facebook link
twitter link
Stop Light Monitor - Green


Have you made your annual contribution? Click the"Make a Commitment"
button below.

Make a Contribution

News Archives


Thursday, November 30, 2006 - Halton Compass
McMaster Students dive into St Mary's application

A contentious water permit application by St. Mary's has flowed beyond the immediate community and splashed down into the halls of academia.

Flamborough Councillor Margaret McCarthy told the Compass aside from the concerns expressed by both herself and quarry opponents FORCE (Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment) regarding St. Mary's permit to take water (PTTW), McMaster students have submerged themselves into the issue.

Read the Full Article

Thursday, November 30, 2006
FORCE submits comment to MOE on St Marys PTTW Application

On Thursday November 30th FORCE submitted comments on behalf of our Communities to the Ministry of the Environment concerning the St Marys Cement Permit to Take Water application. The PTTW application was in support of St Marys' large scale field tests of their theoretical Groundwater Recirculation System. This GRS system is St Marys' proposed mitigation method for the unacceptable groundwater impacts identified by their own consultants as resulting from the proposed quarry.

FORCE challenges the application in their submission in two different ways. First that the proposed testing is premature and secondly that the testing plans are overly intrusive and not appropriate for such a sensitive hydrogeologic area. The FORCE submission is supported by reports from our Community expert Team in the areas of Hydrogeology and the Environment.

In addition to the formal comments from the FORCE Committee on behalf of the Community at large, a great many residents have submitted comments to the MOE expressing their individual concerns over the application. The MOE public comment period ends on December 1st and concerned residents are encouraged to make the comments before that deadline. Detailed instructions can be found here.

More information on the proposed GRS testing can be found here. FORCE will continue to monitor the application and will inform the Community of any developments.

Friday, November 24, 2006 - Flamborough Review
Quarry testing application prompts flurry of public comment

A campaign to send a flurry of e-mails to the MOE's (Ministry of the Environment's) regional office in Hamilton in hopes of halting the testing of an unproven groundwater recirculation system at a proposed quarry in northeast Flamborough is gaining momentum.

FORCE (Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment), a grassroots citizen's group protesting the proposed St. Mary's Flamborough Quarry, sent its objections to the Ministry this week asking for rejection of the Permit to Take Water (PTTW) application filed by CBM Aggregates of St. Mary's Cement last month.

Read the Full Article (176 KB)

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006
Details of the proposed onsite GRS testing obtained

After several discussions with representatives from St Marys Cement Group (CBM), the company has agreed to provide the Community with electronic copies of the documentation supporting their recent Permit to Take Water (PTTW) application to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE).

This PTTW application is in support of their plan to conduct onsite field tests of their proposed Groundwater Recirculation System (GRS) for the proposed Flamborough Quarry. The GRS is the proposed approach to mitigate i.e. reduce, the unacceptable groundwater impacts from quarry dewatering.

Their application requests permission to take water at a rate of 8,800 litres per minute, 24 hours a day (for a total of up to 12,700,000 litres / 2,800,000 gallons per day) for a period of 20 days.

(Note: the new enhanced Carlisle Municipal Water System has a maximum rate of approximately 3,000 litres per minute or 4,320,000 litres / 950,000 gallons per day.)

Test Details

Through the documentation in support of the PTTW application, we have learned the following details about their plans.

The objectives of their test are two fold:

  1. to collect additional geologic and hydrogeologic information about the site in order to characterize the "productive zone" of the aquifer and
  2. to undertake a pilot-scale evaluation of the GRS system.

They are proposing a series of tests, each lasting 5 to 6 days in length.

Test 1 is intended to assess the dewatering that will occur if there is no mitigation to the quarry's impact on groundwater. To simulate the effect of the quarry face or wall they are proposing to drill three large diameter wells (300 mm or 12 inches) 50 m deep in a straight line spaced 50 to 60 metres apart. Water will be pumped out of these wells at high rates to attempt to simulate the expected dry quarry face wall. They are estimating that in order to simulate the drawdown in water levels that will be caused by the quarry (30 metres at the quarry face by their estimates) they will need to pump water out of the three wells at a rate somewhere between 800 to 2,000 gallons per minute or 1,150,000 to 2,880,000 gallons per day. The water pumped out during this test will be directed into Mountsberg Creek.

Test 2 will attempt to assess the effectiveness of the GRS implemented by an open trench cut into the bedrock. The trench will be cut to an average depth of 1 metre into the bedrock and will be 150 meters in length.

Given that the computer models predict 45 to 50% of the water will circulate from the GRS directly back into the quarry itself, the tests call for the volume of water pumped to be increased to 1,300 to 2,500 gallons per minute or 1,872,000 to 3,600,000 gallons per day.

They also indicate that some of the water may need to be diverted to Mountsberg Creek as not all of it may be handled by the trench.

