 2008
Conservation Authorities will be holding an open House on source water protection and the Clean Water Act for Carlisle

The purpose of this open house is for public outreach and education regarding the Clean Water Act. It is part of a series of open houses that the City has helped organize with the conservation authorities throughout the municipality. The program and content was pre-approved and fully funded by the MOE. The education program will involve a presentation by the Hamilton and Halton Conservation Authorities and the Ontario Rural Wastewater center . The education will focus on care and maintenance of septic systems and private wells. Opportunities for funding for private landowners within 100m of the the municipal wellheads will be discussed.

Read the Full Notice... (142 KB)

Friday, January 18, 2008 - Flamborough Review
Walkout cuts short quarry workshop

A St. Marys Cement official called it "a lost opportunity" for public input, while a Flamborough councillor described it as a "total disregard of democratic process."

Read the Full Article... (46 KB)

Thursday, January 17, 2008 - Halton Compass
Quarry haul routes plagued Campbellville in the past

When St. Mary's identified the roads of Campbellville as a likely haul route for gravel trucks coming out of their proposed quarry, it likely sparked a sense of déjà vu for longtime area residents.

Read the Full Article... (795 KB)

Thursday, January 17, 2008 - Halton Compass
Residents clear out of St Mary's meeting in protest

After a brief boisterous show of solidarity against a proposed quarry in Flamborough, a crowd of about 150 residents exited the second floor of the Carlisle Community Centre.

Read the Full Article... (256 KB)

Thursday, January 10, 2008 - Hamilton Spectator
Groups unite to oppose quarry plan

A national environmental organization and a local anti-quarry group are teaming up to convince Premier Dalton McGuinty that safe drinking water is more important than a new source of crushed construction stone for the Greater Toronto Area.

Toronto-based Environmental Defence and Flamborough's FORCE want the premier to block plans for a limestone quarry on 11th Concession East at Milburough Road -- close to the borders of Hamilton, Milton and Burlington.

Read the Full Article... (41 KB)

Thursday, January 10, 2008 - Hamilton Spectator
Councillor leads walkout on meeting

More than 150 people voted with their feet and walked out of a workshop on truck routes for the proposed St. Marys Flamborough quarry last night.

Councillor Margaret McCarthy, who read a letter from Mayor Fred Eisenberger restating his opposition to the Carlisle-area pit, accused the cement company of disregarding democratic process and told the crowd, "It's not in anyone's interest to complete the workbook."

Read the Full Article... (82 KB)

Friday, January 7, 2008 - Hamilton Spectator
McCarthy protests quarry meeting's preregistration

Ward 15 Councillor Margaret McCarthy is unhappy that St. Marys Cement asked people to preregister for this week's public information meeting on truck routes for the company's proposed limestone quarry on 11th Concession East at Milborough Line.

The meeting, the third in a series on haul routes, takes place Wednesday from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Carlisle Community Centre, 1496 Carlisle Rd.

Read the Full Article... (40 KB)

Friday, December 28, 2007 - Flamborough Review
Quarry PIC on Jan. 9

Flamborough councillor Margaret McCarthy appealed to area residents last week to continue to "stay engaged in the process" designed to select haul routes for the proposed St. Marys quarry in northeast Flamborough.

The local councillor was reacting to a recent message on the FORCE (Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment) website that acknowledges the frustration of residents in what they see as a one-sided process which focuses feedback on St. Marys' preferences.

Read the Full Article... (35 KB)

Friday, December 14, 2007 - Flamborough Review
MOE alerted to potential water problems at quarry

In an unprecedented move, the City of Hamilton's Public Health Services (PHS) has drafted a letter to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE), warning of potential health problems should the Ministry grant unconditionally St. Marys Cement a Permit to Take Water (PTTW).

The four-page letter warns that an approved permit, needed to allow the aggregate company to test an unproven groundwater recirculation system for its proposed quarry in northeastern Flamborough, has the potential to cause a public health concern "in the form of groundwater shortages or groundwater contamination."

Read the Full Article... (94 KB)

Thursday, December 13, 2007 - Hamilton Spectator
Health concerns over water test for quarry

Hamilton's health department says the planned test of a water-pumping system designed to dry out a proposed 13-storey-deep Flamborough quarry presents enough risk to constitute a public health hazard.

City officials warned last May that the test planned by St. Marys Cement could drain Carlisle's municipal wells.

Now the health department has formally notified the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) of concern that pumping up to 12.7 million litres a day might cut off or contaminate groundwater supplies needed by nearby housing surveys and the Carlisle settlement area.

Read the Full Article... (215 KB)

Thurdsday, December 13, 2007 - Halton Compass
FORCE lauds city for water warning

A four page letter from the Hamilton Health Department to the Ministry of Environment that details numerous concerns over St Mary's application for a Permit-to-take-water (PTTW) is being held up by anti-quarry group FORCE as proof that the applicant should not be given permission.

Read the Full Article... (644 KB)

Thursday, December 13, 2007 - Halton Compass
Environment Commission questions St Mary's application

The Environment Commissioner has waded into St Mary's quarry application, saying it's a perfect example of conflicting Provincial policies.

When Gord Miller released his extensive 228-page 2006-2007 annual report, entitled "Reconciling Our Priorities" - the St Mary's application was cited in the pages dealing with both existing quarry expansions and new quarry applications, as he noted that new quarries were "one of the most difficult and controversial land use decisions been taken in Ontario today. In part, because of conflicting priorities in provincial policy."

