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News Archives


Thursday, August 30, 2007
Ontario Greenbelt Alliance Challenges Provincial Parties to Reform Stone, Sand and Gravel Laws and Adopt North America's First Green Standard for this Industry

The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance - in which FORCE is a member - today released a priorities for reform paper and launched a Green Gravel campaign. The paper and campaign are directed to all provincial parties as the campaign for the October 10, 2007 election is about to get underway officially. The Alliance will be working to have the parties adopt the priorities as part of their election commitments.

The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance makes several key recommendations:

  1. Develop and put in place a long term conservation strategy for stone, sand and gravel - reduce, reuse and recycle
  2. Stop new aggregate extraction in the Greenbelt and abutting agricultural land, such as the proposed St Marys Flamborough quarry, so that the Greenbelt's important natural features and waters are truly protected forever
  3. Redesign the licensing and permit approvals process to make it more fair to the public
  4. Develop effective ways to ensure operations and rehabilitation compliance and
  5. Address personal and environmental health concerns such as carcinogenic dust and greenhouse gas emissions

The last time that the Aggregate Resources Act was substantially changed was more than 10 years ago under the Harris government. Reports by the Environment Commissioner of Ontario, the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance, and Priorities for Ontario (a coalition of environment groups), among others, have documented the need for better protection of the Greenbelt (and its Natural Heritage System, the Escarpment and the Oak Ridges Moraine) from aggregate extraction, a 3Rs conservation strategy, and improved compliance enforcement. All are available through the Latest News and Archived News sections of this website.

As Graham Flint, Chair and Spokesperson of FORCE, noted, "Aggregates are important to society, used in our homes, schools, hospitals, roads and transit. But their extraction has inherently detrimental effects on our air, water, climate and quality of life. A finer balance needs to be struck."

Read the full press release (27 KB).

Read the full Priorities Paper (66 KB).

For more information on how the Ontario provincial parties meet the challenge of the Green Gravel campaign throughout the course of the election, please visit www.greenbelt.ca and www.greenprosperity.ca/

Friday, August 24, 2007 - Flamborough Review
City, MOE reviewing files on Campbellville dump site

The disposal of a large quantity of waste petroleum products near the proposed St. Marys quarry site in northeast Flamborough more than four decades ago has sounded additional alarm bells for opponents of the aggregate company's application for a Permit To Take Water (PTTW).

"It adds concern to the prospect of what is proposed," said Graham Flint, chair of FORCE (Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment), a grassroots citizen's group that is opposed to plans for a quarry near the Flamborough/Milton border of Milburough Line at 11th Concession Road East. Last October, St. Marys applied for a PTTW in order to test a groundwater recirculation system designed to mitigate impacts on area groundwater if a quarry is approved.

Read the Full Article (159 KB)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - Canadian Champion
Truck haul route study continues to draw scrutiny

Critics have lined up to blast St. Marys CBM for the company's handling of a public information meeting last month about the truck haul route for a proposed quarry in northeast Flamborough.

The large cement company has been accused of disregarding common public consultation rules, presenting incorrect and misleading information at the June meeting, and holding the session too far from the proposed quarry site.

Read the Full Article (149 KB)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - Hamilton Spectator
Halton asking for water usage cuts

Conservation Halton has posted a level 2 low water condition for its jurisdiction and asked surface and ground water users to cut back consumption by 20 per cent.

A level 2 condition is the second stage of an escalating scale. Ontario's low water response plan says a level 2 condition is triggered by proof total precipitation in the last three months has been less than 60 per cent of average while creek flows have been less than 50 per cent of the lowest average summer monthly flow.

Read the Full Article (123 KB)

Thursday, August 16, 2007 - Halton Compass
280,000 toxic litres dumped on property near St. Mary's

At this point there are still more questions than answers about four-decade-old property contaminated just 2.7 kilometers northwest of the proposed St. Mary's quarry application.

But acccording to a least one Ministry of the Environment (MOE) document, from October 1964 and May 1965, "approximately 280,000 litres of waste petroleum products were disposed of on this site and pumped into preforated holding tanks, allowing the waste to directly discharge into the surrounding soil."