Test 3 will attempt to assess the effectiveness of the GRS with the addition of boreholes along the bedrock trench. Boreholes will be drilled along the length of the trench at 10 metre intervals. Once again pumping will occur at the higher rate and diversion to Mountsberg Creek is possible.

There are two more optional tests:

Test 4 will see new boreholes added at 5 meter spacing along the trench to increase recharge rates into the bedrock.

Test 5 will introduce hydraulic fracturing or blasting which will be done to enhance the fractures and further increase recharge rates into the bedrock.

Initial Questions / Concerns

A preliminary review done by FORCE has generated the following areas of concern:

Volume of Water to be Withdrawn from the Aquifer

The volume of groundwater involved in these proposed tests is significant. During the second and third tests the maximum pumping rate is estimated to be almost 4 times the maximum volume licensed for the Carlisle municipal system. What impact will removing that kind of volume have on the existing users of the aquifer? How will the seasonal changes in groundwater conditions impact any results obtained from the tests done now?

Water Discharge Volume into Mountsberg Creek

What impact will discharging this volume of water have on the ecology of Mountsberg Creek? How will any difference in temperature or chemical composition impact the creek's existing environment? What are the flood plain implications?

Potential for Contamination of the Groundwater Aquifer

If the proposed tests are successful, groundwater will be taken out of the aquifer, exposed to potential surface contaminants and changes in temperature, and then transported directly back into the aquifer. Groundwater will become surface water, and then immediately become groundwater once again. How will the safety of our groundwater supply be ensured during such a process? Changes in temperature can, for example, contribute to bacteriological growth within the aquifer itself.

Fracturing the Aquifer is an Irreversible Change

What impact will fracturing the aquifer with blasting have on existing groundwater users? How can we be assured that there will be no negative impact as any changes in groundwater flow from such an activity would be irreversible?

Next Steps

The full set of documentation provided can be found on the St Marys Cement Page.

In discussions with MOE we have had the deadline for public comment extended until December 1st, 2006.
(Further details can be found here: http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=Mjg3MzM=&statusId=MTU1Mzgw&language=en )

We have sent all of the reports to our Community experts and they will be reviewing the documents and preparing a submission on our behalf.

As more information is available we will post updates here. Once we have a greater understanding of the situation, we will also be asking community residents and stakeholders to write to the Ministry of the Environment and submit their comments directly. A template letter and more detailed guidance will be provided.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Community Alert - Planned On-Site Activity (Site Access Driveway)

E-mail correspondence from Stan Holiday, Senior Planner, City of Hamilton on Tuesday November 7th, 2006 advised that:

Glen Schnarr representing St Marys has advised the City of the following site works for their existing driveway from the 11th Concession East:

"that we will be placing gravel on our existing north-south site access driveway. Current access is difficult due to muddy conditions in several parts of the driveway. We expect that approximately 50 to 60 loads will be required to improve driveway conditions. Work will be limited to the existing driveway/access road."

Friday, November 3, 2006 - Flamborough Review
Quarry opponents will be out in force at November 11 gala evening

Despite an eyebrow-raising cost, tickets are sold out for a gala evening aimed at heightening awareness of community opposition to the proposed St. Mary's Mountsberg quarry.

Priced at $395 a couple or $200 for a single, all 200 tickets sold quickly, leading organizers of the November 11 event to conclude that area residents are truly concerned about the proposal and willing to dig into their pockets to help quash it.

Read the Full Article (175 KB)

Monday, October 30, 2006
Permit to Take Water Application submitted for testing of the proposed Groundwater Recirculation System.

Gartner Lee Limited has submitted a Permit to Take Water (PTTW) Application to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) on behalf of St Marys Cement in support of their plan to field test the proposed Groundwater Recirculation System (GRS) on the proposed quarry site.

The application was submitted on October 4th and because of the level of concern surrounding this application on October 12th the Ministry posted the application on the Environmental Registry for public comment. http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=Mjg3MzM=&statusId=MTU1Mzgw&language=en

FORCE has been working on this development over the past two weeks. We are very interested in what is being proposed as part of the testing procedure, as well as what claims are being made as to what the results from the testing will mean going forward.

We are also very concerned about the idea of groundwater becoming surface water and then being reintroduced directly back into the ground water aquifer that we draw from. It is our opinion that this kind of process would need the highest levels of monitoring and controls in order to ensure that our drinking water isn't adversely impacted.

Most of our energies on this so far has been spent trying to get full access to the information about the proposed testing. After many conversations with the City, the Ministry of the Environment, and St Marys we now understand that the application materials will be made available to us. We plan to give those materials to our hydrogeologist who will help us with our response to the MOE.

Once we have obtained the application documentation we will post that material along with our initial response on the website. We will also be encouraging people to review the material online and will provide instructions on how they can submit their own comments to MOE as well.

Friday, October 27, 2006 - Canadian Champion
Ward 3 hopeful Matchett says if elected he'll fight for rural Milton

A "strong voice" for rural Miltonians is what Rick Matchett says he'd bring to the table if elected as a Ward 3 councillor next month.