Read the Full Article... (653 KB)

Friday, December 7, 2007
Hamilton Medical Officer of Health's Staff Issues Rare Public Health Notification:
St Marys CBM proposed Flamborough quarry could create a public health risk

Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment (FORCE) and Environmental Defence Canada released a copy of a precedent-setting letter issued by Hamilton Public Health Services regarding the St Marys CBM proposed Flamborough quarry. The letter, dated October 26, 2007, and sent to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE), states that there is a "...reasonable and probable risk of causing a public health concern in the form of adverse groundwater quantity and quality impacts."

"Protecting our public health and drinking water is the single most important reason why government decision makers at all levels must reject the proposed quarry for the Flamborough area," said Graham Flint, Chair and Spokesperson of FORCE. Hamilton Public Services has raised concerns about the municipal groundwater based drinking water system for the 3,000 people in Carlisle, the communal well at Stonebrook Estates, the many nearby residential wells, and other groundwater users. "If the McGuinty government truly believes in all of its clean water initiatives post-Walkerton, this government has a duty to act and to act now."

Read the FORCE/EDC Press Release (152 KB)
Read the Public Health Notification (214 KB)

Friday, December 7, 2007 - Flamborough Review
Haul route plans meet with resistance. More than 25 residents speak up at Carlisle quarry meeting.

St. Marys Cement is putting the cart before the horse in pitching several preferred truck routes to residents before even getting approval to create a quarry, says Graham Flint, chair of Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment (FORCE).

But even before Flint could say this at a public information meeting hosted by the company, the grass roots activist received a standing ovation from the 250 people who packed the Carlisle Golf & Country Club last Thursday (November 29).

Read the Full Article... (107 KB)

Thursday, December 6, 2007 - Hamilton Spectator
Give cities more say over quarries: Miller

Ontario's environmental commissioner says the province must resolve policy conflicts that contribute to making quarry siting "one of the most difficult and controversial land-use decisions being taken in Ontario today."

He also urges the government to give cities such as Hamilton and Burlington more say over where new quarries can be opened and old ones expanded.

Gord Miller, in his newly released 2006-2007 report, says the St. Marys Cement application for a large limestone quarry in northeastern Flamborough is an example of the conflict between provincial policies on aggregate extraction and environmental protection.

Read the Full Article... (176 KB)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Environment Commissioner Releases 2006-07 Annual Report on Reconciling Our Priorities and comments directly on our Community Case

Ontario Environment Commissioner, Gordon Miller, today released his 2006-07 Annual Report, aptly titled "Reconciling Our Priorities". The Commissioner writes about creating sustainable communities in Southern Ontario and creating a sustainable planning system for Northern Ontario. He notes that, as a broader society, we currently have priorities which conflict with one another - think about provincial goals like protecting drinking water, protecting wetlands and woodlands, protecting endangered species, and others like extracting aggregates close to source and building more highways. He charges that we are "trying to have our cake and eat it too".

Aggregate extraction has received attention from the Commissioner in every annual report for the last number of years as he has criticized the lack of comprehensive aggregate resource strategy, lack of 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), poor progress on rehabilitation, and poor compliance record combined with limited enforcement capacity at the Ministry of Natural Resources. This year, while those themes remain constant, the Commissioner steps back, asks some fundamental questions and draws some key conclusions. He asks what is the true state of our aggregate resources? Do we need to develop new greenfield quarries in protected areas like the Niagara Escarpment, the Oak Ridges Moraine, and the Greenbelt? He unequivocally states that pits and quarries are not an interim land use. And, he questions who really has a say in approving pits and quarries.

The Commissioner also comments directly on our Community case - a proposed new quarry in the Greenbelt - and applications that we made for a request for review under the Environmental Bill of Rights, where he states that the applicants "made a very compelling case". As a result, the Commissioner recommends that the provincial government reconcile its conflicting priorities between aggregate extraction and environmental protection. Specifically, he calls for a process that screens out, at an early stage, aggregate development proposals, possibly like the one facing our community, which conflict with identified natural heritage or source water protection values. Further, the Commissioner serves notice that he will be watching our Community file and he may review some, or all, of the ministry decisions on the approvals required in this case in future Annual Reports.

For easy reference, sections of interest to our Community include:

Read or download the full report at

Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Speech from the Throne promises A Greener Ontario

The McGuinty government's Speech from the Throne (SFT) was read to the Legislative Assembly on November 29, 2007. One major thematic thrust is A Greener Ontario. Some key extracts from the SFT include:

"Your government understands that we cannot claim to own the air or the water or other precious resources. We simply hold them in trust for our children and their children. Here, on the only planet we know of that sustains life, we have an obligation to preserve that which sustains us."

"Your government will move to protect our water and natural areas that make Ontario a beautiful place to live."

Our Community will certainly be working to hold the McGuinty government accountable for its Greenbelt and source water protection commitments.

Read the full Speech from the Throne (204 KB).

Monday, December 3, 2007- Halton Compass
St Mary's has its hands full at meeting

Consultants from the Flamborough Quarry learned from the fumbles of its first information session in June. They identified themselves with nametags on November 29 and answered questions beside legible placards at the Carlisle Golf and Country Club.

Read the


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