Read the Full Article (216 KB)

Friday, August 10, 2007 - Flamborough Review
City reimbursed by St. Marys

St. Marys Cement has provided the City of Hamilton with $30,000 to help pay for restoration work on Flamborough roads that underwent borehole testing early this year without permission from the city. But Flamborough councillor Margaret McCarthy, who pushed for restitution from the company, said this week that she intends to fight for more compensation if the restoration work carries a bigger price tag than expected.

Read the Full Article (155 KB)

Friday, August 3, 2007 - Flamborough Review
Quarry site near illegal dump

Flamborough Councillor Margaret McCarthy has discovered that land located just a few kilometres away from the proposed St. Marys quarry site was once used as an illegal dumping ground for sludge from a refinery.

The news has left her and residents in the area concerned that the toxic substances, buried during the 1960s on a property 2.7 kilometres away from St. Marys' land in northeast Flamborough, will resurface if and when the quarry is granted permission to conduct water pumping tests.

Read the Full Article (155 KB)

Thursday, August 2, 2007
Another outdoor water ban for Carlisle residents

On July 30, residents of Carlisle were informed of an equipment failure effecting output from one of the municipal wells, resulting in the second outdoor water ban of the summer.

The City expects the system to return to normal on August 2, at which time the current restrictions which allows watering between 7am and 11am and from 7pm to 11pm every other day will be in effect.

Read the Full Notice (20 KB)

Thursday, August 2, 2007 - Halton Compass
New wrinkle in St. Mary's quarry application

If St. Mary's isn't facing enough public opposition to its quarry application at 11th Concession Road East and Milborough Line, yet another fly in the ointment for the proponent has been unearthed - or in this case, almost literally unearthed.

Twigged from a letter from a local resident, Flamborough Councillor Margaret McCarthy discovered after questioning the Ministry of Environment (MOE) that two separate properties - one on Mountsberg Road, the other on Campbellville Road - were routinely used as dumping grounds for a Mississauga refinery back in the mid-1960's.

Read the Full Article (375 KB)

Thursday, July 26, 2007 - Halton Compass
Cart not impressed with St. Mary's first meeting

If St. Mary's thought the fared poorly when FORCE created a mock report card littered with F's for them at their annual meeting two months back, they didn't score a much higher grade with a Hamilton planner after their first Public Information Centre at the Royal Botanical Garden last month.

Stan Holiday, the senior Hamilton planner handling the St. Mary's application, sent the company a letter littered with complaints about the company's first ever public meeting on June 21.

Read the Full Article (207 KB)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007 - Canadian Champion
Informal quarry meeting Sun.

Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment (FORCE) will hold an informal drop-in session this Sunday and area residents are welcome to attend.

The group, which is working to oppose the St. Marys Cement CBM Aggregate application to operate a quarry in Mountsberg, will be on hand at Carlisle United Church (1435 Centre Rd.) in Carlisle from 2 to 4 p.m.

Read the Full Article (143 KB)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - Hamilton Spectator
Critics blast tactics of cement company

Officials from half a dozen Hamilton and Halton agencies complain that a multinational cement company proposing a huge Flamborough quarry isn't following rules for public consultation, presented erroneous information at a recent meeting and held the meeting too far from the affected area.

The criticism appears in a seven-page letter wrapping up comments from members of the Combined Aggregate Review Team (CART) on the June 21 public information centre held at the Royal Botanical Gardens Centre in Burlington by St. Marys CBM.

Read the Full Article (126 KB)

Monday, July 9, 2007
FORCE submits post event feedback to the City of Hamilton regarding St Marys Haul Route Evaluation Public Information Centre

Prior to St Marys Cement's Public Information Centre on June 21st, FORCE wrote to the City of Hamilton (57 KB) outlining the communities concern that St Marys was not complying with the Terms of Reference (TOR) (315 KB) for public consultation regarding the Haul Route Evaluation Study.