The local resident -- who ran for a seat on council in the last election but was defeated -- has put his name forward once again, going up against incumbents Cindy Lunau and Jan Mowbray.

...Matchett noted that people in rural Milton are quite concerned with the proposed Flamborough quarry, given its proximity to the town's border.

Read the Full Article (171 KB)

Friday, October 27, 2006 - Flamborough Review
Ward campaign heats up at CFF debate

As election day looms, the positions of the mayoral and ward candidates on key issues are becoming more distinct.

In the first local debate a couple of weeks ago, there appeared to be little to differentiate between Ward 15 incumbent Margaret McCarthy and candidate Judi Partridge. They both pledged to support a binding referendum on Flamborough's de-amalgamation from Hamilton, to oppose the St. Mary's Cement application for a quarry in northeast Flamborough, to support retention of area-rating in Flamborough and to keep revenues from Flamboro Slots in Flamborough, to support local infrastructure and other local projects.

...Both candidates gained the crowd's approval when they came out strongly against the St. Mary's proposal for a quarry in the Mountsberg area.

Read the Full Article (178 KB)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - Canadian Champion
Residents warned about St. Mary's PR campaign

After initially being unnerved by the announcement that St. Mary's Cement will now be leading the charge for the proposed quarry in northeast Flamborough, members of a grassroots citizen's group opposed to the project have regrouped and come out swinging.

Read the Full Article (175 KB)

Friday, October 20, 2006 - Flamborough Review
Ward 14 debate gets down to business

While the first all-candidates' debate, hosted last week by the Committee to Free Flamborough (CFF), was a mellow affair, this week's square-off between municipal and mayoral candidates showed signs of more spirited debate.

...The proposed St. Mary's quarry in northeast Flamborough, although outside Ward 14, drew considerable debate, if not divergent views.

Read the Full Article (177 KB)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Clean Water Legislation Receives Third and Final Reading

The Ontario Legislature gave Bill 43 - the Clean Water Act - its Third and final Reading on October 18, 2006. The law is an important tool for our community case against the St Marys proposed Flamborough Quarry.

The law is premised on the idea that keeping source water free of contamination is smarter, safer and more effective than cleaning up problems after the fact. The act is designed to better protect the quantity and quality of water in aquifers, rivers and lakes, including the Great Lakes. The legislation is rooted in the Walkerton Inquiry's recommendations that Ontario needs multiple barriers to protect drinking water starting with the sources right through to the tap. It ensures communities are able to protect their municipal drinking water supplies through developing collaborative, locally driven, science based protection plans. Communities will identify potential risks to local water sources and take action to reduce or eliminate these risks.

While no legislation is perfect, it is interesting to note that the Sierra Legal Defence Fund's October 2006 Waterproof II Report found that "the province now leading Canada in protecting drinking water is Ontario."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Planning and OMB Reform Legislation Passes Third and Final Reading

The Ontario Legislature gave Bill 51 - the Planning and Conservation Law Statute Amendment Act - third and final reading on October 12, 2006. The legislation gives municipal councils and local residents improved tools to decide how their communities will grow as they consider future development applications by:

The legislation also clarifies the role of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and better protects local decision-making by: Regulations to provide greater detail to certain sections of the legislation are to follow.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - Canadian Champion
Quarry official says concerns to be addressed

Water quality and quantity, haul routes, noise, dust and blasting.

If these concerns sound familiar to opponents of the planned St. Mary's Flamborough Quarry, they're also the same concerns that the large aggregate company pledges to incorporate in ongoing studies on the quarry proposed for northeast Flamborough near Campbellville.

Read the Full Article (172 KB)

Friday, October 13, 2006 - Flamborough Review
No surprises at local debate

There were few fireworks at the first of a series of all candidates meeting in Flamborough Tuesday night. Maybe it's too early yet for election fever, or maybe the timing of the first all-candidates' meeting for mayoralty and Flamborough Ward councilor candidates fell too close after the Thanksgiving weekend. Whatever the reason, Tuesday night's meeting at the North Wentworth Arena at Clappison's Corners, was for the most part, a lackluster affair. No burning issues or fireworks emerged.

...Both candidates said they would not accept campaign donations from St. Mary's Cement.

