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2005 Annual Report

Message from Chair - The Process - The Community Case - Volunteer Committee - Financials - Public Activity Report - References

The Community Case

From the beginning, our contention has been that no reasonable or informed person would grant anyone the right to operate the eighth largest quarry in Canada at this proposed location.

Operating an open pit industrial mine is a business venture for Lowndes Holdings Corp. But for us, the host community, the prospect of a quarry operating 40 metres below the water table, pumping up to 3.6 million gallons of water each day, and resulting in a peak of 1140 daily truck trips through our communities is a threat - to our children, our families, our health, our farms, and our homes. Despite the unreasonableness of this application, it endures, and so our fight continues.

Our case against this proposed quarry is organized into four core areas: Hydrogeology, Environmental, Transportation, and Community Issues. They are summarized in the sections that follow. We believe that the facts associated with each of the arguments create a case that will lead local and provincial governments to the right and proper decision. For details go to the Community Case section of this site.

Since May 2004, we have learned much about social activism and even more about quarries. Today we are a community that is concerned, informed and leading a campaign against an aggregates developer who is both persistent and determined. We promised that our anger would turn to resolve, and our resolve into action and that is exactly what happened.

We have our case, and it is strong.


Interra Engineering Ltd.1 (commissioned by FORCE) identified four compelling issues with the Lowndes Holdings Corp. application, specifically:

  1. The proponent's prediction of the water table drawdown is not credible.
  2. The wellhead protection zone and the quantity and quality of water provided to the Carlisle municipal wells will be impacted.
  3. Existing rural residential wells, within 1200 metres of the site are at significant risk of being dewatered by quarry operations.
  4. There is a very real potential for lowering of water levels and draining of the Provincially Significant Wetlands, and local streams.

This report confirmed the very same concerns that we, as a community, had identified at the outset. We were further encouraged by the science that speaks against the application when the peer reviewers (Jagger Hims Ltd.2), hired by the City of Hamilton, made similar comments and added:

There are notable errors and inconsistencies, as well as missing information in the key documents reviewed.

Lowndes Holdings Corp. has stated that the application, submitted in September 2004 with over 900 pages of supporting documentation, is full and complete. Yet, as we review two critiques of the hydrogeologic section of the submission, it is evident that the application does not receive a passing grade. Nor should it. It puts the drinking water of thousands of people at risk. Walkerton's water crisis was a tragic example of what can go wrong.

Natural Environment

Flamborough and West Halton are home to an ecological gem. Environmentalists have declared that "The Lowndes Holdings Corp. property contains significant provincially, regionally and municipally designated natural features that contribute to the biological diversity and ecological integrity of the site and the broader region & Few areas of southern Ontario have this combination of natural attributes."3 Why then would anyone fence the perimeter, and then blast the interior into a moonscape? The obvious answer is self-interest. The professed reason is to supply much needed stone, but the province doesn't need the crushed rock that would come from this site - there is no shortage of rock in the province and Ontario is a net exporter of aggregate to the United States. Condoning the self-interest of this particular business would create harm in our communities for the next four generations. How then do we prevent this travesty of environmental stewardship from becoming a reality?

Once again, we are fortunate to have provincial legislation and municipal plans on our side. Conservation Halton's assessment (967 KB) of the original Environmental Impact Statement gives a blistering review of why the application should not go forward and sets the objections in the context of existing bylaws, Acts, and regulations.

For a detailed case of how we can Stop the Quarry, review Dr. Brent Tegler's report (9.2MB). When you have finished reading about the natural treasure that is ours in Flamborough-East and Halton-West then consider the impact of a fenced in crater, 40 metres deep, 254 acres wide on species' habitat and breeding, ecological corridors, and wetlands. Mining an ecological gem would be an environmental disaster.


The proponent claims that one of the strengths of the application is the closeness of the site to Highway 401 and the GTA markets. The challenges not discussed, are that not all of the trucks may be traveling to the GTA, nor is there an appropriate route to travel from the site to the 401. Both Hamilton and the surrounding communities of Milton and Burlington understand this. They have expressed concerns over the negative implications for existing infrastructure and ongoing maintenance. The proposed haul routes are largely rural roads, gravel covered, narrow, with poor sightlines. The proponent's projections of 1140 truck trips on peak days, or one truck every 30 seconds would require massive changes to the rural network of roads. The weight of these trucks, 36.8 tonnes when full, and 54.8 tonnes if pulling a loaded tri-axle trailer, combined with the projected traffic volume means new roads if constructed, would be in a constant state of repair. And who would be responsible for the development and upkeep of these roads? The logical conclusion is the taxpayers of Hamilton, Burlington, and Milton.

We shudder at the incompatibility of the projected road use. Currently, school buses, cars, and slow moving agricultural vehicles travel the winding roads though rural settlements at a rate of about one vehicle every 3 minutes. If we do not shut down this application, we will see an eight-fold increase in traffic volume. Furthermore, we will encounter drivers with opposite goals being forced to share the same roads; school bus drivers, who must make frequent stops and starts, will be pitted against haulers who are focused on maximizing loads and time. Sense and safety must prevail. One accident will be too many.

Community Issues

A very real threat from a successful quarry application is harm to our collective health. We have chosen to live in these communities because we like the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink; we are grateful for the rural routes that allow our children to cycle, hike, and ride with safety; and we enjoy quiet mornings broken only by birdsong outside our windows. These qualities that originate in the social and physical environment are known as determinants of health, and they affect the health of a population regardless of individual genetic inheritance, or personal dietary/exercise practices.

We are very concerned as we assess the health risks of prolonged exposure to dust and noise. The pollution exacerbates asthma, interferes with lung development in growing children, and increases the chance of heart attack in adults by 2-3 fold.4 Citizens most at risk for respiratory harm are the ones whose homes are along the preferred haul routes and who live anywhere near a queuing point for trucks. However, even people living 3 kilometers away from the proposed quarry could expect to see a film of dust on windows and outdoor furniture. We would breathe it in, as would our livestock, domestic animals, and wildlife.

Our ears will suffer too. A quarry will introduce persistent, uncontrollable, year round industrial noise to our rural environment, and once again, peer reviewers (Valcoustics 5) have found the Lowndes Holdings Corp. application to be incomplete. For their firm to do a proper assessment they require "considerably more detail about the operational plan; the associated sound emissions, broken down by source; the specifically needed mitigation measures and the methods of analysis."

What we can expect by way of noise is:

Aggregate extraction is not a benign rural activity, nor is it temporary. It:

Every time an acre of arable land is taken out of production, the local economy suffers. The services required to support an agricultural community (veterinarians, feed mills, seed and fertilizer suppliers, equipment vendors etc.) depend upon a critical mass of farms. Whenever farmland is approved for non-agricultural use, the viability of every other agricultural operation is eroded. Furthermore, the farms that do remain close to a quarry can count on lower crop yields. Thick dust on plant leaves interferes with photosynthesis reducing crop health and productivity.

Stop this quarry - it puts our community health and livelihood at risk!


Together We Will Succeed!