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The Province Has Spoken!

Provincial Order Freezes Zoning To


FORCE has learned that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) has issued a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) effectively freezing out St Marys Cement's (SMC) plans for a proposed Flamborough quarry.

This is tremendous news and something we should all feel very good about. The six long years of presenting our case against this proposed industrial operation in the midst of our rural residential and agricultural communities has paid off. The substantial technical and regulatory arguments that we have consistently put forward have been heard.

It is our understanding that the MZO issued under the Planning Act ensures that the current zoning on the proposed quarry site is maintained. The lands are currently zoned as Agriculture and Conservation Management. In order to proceed with the proposed quarry St Marys Cement had submitted applications to change the zoning to industrial extractive, the zoning required if the properties were to be used for a quarry. Without the zoning change, SMC will be unable to establish a quarry on the property.

In issuing the Ministerial Zoning Order, the province explained that it was responding to the requests from the local municipalities. All the area's municipalities, led by the City of Hamilton, including Burlington, Milton, and Halton Region, have raised concerns and objections. They have called on the province to act on this issue. And act they have.

We all need to recognize the quiet, diligent efforts of our local MPP Ted McMeekin, who has been working tirelessly at the provincial level in order to make this happen. His support has been steadfast and critical.

At the municipal level, Councillor Margaret McCarthy has strongly and persistently championed and advocated for our communities since the very beginning. Her efforts have led to several unanimous motions from the City of Hamilton and to similar results from her colleagues in Milton, Burlington and Halton. As a community, we need to Thank all of them.

While it would seem that our fight is over, and popping a bottle of champagne to celebrate might be appropriate, we don't recommend that we open the bottle yet. While the province has spoken, St Marys Cement hasn't responded yet.

We hope that now that the province has, in the clearest way possible, added its voice to the unanimous chorus of stakeholders telling SMC that this is the wrong place to attempt to establish a new greenfield quarry, that they would listen and cancel their plans. But SMC hasn't shown any signs of listening to any of our voices yet.

We haven't had time to explore what their options might be, so before we consider our battle over, we will need to see what actions SMC may take. We will need to wait and see if SMC launches any appeals or some other form of legal action. We need to wait and see what the SMC response will be.

This announcement was a surprise to us. We really haven't had the time to fully digest it. You can expect further communication as the dust settles and things become clearer. What we do know is that this announcement seems to indicate that the end of our long battle is within reach. And that in the final analysis, our motto, "Together We Will Succeed" has held true. We all had an important role to play – residents, relevant agencies, interested stakeholders, municipal and provincial governments.

It was our Communities though, who really led the fight. Had we not decided to stand up for our rights, had we not got organized and focused our opposition, had we not supported our opposition with the fact based professionalism that we did, there might not have been any municipal motions and no Ministerial Zoning Order.

Our Communities' engagement in this issue has been tremendous. Think of what we have done. Over 600 submissions on the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) Registry, thousands of postcards sent to the Premier petitioning the provincial government to act, and more than 1,000 objections were first filed and then reconfirmed in response to the SMC aggregate license application. Even after six long years our Communities still attend public meetings by the hundreds, send letters and e-mails to our municipal and provincial representatives, participate in golf tournaments and galas, and regularly contribute financial investments to fund the necessary legal and technical expert work. It is our communities that have laid the groundwork to make this turn of events possible with the support of our local and provincial governments.

It may be a little too early to make this claim, but just perhaps, it is time to say:

Together We Have Succeeded!


Together We Will Succeed!