Read the Full Article (178 KB)

Thursday, October 12, 2006
Ontario Environment Commissioner Releases 2005/6 Annual Report

Ontario Environment Commissioner, Gordon Miller, released his 2005/6 Annual Report called "Neglecting Our Obligations". It contains a range of information, conclusions and recommendations of interest to our communities as we continue our opposition to the St. Marys Cement Group (formerly Lowndes Holdings' Corp.) application. To read the full report, visit http://www.ecoissues.ca/index.php/List_of_Annual_Reports. The supplementary material can be found at http://www.ecoissues.ca/index.php/List_of_Annual_Reports (1.3MB)

Topics of interest include:
Protecting Drinking Water Sources: The Clean Water Act (Page 23)
read more (52 KB)
Ontario's Sand and Gravel Extraction Policy: Overdue for Review (Page 38)
read more (91 KB)
Applications for Review and Investigation: The Aggregate Resources Act: Conservation or Unrestrained Consumption (Page 141)
read more (621 KB)
Guelph Mercury article covering the Environment Commissioner's Report
read the article (52 KB)

Thursday, October 12, 2006
FORCE Participated in Review of Species At Risk Law

During summer 2006, the Ministry of Natural Resources held a public consultation on the law that protects Species at Risk. A discussion paper was released and written/on-line submissions were invited. Read the full discussion paper (521 KB). On behalf of our communities, FORCE provided on-line feedback and a companion written submission supporting a strong legal framework to protect species at risk and their habitats and to assist in their recovery. Thanks to Dr. Jerry Bloom for his expertise and work on this initiative!

FORCE Input to the Ministry of Natural Resources (91 KB)

Thursday, October 12, 2006
Environmental Watchdog and Juno Award Winner to Speak at Gravel Watch Ontario Event

Ontario Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller will be discussing his annual report to the legislature at a public meeting on October 17. Miller will focus on issues related to gravel extraction and the aggregate industry in Ontario. Juno award winner Sarah Harmer will also be there to perform Escarpment Blues inspired by her concerns about aggregate mining on the Niagara Escarpment.

The meeting is sponsored by Gravel Watch Ontario, a province-wide coalition of citizen groups and individuals. Gravel Watch Ontario acts in the interests of residents and communities to protect the health, safety, quality of life of Ontarians and the natural environment in matters that relate to aggregate resources.

Commissioner Gord Miller has repeatedly highlighted concerns about gravel pits and quarries including adverse environmental impacts, lack of rehabilitation and the public's right to access information through the Environmental Bill of Rights. Sarah Harmer has helped to draw attention to issues about aggregate mining through international concert touring and the upcoming release of the DVD "Escarpment Blues" , a tour documentary of her recent "I Love the Escarpment" musical/hiking tour.

The meeting is being held on Tuesday, October 17 at 6:45 p.m. at the Puslinch Community Centre in Aberfoyle south of Guelph on Wellington County Road #46.

Tickets are $10 payable at the event and may be reserved by contacting Ann Ironside at ann.ironside@sympatico.ca, at RR#1, Ariss ON, N0B 1B0 or 519-846-5764.

Read the Gravel Watch Press Release (66 KB)
More information is available at www.gravelwatch.org.

Thursday, October 12, 2006
Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation Announces Support for Greenbelt Farmers as Part of First Round of Grants

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation announced a $1.4 million grant to help farmers with their costs to improve the environmental practices on their land on October 3, 2006. This money will be used to clean up water, protect wildlife and reduce pesticides.

"This Thanksgiving we are celebrating the harvest by helping those who produce our healthy feast. Farmers supply us with fresh, local foods and care for our natural environment," said Burkhard Mausberg, executive director of the Foundation. "Farmers are the stewards of the living countryside. Their care of the land is important to the Greenbelt and to residents in the Golden Horseshoe."

The Environmental Farm Plan and related incentive programs such as the Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program provide incentives to farmers for the costs of on-farm environmental projects. The Greenbelt Farm Stewardship Program is an exciting partnership involving the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, farm organizations, and federal and provincial governments to encourage producers to adopt practices that improve the productivity of their operations while protecting and restoring the Greenbelt, by reducing the impacts to the air and water quality and wildlife habitat. Agricultural support for the programs is led by the Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition. Local delivery of the programs is carried out by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA).The Greenbelt funding increases the total cost-share rate available to Greenbelt-area farmers to as much as 75 percent of eligible costs.

For the Greenbelt Farm Stewardship Program brochure, visit www.greenbelt.ca. It is also available on the OSCIA website at www.ontariosoilcrop.org.

Other grants that may benefit local farmers, farm markets, landowners, and community groups in our part of the Greenbelt include:

Conservation among Rural Landowners
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club knows that landowners want to ensure that their beautiful land retains its environmental integrity. Through a series of brochures and a number of presentations, the Club will educate landowners on the benefits and techniques of land conservation, resulting in the preservation of over 500 privately-owned acres.

Hamilton Naturalists Club
Alan Ernest, Land Trust Program Coordinator
(905) 689-9466

Supporting Greenbelt Farmers' Markets

Ontario's farmers' markets provide us with fresh, local food and a community meeting place to enjoy it. To enhance their visibility and viability, Farmers' Markets Ontario will foster the 45 markets that lie in and around the Greenbelt in two ways; by working with the farmers themselves, offering workshops on topics from business management to food safety, and by promoting the markets to larger audiences, allowing them to attract new farmers and new customers, strengthening the connection between urban cities and the farmers that feed them.