The overwhelming conclusion from the community and FORCE representatives was that St Marys Cement fell short of the minimum requirements set out in the Haul Route Study Terms of Reference. Following our initial correspondence with the City of Hamilton, FORCE has submitted post event feedback to the City (31 KB) reiterating St Marys lack of compliance with the Terms of Reference and key areas of concern. We have requested that the City forward the letter to the Combined Aggregate Review Team (CART) for further consideration.

Friday, June 29, 2007 - Flamborough Review
Quarry haul route meeting draws a crowd

The issue of haul routes for the proposed Mountsberg quarry turned out to be a hot topic, as a large number of area residents turned out for a Public Information Centre (PIC) hosted by St. Marys Cement at Royal Botanical Gardens last Thursday.

Read the Full Article (150 KB)

Friday, June 29, 2007 - Canadian Champion
Haul route study draws high level of interest

Proponents and opponents to the proposed St. Marys Flamborough Quarry agree that haul routes are a hot topic drawing lots of attention. The number of residents at last week's public information meeting at the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) clearly demonstrated widespread public interest about which area roads will be used to truck the aggregate.

About 125 residents scrutinized several placards at the first of four public meetings undertaken to select potential haul routes from the proposed quarry at the corner of 11th Concession Road East and Milborough Line. Many stopped to discuss individual concerns with consultants or St. Marys CBM staff while others filled out comment cards, about 55 of which were collected by the study team including members of the transportation consulting firm, BA Group of Toronto.

Read the Full Article (147 KB)

Thursday, June 28, 2007 - Halton Compass
St Mary's routes lead through town

Miltonians will have to wait a bit longer before St Marys Cement (SMC) reveals its gravel haul-route through the town. But at this point, should the quarry be approved, it looks like Campbellville residents can expect up to 80 per cent of its trucks to drive on their roads.

SMC's first of four Information Centres was held at Burlington's Royal Botanical Gardens on June 21. The second meeting, which hasn't yet been set, will present several alternate haul routes along with an evaluation of each.

Read the Full Article (3.7 MB)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Outdoor Water Ban in Carlisle

Last week the community of Carlisle was informed of a four day full outdoor watering ban. Notice of the ban was distributed to local residents on June 15th citing an equipment failure affecting the output from one of the communal wells.

The full ban was lifted on June 20th and residents must now abide by Hamilton's Waterworks By-law R84-026 which restricts lawn and garden watering to every other day.

Outdoor Water Use Program

Read the Full Notice (42 KB)

Monday, June 18, 2007
Community Alert: St Marys Haul Route Evaluation Public Information Centre

St Marys Cement has published notice of a Public Information Centre Meeting to be held Thursday June 21st from 5 to 8 pm at The Auditorium of the Royal Botanical Gardens 680 Plains Road West, Burlington. This meeting is one of a series of meetings required under the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Haul Route Evaluation Study issued by the City of Hamilton in April 2006. This first meeting was to raise initial public concerns and to identify how the public would like to be involved with the study.

Unfortunately St Marys has chosen not to follow the minimum requirements contained in the TOR for public consultation and has chosen a venue that is almost 20km away from the proposed quarry site and at the farthest edge of the study area. The City of Hamilton has acknowledged many of the same concerns that we have raised but to ensure that our comments are formally added to the application file FORCE has written to the City of Hamilton to document the many ways St Marys has failed to comply with the TOR.

Examples include:

This lack of notice and lack of relevant information makes it very difficult for people to decide on whether or not to attend this event. This time of year is also very busy for both residential families with end of year school events as well as many league sporting activities and agricultural families who are very busy with field work.

FORCE will send representatives to the event and will be preparing a template list of comments that can be used to provide your feedback to St Marys. We will post that list on the website, send it out later this week via email, and have the list available for your use at the event.

The behaviour of St Marys Cement continues to be a concern. Consider the area of transportation; we have had the situation of destructive testing being done on our local roads without permits and now this failure to follow the required protocols for public consultation. St Marys claimed in its literature that it "is a caring and responsible company, and a good neighbour." We certainly don't feel that these examples represent the way a good neighbour behaves.

