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Newsletter

St Marys Cement Hosts an "Open House Lite"

Short on Details and Long On Generalities

The "Open House" hosted by St Marys Cement on Thursday August 17th, 2006 failed to deliver. We expected substantive and specific arguments from a company that positions itself as an industry leader, and a good neighbour. But we were disappointed. After this Community has invested two years and thousands of dollars to understand the issues associated with the quarry application, St Marys Cement delivered platitudes, patronizing assurances, and no real information. We were insulted.

The reality is that St Marys Cement cannot make a bad application look better. It's much like putting lipstick on a pig; we still don't want to kiss it. The facts continue to be with our Community case.

Significant points of concern continue to be water and haul routes. St Marys Cement has still not addressed the issue of ground water impact. We understand that their plan is to pump water from the quarry floor into a "moat" around the quarry's perimeter, which will then "percolate" back through re-injection wells, this is the infamous "ground water re-circulation system, or GRS" . Despite the fact that the water could be exposed to many contaminants such as blasting chemicals, lime dust, diesel fuels, hydraulic fluid, and particulate from rubber tires, to name a few, St Marys Cement executives believe it will be safe to re-inject that potentially contaminated water into our Community aquifer. One of them suggested that their "settling ponds would be sufficient to make the water safe to re-inject" into our drinking water. We believe that their assertions are ridiculous. The proposed haul routes are no better.

The single haul route poster gave no indication that St Marys Cement was familiar with the City's Terms of Reference for Transportation, or that the company had reviewed Lowndes Holdings proposals. The first route, which even Lowndes Holdings Corp. had rejected, would upgrade the 12th concession, direct trucks west to Centre Road, then north towards Campbellville Road. The second route would upgrade the 11th Concession, direct trucks west to Centre Road, and then south towards Carlisle Road or north towards Campbellville Road. The third route would upgrade the Millborough Line, and then once again direct trucks towards Campbellville Road. None of these proposals look like they come from a neighbour with the Community's interests at heart. All routes introduce 1140 fast moving, slow stopping 38 tonne trucks to our rural roads which are used by school buses, motorists, farm equipment, cyclists, equestrians and hikers. The incompatible road use is only part of the issue. Dust and noise are the other pieces.

John Moroz, Vice President Operations, indicated that the Community's worries about dust are unfounded because dust-covered trucks would be hosed down before leaving the proposed site. We were surprised by the simplicity of the statement. If dust lands on trucks, it is also landing on crops, and is available in the air to be inhaled by humans and animals alike. When we expressed concern, he said that dust suppressants could be used. But wait a minute, if they are used in the proposed quarry, wouldn't they be one more contaminant in the "moat" around the proposed quarry connected to our drinking water aquifer.

This series of Open Houses, scheduled during peak summer vacation time, seems like a ploy by St Marys Cement to provide evidence that the company has consulted with the Community. The dinner hour visits last month and the recent targeted telemarketing surveys are part of the same package: "Consultation Lite". We would welcome a true dialogue with the Community, conducted in a public forum with all perspectives being presented, commented upon, and weighed in order to reach personal conclusions.

The Open Houses will continue on August 24th and 31st; we do not encourage you to attend. It is not worth your time. We would, however, like to thank our Friends who visited on August 17th and who challenged the suggestion that St Marys Cement can be a good neighbour.

We do however encourage you to attend the public forum that will be held on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. at Balaclava School. Please note St Marys Cement will not be in attendance in an official capacity. They have declined the invitation to attend a public forum with the Community.


 


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