Farmers' Markets Ontario
$1,000,000 over three years
Robert Chorney, Executive Director
(613) 475-4769

Food Buyers for Greenbelt Farmers

Local Flavour Plus is creating a sustainable food economy for Greenbelt farmers and their produce. Including the development of a "Greenbelt Grown" brand, this project will bring awareness about the importance - and deliciousness - of local food by linking farmers to institutional buyers such as universities and hospitals. To participate in this program, involved farms must demonstrate operations and labour practices that are environmentally, socially and economically responsible. In the United States a similar organization is currently moving approximately $50 million of food a year in the region around Portland, Oregon, an area with less than 10% of the Greenbelt' s population. Mirroring this success, Local Flavour Plus projects the annual gross revenues for certified Greenbelt farmers will exceed $50 million within five years, improving the health of Ontario's agricultural economy.

Local Flavour Plus
$1,000,000 over three years
Lori Stahlbrand, President
(416) 699-6070

Supporting the Greenbelt

Environmental Defence Canada is the coordinating organization for the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance: a multi-stakeholder coalition of groups who share a common vision for improving Ontarians' quality of life and protecting valuable agricultural and environmental lands. Building upon the success of the Alliance, Environmental Defence will create a Greenbelt-wide network that draws on the collective expertise of Alliance members, municipal leaders, farmers and professionals. This vibrant collaboration will work to increase the amount of protected area, foster municipal compliance and implementation of the Greenbelt Plan through innovative community planning, and focus on the creation of productive connections between urban and rural organizations, ensuring the integrity of the Greenbelt, now and into the future.

Environmental Defence Canada
$600,000 over two years
Sarah Winterton, Programme Director
(416) 323-9521

Agriculture Hits the Trails

Increasing public awareness about farmers' contributions to the environment and their importance to our living countryside will lead to greater support for agriculture and new partnerships in conservation and restoration. This grant allows AGCare, a group providing science and policy research on enviro-agricultural issues in Ontario for nearly 20 years, to build a collaborative relationship between the farming and trail communities, focusing on environmental stewardship by farmers. This project will place interpretative signs and kiosks on farmlands bordering recreational trails, providing the public with information on the vital bond between agriculture and the environment.

$180,000 over three years
Jackie Fraser, Executive Director
(519) 837-1326

New Farmers in the Greenbelt

Through the appraisal of existing programs and the building of partnerships throughout the Greenbelt agricultural sector, this project will determine the best ways to train and support new farmers; both recent immigrants and graduates of agricultural programs here in Ontario. Approximately half of all newcomers to Canada settle in the Golden Horseshoe, bringing with them their skills, energy, cultures and often, farming experience. By exploring opportunities such as the creation of new ethnic-food markets, this project will inject new life and perspectives into Greenbelt agriculture.

Centre for Land and Water Stewardship at the University of Guelph
Peter Mitchell, Research Associate
(519) 824-4120 x 58329

Green Power in the Greenbelt

This project will pave the way for ten renewable power projects in the Greenbelt, generating 100 mega-watts of electricity. The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association will lead Greenbelt stakeholders, including farmers, farming associations, municipalities and rural cooperatives, in consultations and forward recommendations that provide incentives to entice these generators to build locally-owned green power facilities and sell their excess energy capacity to the grid. The Association will also conduct a Greenbelt-wide public awareness campaign in support of this effort.

Ontario Sustainable Energy Association
Deb Doncaster, Executive Director
(416) 977-4441

For a full list of grants, visit www.greenbelt.ca and follow the Grants link.

Thursday, October 5, 2006
Community Alert - Planned On-Site Activity on St. Marys CBM Property

Longstanding community requests to be alerted to planned activities on the proposed quarry site, especially those involving heavy machinery, are starting to be honoured, at least from a notice perspective. Community residents have stated that this is a simple communications courtesy for the proponent and is important to help us understand what is occurring on site. Michele Ryan, a Stonebury resident, most recently articulated the lack of community liaison at the City's Open House and Information Meeting on April 6, 2006 and she made the direct request for notice on behalf of the community once again.

E-mail correspondence from Stan Holiday, Senior Planner, City of Hamilton to info@StopTheQuarry.ca on Wednesday October 4, 2006 advised that:

..."Please be advised that St. Marys consultants have indicated to the City of Hamilton this week that they will be proceeding with some of their activity related to their proposed future test of their demonstration of a Ground Water Recirculation System with test pitting towards the end of this week {week of October 2nd} or early next week {week of October 9th} (weather dependent). They will then proceed with drilling of additional test wells the following week. Therefore, there will be related vehicular activity in the area. I note that the City's consultant peer review team and Conservation Halton have been consulted concerning these proposed works.

Should you have any questions, please contact me."...