Please print this page and share it with your neighbours
who may not have internet access.

Together We Will Succeed!

Friday, June 15, 2007 - Flamborough Review (Opinion Letter)
Quarry meeting location inconvenient

I've just been made aware of a proposed public meeting Thursday, June 21 at the Royal Botanical Gardens Burlington site to discuss St. Marys haul routes for their proposed quarry site on Concession 11 East.

If I'm running St. Marys Cement and want to minimize the number of concerned or angry citizens attending the required public meetings, what do I do?

Why not hold the meeting at the most inconvenient time and place possible...

Read the Full Letter (147 KB)

Friday, June 15, 2007 - Flamborough Review
St Marys meeting at RBG next week

A decision by St. Marys Cement to hold a public meeting in Burlington on potential truck routes for its proposed quarry in northeast Flamborough has left some area residents bewildered and suspicious. The meeting, to be held next Thursday (June 21) from 5 to 8 p.m., will take place at the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG).

Flamborough councillor Margaret McCarthy and Graham Flint, chair of FORCE (Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment), a citizens' group opposed to the quarry, question why a Flamborough site wasn't chosen for the first of four public information meetings required by the haul route evaluation's terms of reference.

Read the Full Article (155 KB)

Thursday, June 14, 2007 - Halton Compass
St Marys holding truck route meeting

St. Mary's holding the first ever public meeting on their quarry proposal but decided on what most observers consider an unusual setting.

The meeting on their proposed truck routes from the quarry will be held at the Royal Botanical Gardens in south-west Burlington on June 21 from 5 to 8 pm.

Read the Full Article (744 KB)

Friday, June 8, 2007
Ontario Legislature Passes Strong Endangered Species Act

On May 16, 2007, the Ontario Legislature completed Third Reading of Bill 184 and passed the new Endangered Species Act. The new law replaces outdated legislation from the 1970's with mandatory habitat protection and a science-based approach to protecting endangered plants and animals. The law is accompanied by an $18 million stewardship fund so that the costs of protection do not fall unduly on landowners.

View the final version at http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/DBLaws/Source/Statutes/English/2007/S07006_e.htm.

While support for the legislation was not unanimous, it is important to note that there was a majority of support and that the support crossed all parties. To read what the leading environment groups are saying about the legislation, please read their joint press release (138 KB).

Friday, June 8, 2007
Application for Review Submitted under Environmental Bill of Rights

Section 61 of the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) allows individuals and corporations to apply to have existing policies and laws reviewed and/or to request consideration of new policies and laws. The application for review is made to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. On behalf of our communities, FORCE submitted an application for review - for consideration of a new policy or law to provide an early screening evaluation mechanism for development proposals under the Planning Act and/or the Aggregate Resources Act. The application for review was sent to the Environmental Commissioner in February 2007. The Commissioner then sends the request on to the relevant ministries for comment - in this case, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Natural Resources.

We made this application because of the extremely lengthy, technical and costly review processes associated with development proposals. Questions can certainly be raised about how well the existing processes protect our environment and how consistent they are with good democracy. Citizens, who are supposed to be represented and to have the broader public interest protected by governments and public agencies, have to put in extensive personal hours and after tax dollars to advocate for their interests, especially since there is no longer intervenor funding paid by the development proponent to citizen groups.

Even though there have been recent improvements in planning law, that we have supported as steps in the right direction, there is still no early screening evaluation mechanism that would allow municipalities and/or provincial agencies to undertake an early screening of a development proposal - such as the proposed quarry facing our communities - and its attributes and deficiencies - using clear planning tests - to determine if the proposal should proceed through the existing approvals process or should be stopped at an early stage. An early screening evaluation mechanism would adopt an environment/conservation first principle and provide greater certainty for all stakeholders - industry, government and the public.

