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Year in Review

As the year comes to an end, we thought it would be an appropriate time to wish everybody the very best for the upcoming Holiday Season, as well as to reflect on the events of the past year. Unfortunately, the proposed St Marys Cement Flamborough Quarry continues to be an issue facing our Communities.

Perhaps the highlight of the year was the provincial government’s continued support for our Communities’ concerns. They demonstrated this by issuing a Declaration of Provincial Interest (DPI) in the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing into St Marys Cement’s request to revoke the Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) issued in 2010. The net effect of the 2010 MZO was to freeze the zoning on the proposed quarry site, thereby stopping the project from proceeding. In 2011, an OMB hearing was initiated to hear St Mays Cement’s request to revoke the MZO.  Unfortunately, rather than listening to the unanimous opposition against the proposed project St Marys Cement reacted to the DPI by stopping the OMB hearing and making an application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Divisional Court to try to quash both the MZO and the DPI.

That aggressive action was followed by an even more extreme response when St Marys Cement filed a Claim To Arbitration against the Federal Government of Canada under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) alleging that they have been treated unfairly and requesting no less than $275US million in compensation.

Both of these matters are awaiting their respective next steps in the months to come.

In October 2011, our Communities were represented at an Environmental Review Tribunal hearing as St Marys Cement challenged the Ministry of Environment's (MOE) refusal to give them a new Permit To Take Water to undertake further groundwater testing on the site. Simply put, the MOE's opinion is that given the Ministerial Zoning Order stopping the proposed quarry, they were not allowed to issue a permit and hence, there could be no further testing done on the site for the proposed quarry. We are still waiting to receive the decision from that hearing.

Disappointingly, when it comes to the proposed Flamborough Quarry clearly “It’s Not Over …. Yet”.

At this time of year when we traditionally take stock, reflect and celebrate milestones, we can all take comfort that our position now is better than it has ever been before over the 8 years we have been at this. Applications for Judicial Review and NAFTA Claims are a sign that St Marys Cement knows it isn’t wining in its attempt to force an industrial operation into the midst of our agricultural and rural residential Communities. Unfortunately rather than accepting that, they are taking their efforts to new venues with non-traditional approaches. What we should all take comfort in is that the facts of this situation remain the same and follow the company and its proposed development no matter what the venue is. Those facts have thus far led to unanimous rejection of this proposed project from all levels of government and relevant agencies. Changing the venue for their argument doesn’t change the facts that led to all those independent professionals deciding that this isn’t the right place for this project. We just need to continue to stay the course.

In the New Year, we will all be asked once again, as families in our Communities, to contribute financially to this ongoing battle. As a community, we've done a tremendous job raising the financial resources required to take on this fight. We have had many successes as a result. Those successes would not have been possible if we hadn’t had the financial resources that they required for expert technical and legal support. However, the fight continues and the demands on our financial resources remain. We ask you to reflect on what we have accomplished together and the challenges that still remain in front of us. Let’s be proud of what we have accomplished, and together, let us all remain committed to preserving the natural environment and quality of life that we enjoy here.

Looking forward to all that we will achieve together in 2012, because after all:

Together We Will Succeed!

Wishing everyone a Wonderful Holliday Season and a Happy New Year!

on behalf of the FORCE Team



Together We Will Succeed!