FORCE is posting this notice at www.StopTheQuarry.ca in order to keep the community informed. The notice is appreciated but it would be more beneficial if accompanied by some basic information regarding the planned work. Inquiries are being made by FORCE, on behalf of the Community, into the exact location, nature and purpose of the drilling program, number of wells, any expected impacts, monitoring and involvement by relevant departments and agencies given concerns highlighted with the proposed system during document review, the test work plan and timing, outstanding hydrogeological assessment terms of reference as requested by CART, as well as follow-up plans and reports.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 - Guelph Mercury
Gravel pit operators taken to task

A flight over the countryside south of Guelph will show gravel companies aren't following laws requiring them to rehabilitate land after they use it, says Ontario's Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller.

Miller released his annual report on the environment yesterday, and in it takes aim at an industry he said has done a poor job of regulating itself.

He said the gravel sector's rate of rehabilitating land is "unacceptably low," government enforcement is poor and the environment is not adequately protected by existing laws.

Read the Full Article... (51 KB)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 - Canadian Champion
Region now charging big bucks for quarry applications

The region wants pit and quarry owners to start digging a little deeper -- into their pockets, that is.

A new $100,000 fee that will help cover regional staff costs associated with processing pit and quarry applications was approved by Halton council at its meeting recently.

Read the Full Article... (169 KB)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Councillor McCarthy Quarry Update Meeting

At 7:00 pm on Tuesday, September 19, 2006, at the invitation of Ward 15 Councillor Margaret McCarthy, over 200 members of our community gathered in the gymnasium of Balaclava Public School in Carlisle. The purpose of Councillor McCarthy's meeting was to update us on the progress of the proposed Flamborough Quarry application after the acquisition of the property by St Marys Cement. Her original intent had been to supply an opportunity for representatives of St Marys Cement to meet with us, to inform us directly of their plans, and then to hear our concerns and responses, both as individuals and as an organized, well informed community.

Despite receiving multiple, timely formal and informal invitations, St Marys Cement refused to attend.

Councillor McCarthy opened the meeting with an outline of the history of aggregate resource mapping in Flamborough. Her key point was that the resource maps used to identify the site of the proposed Flamborough Quarry are over two decades old, and in no way reflect the present status of land use and planning on the ground in our community. She was happy to tell us that, on her initiative, and with the full support of Hamilton City Council, that the City has begun the process of updating these maps to reflect modern reality. She also showed us a modern approach to aggregate resource identification and development recently pioneered by Huron County in Ontario. In Huron, a series of objectively measurable features of a potential aggregate extraction site will determine whether the land will be designation as a potential aggregate site or not. This approach provides certainty to the industry, and protection to sensitive areas and communities without the necessity of prolonged and expensive disputes. Councillor McCarthy demonstrated that under Huron' s criteria, the proposed St Marys Flamborough Quarry site would never be identified as a potential site.

View Councillor McCarthy's presentation (6.5 MB)

Our Councillor then turned the meeting over to Ian McDonald, an experienced hydrogeologist hired to provide further professional third party input to the water issues that arise from the proposed quarry. In an informal but thorough and informative address, Mr. McDonald greatly pleased the assembled crowd by confirming what three other sets of experts had already demonstrated. He had reviewed the Proponent's hydrogeological studies, the studies commissioned by FORCE, and those undertaken by the City' s expert peer review team, and agreed with all of them that, unmitigated, the development of proposed quarry could indeed affect the drinking water supply of both nearby households and the village of Carlisle. Further, he agreed with the FORCE and City experts that the Proponent's hydrogeological studies were very incomplete, and likely significantly underestimated the extent of these potentially adverse effects on our drinking water. He went on to inform us that the Proponent's proposal for mitigation of the effects of the proposed quarry on our drinking water was completely unproven technology in our situation. His opinion was that the proponent has a huge job ahead just to demonstrate whether or not the mitigation plan is feasible, and that, at very best, even if it were theoretically feasible, it would be extremely difficult to undertake successfully.

View Ian McDonald's presentation (169 KB)

The third speaker of the evening was FORCE spokesperson, Graham Flint. Graham passionately and eloquently warned us of the changes in the struggle ahead. Although our case is as strong as ever, we now face a proponent who is much more skilled than Lowndes Holding Corp. at manipulating public (our) opinion to its own ends. Graham warned us to expect the representatives of St Marys Cement to try to charm us, lull us, divide us one from another, and possibly even discredit us. He led us in detail through some of the wording in St Marys' latest flyer, and showed us how the proponent was trying to allay our fears using comforting generalities that ignored, skirted over or obscured the problems faced at this particular site. He ended by exhorting us to continue to keep fighting on together as a community. If we allow St Marys to divide us, we will have neither the voice nor the resources to succeed. The biggest threat now is not that we cannot win, but that we can be convinced by the proponent that we cannot win!

View the FORCE Presentation (2.6 MB)

Friday, September 29, 2006 - Flamborough Review
Meeting digs into quarry water issues

Initially unnerved by the announcement that St. Mary's Cement will now be leading the charge for the proposed quarry in northeast Flamborough, members of a grassroots citizens' group opposed to the project have regrouped and come out swinging.