Read the Cover Letter. (152 KB)
Read the full Submission. (76 KB)

Both ministries responded to our application for review under the EBR in May 2007. Not surprisingly, the ministries reject the need for an early screening evaluation mechanism. Simply put, the Ministry of Natural Resources believes that the Aggregate Resources Act provides a fulsome and fair review of aggregate development proposals. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs believes that it has just completed an extensive consultation process on planning law reform, in which an early screening evaluation mechanism did not surface in a material way, and that reopening the legislation at this time is not warranted.

Read the MNR Response. (5.5 MB)
Read the MMAH Response. (1.6MB)

The next step in the EBR application review process is for the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario and his staff to review the application request by FORCE and the ministry responses to it. The Commissioner will then make his own comments and recommendations. The ECO comments and recommendations will be found in a forthcoming Annual or special report.

We will keep the community informed of developments as they occur.

Friday, June 8, 2007
FORCE submits Comments regarding First Phase of Regulations under Ontario Clean Water Act

On behalf of our communities, FORCE submitted comments regarding the first phase of regulations under the Ontario Clean Water Act, 2006. This law is critical for taking a preventative approach to protecting our sources of drinking water - whether groundwater or surface water based. The first phase of regulations address topics such as Source Protection Areas and Regions, Source Protection Committees, Terms of Reference for Source Protection Committees, planned drinking water systems, drinking water systems that cannot be considered in a Terms of Reference, Great Lakes Agreements, and exemptions. The submission commends the government for the general directions proposed in the draft regulations but notes that there are some areas for improvement. These include: the need for province-wide source water protection; flexibility to increase the maximum size of the Source Protection Committee; explicit inclusion of environmental/community non-government organizations on the Source Protection Committee; need for an open and transparent procedure for appointment of the chair and alternate chair; consistent rules of procedure, codes of conduct and conflict of interest policies across all Source Protection Committees; a requirement for early information sharing, including draft material, by the Source Protection Committee; meaningful involvement and consultation with First Nations; a shortened timeframe for completion of the Source Protection Plan and time limits on all phases of its development; and, no undue constraints on municipalities or the Minister for the nomination of private drinking water systems under the Act.

Read the full Submission (124 KB)

Thursday, June 7, 2007
St Mary to hold first of four Public Meetings on the proposed Flamborough Quarry Haul Route Evaluation Study.

Councillor McCarthy has been notified by John Moroz, Vice President and General Manager of St. Marys Cement that St. Marys is planning on holding the 1st of 4 public information meetings dealing with their Haul Route Study for the proposed quarry. This first meeting is scheduled to take place on:

Thursday, June 21st, 2007
5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Royal Botanical Gardens - BURLINGTON

Read the Notification (65 KB)

View the Haul Route Study Area (574 KB)

Friday, June 1, 2007
Community packs Lawson Park Recreation Hall

Once again we packed Lawson Park Recreation Hall with more than 200 citizens for our Annual General Meeting. We were delighted to have a group of elementary students join us. Our issue has become a class project for these budding environmentalists. They understand that they would be grandparents, or perhaps great grandparents, before they would ever see the lake that St Marys CBM has promised as the endpoint of their proposed quarrying operation.

At this third AGM, it was clear that our communities are still focused on the goal, and that we will not be deterred by the process, nor by the pace. The process which is formal and rigorous, offers our communities the opportunity to respond in a professional manner, and we have chosen to do so. We are encouraged that our technical experts have indeed set the bar by which this application is being examined. The pace, which is controlled by St Marys CBM is glacial at best. Our communities have chosen to not be discouraged by that behaviour.

Staying the course and sticking to the task is the way we will defeat this application. The material presented during the meeting is available here for those of you who were unable to join us. You can also read about the event in the Flamborough Review and Milton Canadian Champion.

FORCE Presentation (1.71 MB)

Friday, June 1, 2007 - Flamborough Review
Quarry water test unproven: McCarthy

A plan by St. Mary's Cement to test a groundwater recirculation system at the proposed Mountsberg Quarry will allow Flamborough residents to be used "as guinea pigs" for an unproven system, Flamborough councillor Margaret McCarthy said this week.

Read the Full Article (151 KB)


Together We Will Succeed!