At a public meeting at Balaclava School last week, area residents were advised not to be fooled by the "slick" PR campaign that the large aggregate company is expected to unfold in coming months.

Read the Full Article... (179 KB)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Economic Report for Proposed Quarry Posted for Information

The Economic Report (Clayton Research Associates, April 2006) for the proposed quarry has been posted on the FORCE website. The Economic Report was prepared for Lowndes Holdings Corp. (which has been purchased by St. Marys) and was submitted to the City of Hamilton. It was forwarded to FORCE and has now been posted for community information and review.

The report was prepared by Clayton Research Associates, a firm which is closely associated with the aggregate industry as well as the housing and development industry. The firm has done work for individual aggregate companies, among others, but also has undertaken work related to aggregate demand and supply analysis for TOARC (The Ontario Aggregate Resources Corporation) and was active with the Greenbelt Coalition which questioned the establishment of Ontario's Greenbelt - of which our area forms a part of the most sensitive Natural Heritage System. The report takes a traditional approach to socio-economic analysis focusing strictly on the benefits associated with forecast construction and operations employment, municipal share of aggregate levies, industrial taxes, and voluntary contributions to the community. Little is offered in the way of analysis or justification for the benefits quantified. The report is very preliminary as well in that it does not look at socio-economic cost-benefit analysis. This means that the report only considers the forecast benefits but does not weigh them against the costs. Key issues such as impacts on residential property values (and therefore residential municipal taxes); reductions in number of residential purchasers; impacts on agricultural operations and assessments; permanent loss of farmland; haul route and other infrastructure capital upgrades and ongoing maintenance as well as assignment of cost burden; health issues related to diesel emissions and particulate inhalation, noise and vibration, and vehicular and pedestrian safety; traffic volume implications including emergency services, cycling, and school buses; and impacts on tourism and other related economic spin-offs; among other issues are not addressed at all or are touched upon superficially.

FORCE supporters are encouraged to read the Economic Report (177 KB)and contrast it with the Community Issues Review Report, submitted by FORCE on behalf of the community, and found in the Community Issues subsection of the Community Case.

Monday, September 25, 2006
Work well underway to Reform Land Use Planning and the OMB

The proposed Planning and Conservation Land Statute Law Amendment Act is a key law for reforming land use planning and improving accountability and accessibility to decision makers such as local councils and the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). The proposed law received the Second Reading in the Legislature during the Spring Session. This led to some important work and developments through the late summer and early fall.

The Ontario Standing Committee on General Government held public hearings during the week of August 7th and received written submissions until the end of August 2006. This work paralleled some consultations held by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing as a result of Environmental Bill of Rights registry postings. Read the full FORCE submission here (465 KB) or in the FORCE Submissions section of the website.

In related developments, the Ministry also tabled a broader package of amendments (changes) to the legislation. Directionally, many are consistent with calls by stakeholders such as FORCE. And while further changes would have been beneficial, such as earlier effective dates for the OMB reforms, the proposed legislation will be an important step in reforming land use planning and OMB tribunal work. To read the amendments, please follow the clause by clause debates in the Legislature at the links provided below.

More information on OMB Reform
The proposed legislation will be referred back to the Legislature for Third Reading after September 25, 2006.

The legislation is a priority for the government to pass during the Fall Session. Continue to visit www.StopTheQuarry.ca for updates on the Act's passage and development of companion regulations and implementation tools.

Saturday, September 23, 2006
Work well underway to Protect our Drinking Water with proposed Clean Water Act

The proposed Ontario Clean Water Act is a key law for protecting our drinking water at its source, and the protection of our drinking water source is a key part of the Community's case again this proposed development. The Ontario Standing Committee on Social Policy held public hearings during the week of August 21st. Graham Flint, Chair and Spokesperson of FORCE, represented our communities at the hearing held in Toronto. FORCE emphasized:

For the full FORCE submission, read the presentation deck, Ensuring Clean Water for All (781 KB) and the written submission (449 KB).

To understand the Minister of the Environment's position and that of some other stakeholder presenters (both for and against the legislation), read the Hansard proceedings (505KB) of the Committee that day.

On September 6, 2006, the Minister of the Environment announced a Drinking Water Support Program for Rural Ontario. $7 million will be provided in the first year to farmers and small rural businesses for activities to reduce threats to drinking water. The financial assistance program will be made a formal part of the legislation. An advisory committee of farm, municipal, conservation authority, and other representatives will recommend how the funds are allocated and appropriate levels of support for future years.

This is good news for areas such as ours: drinking water threat reduction will be supported and potentially costly improvements which have public benefit will not be borne solely by farm and small business operations. For more details, read the news release (35 KB) and backgrounder (32 KB).

In related developments, the Ministry also tabled a broader package of amendments (changes) to the legislation. Directionally, many are consistent with calls by stakeholders such as FORCE. While further changes would have been beneficial and ideal, the proposed legislation will be an important step in a multi-faceted approach to protect our drinking water. To read the amendments, visit www.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/news/2006/090601at.pdf.

Clause by clause consideration of the legislation was completed on September 12, 2006. Hansard proceedings for the Standing Committee's clause by clause work and its report can be read here.

The proposed legislation will be referred back to the Legislature for Third Reading after September 25, 2006. The legislation is a priority for the government to pass during the Fall Session.

Continue to visit www.StopTheQuarry.ca for updates on the Act's passage and development of companion regulations and implementation tools.

Saturday, September 23, 2006
FORCE Posts Peer Review of Proposed Quarry's Draft Natural Environment Report

The Peer Review report of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Level 2 Natural Environment Report (Stantec, February 2006) for the proposed quarry has been posted on the FORCE website. The Peer Review report (Dougan & Associates, June 2006) was prepared for the City of Hamilton by independent technical experts and was recently forwarded to FORCE. It has been posted for community information and review. The City's independent experts raise many of the same substantive concerns that FORCE has tabled, on behalf of the community, over the past two years. There is also a clear theme contained within the comments that the application is preliminary and incomplete; there remain methodological issues; and attempts to refine criteria are unjustified and serve to benefit mineral aggregate extraction.

Examples include:

EIS Content:
Description of the Proposal: what is proposed (incomplete), ...timing of construction/development (incomplete), ...site plan (inaccurate/incomplete), ...vegetation communities (incomplete), Provincially Significant Wetlands (incomplete), ...activities associated with the proposal that may have an environmental impact ...(incomplete)

Description of the Surrounding Environment (Biophysical Inventory): ...detailed field inventory (incomplete...), locations of any significant species or features should be mapped in detail (incomplete)...overburden and bedrock geology (partially complete...), areas of high water table (incomplete...), areas of groundwater recharge and discharge (incomplete...), locations and usage of wells (not shown in EIS...)...description of ecological communities during the appropriate seasons... (incomplete...), assessment of condition of vegetation community...(incomplete)... etc.

"...Given that some of the studies are being redone due to inappropriate study design..."
" ...Surveys should be timed to coincide with periods when weather and temperature conditions are optimal for detection of...species..."

Refinement of Criteria
"...it is atypical for an EIS to propose alternate criteria for defining Regional and Provincial scale Natural Heritage Features, particularly when they endorse encroachment on natural heritage features including Provincially Significant Wetlands, Significant Woodlots, and Significant Portions of the Habitat for Threatened and Endangered Species."

"...the existing planning policies in the ROP, PPS, and Greenbelt Plan clearly outline that development is not permitted within these features."
"We consider this approach unjustified and an attempt to maximize the size of the proposed extraction area. In doing so it proposes displacement of valuable natural heritage features and functions, contrary to existing guidelines, policies and legislation."

In conclusion, the independent experts state "It is our opinion that it is premature and inappropriate for the EIS to discuss impacts or to make conclusions regarding the ability to mitigate impacts until the technical studies required to support the impact assessment are completed...We strongly encourage the report authors to refrain from commenting or making assertions regarding impacts and the ability to mitigate them until the required technical studies are complete."

Read the Full Report... (168 KB)

Friday, September 22, 2006 - Flamborough Review
St Mary's cites company track record to gain public confidence

Water quality and quantity, haul routes, noise, dust and blasting.

If these concerns sound familiar to opponents of the planned St. Mary's Flamborough Quarry, they are also the same concerns that the large aggregate company pledges to incorporate in ongoing studies on the quarry proposed for northeast Flamborough. John Moroz, vice-president and general manager of CBM Aggregates, reinforced the pledge last week during an exclusive interview with the Review.

Read the Full Article... (178 KB)

Friday, September 15, 2006
What else can we say! Thank you!

Darcie Pytel and Gwen Todd, you both should be so proud! The event you dreamed about became a overwhelmingly successful reality on Sunday! What an achievement! And to hear the level of interest from the participants about coming back once again next year. What bigger endorsement can you receive!

Read more and view pictures...

Friday, September 15, 2006
Ward 15 Councillor Margaret McCarthy Update Meeting on the proposed St Marys Cement Flamborough Quarry

Mark your calendars now for Tuesday September 19th at 7:00 pm for the Public Meeting at Balaclava Public School. It's our last chance for an update from the City about the St Marys Cement application before the November municipal elections.


Friday, September 1, 2006 - Burlington Post
Cyclists protest quarry proposal

Organizers of the Tour de FORCE hope to demonstrate the cycling community's opposition to an aggregate quarry proposed for northeast Flamborough.

The cycling event, which offers riders distances of 50 and 100 kilometres, will be held on Sunday, Sept. 10.

Read the Full Article (166 KB)


Together We Will Succeed!