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Message from the Chair
By: Graham Flint

Well it’s been a wild six months. Do you remember where you were the day you heard about a Proposed Quarry invading our pristine Community? I do. I can tell you that the Victoria Day Weekend will never be the same for me. As I sit down to write this Year End Wrap Up my most dominate thought is one of happiness and not angst. Yes our Community is under attack, but you know this Community has risen to the challenge. Each and every day whether I’m working with the Steering Committee, one of the many Volunteers, or just talking to someone in the Community I am blown away by their support of each other and their commitment to fight this. It is an honour to live in such a Community.

Message from the Chair
Proponent Application and Activity
Local and Provincial Government Update
Technical Reviews
Steering Committee Activities
Community News
Fundraising and Expenditures
What can you do to help?
PDF Version (182 KB)

The Team has prepared this summary Newsletter to give you a chance over the Holidays to reflect on the battle we are engaged in. They have covered a wide variety of topics and hopefully covered the areas you are most interested in. At a high level I want to tell you that I feel better about our prospects now than I have ever felt before. My personal goal going into this was to ensure that this Community did absolutely everything we could to drive this unwelcome intruder out of our midst. We are succeeding in this. It’s hard to keep the entire Community up to speed with all that is going on but I can tell you the work effort and results achieved thus far are amazing. We were told that the die is cast early in these battles, in the first six to eight months. It is during that time that lasting impressions are made on the eventual decision makers and while the formal process drags on it is those initial impressions that make all the difference. The Community should be very proud of that work. We have been Vocal but Professional, Enraged but Rational, Determined but Patient. We are creating just the kinds of the impressions that we need to. I can’t guarantee the final outcome in this matter, and I’m sure that there will be setbacks along the way, but from my unique vantage point, I believe that we are going to Win!

The next big event for the Community will be the formal public meetings hosted by the local municipal governments. We need to fill those rooms to the rafters. Please keep an eye out for the notices. We don’t expect them until late spring at the earliest but they are critical for us. We will post them on the website and send emails as well to ensure everyone knows about them.

We also need help with events and activities for the New Year. If you can help please drop us a line at info@stopthequarry.ca. And while it will be work, I can promise you it will be a fun and rewarding experience with a terrific group of people. Finally I need to remind everyone that this battle takes money to keep it going. The financial commitment we have pulled together thus far as a Community has been fantastic, but next year we will need to engage in a second round of fundraising and we need that same or greater level of support. As I have said at several of the Community Meetings my biggest fear is that we get so close to a Win but because the process is so drawn out and takes so long we run out of money just before that Win. Please do your part to make sure that doesn’t happen.

As I close I ask you to please take the time to read further about our progress. It reflects the hard work of many in this Community. At this time of year dwell not on the threat caused by this issue but upon the success that we are having and the new people that we have met along the way. After all it is the Community and its People that we are fighting to protect.

Best Wishes to You and your Family for the Holiday Season and New Year.

Proponent Application and Activity

Lowndes Holdings Corp. submitted its application for land use approvals for an aggregate extraction development to the City of Hamilton on September 20, 2004. The content for many of its technical studies is preliminary and weak. During the coming year, the application will have to stand on its own merits and be evaluated by the City for a decision. In the meantime, the proponent and his consultants continue to undertake work and studies to add to the file.

We’ve heard about neighbours’ worries that the sighting of these workers and trucks entering and leaving the 11th Concession property means that the quarry must be a “done deal”. Nothing could be further from the truth! Trees have been cleared for the posting of zoning application signs; some access roads have been cut to allow access to the site for testing; and water pump tests have been conducted. All work, to date, though has been done with appropriate permits and permission. In every case where we have notified the City of Hamilton about concerns, there has been a rapid response, including a site visit, to make sure everything is proper. No extraction of aggregate is occurring because the quarry application has not been approved. Monitoring the site is a complaints-driven process, however, so we ask everyone to “keep their eyes and ears open” and to report any concerns through the FORCE website or phone line.

Local and Provincial Government Update

On December 6, 2004 the City of Hamilton hired Steven Rowe, an Aggregates Planning Advisor to assist City staff in the design and implementation of a thorough review process for the Lowndes Holdings Corp. application. In reviewing Mr. Rowe’s resumé, it is clear that he is concerned about protecting the natural environment and has expertise in these matters. One of his first tasks on this project is to hire third party consultants who will examine the proponent’s application in a peer-review process. These technical reviews will begin in early 2005 and continue for several months prior to public consultation sessions. It will be important for us to rally strong numbers and content for these public consultation meetings. Stay tuned for further timing and location details.

From the beginning, Margaret McCarthy, at the City of Hamilton, and Ted McMeekin, at Queen’s Park, have been active building support on our behalf to oppose the quarry application. They continue to be in touch with the Steering Committee on a regular basis and have been of tremendous assistance. City of Hamilton staff, through Stan Holiday, have been professional and responsive. We are also indebted to the staff in Halton Regional offices, City of Burlington, Town of Milton, and Conservation Halton for their thorough reports on the key issues of hydrogeology, ecology, and haul routes, as well as their responsiveness to our inquiries and efforts. Thank you!

Technical Reviews

Our strategy, at the outset, was to pursue ecological and hydrogeological (Wetlands, Woodlots, and Ground Water) defences against the quarry application. We believed that these areas would allow us the strongest opposition to the proposed development. As work proceeds on our expert consultant reports, our initial suppositions about interconnected greenspaces and aquatic systems are being verified. Our case keeps getting stronger! We also have a supporting team of volunteers with expertise in hydrogeology, ecology, noise/vibration, and air quality, led by Daniel Curran-Blaney. That team would welcome any additional volunteers.

Steering Committee Activities

The Steering Committee has been active on a variety of levels - strategy, expert coordination, government lobbying, media, communications materials, sign visibility, Community outreach, and fundraising, to name a few.

To date, we have made numerous written and oral presentations to the Provincial Government regarding the Greenbelt Plan, Greenbelt Legislation, Growth Management Plan and Legislation, Drinking Water Source Protection, the Provincial Policy Statement, Land Use Planning Process reform, and Reform of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). These policies will provide the framework against which the City of Hamilton will evaluate the Lowndes Holdings Corp. application. We have also appeared regularly before the Hamilton Planning and Economic Development Committee, Hamilton City Council, and the Region of Halton Council. These presentations are in addition to meetings with staff and individual councillors in all the municipal jurisdictions along with Conservation Halton. Not a single person with whom we have met has suggested that the proposed quarry is desirable! Our substantive concerns and our professional conduct appear to be resonating with the decision-makers.

Building on the success of the Lawson Park meetings where well over two hundred neighbours were in attendance, we have now connected with a further three hundred plus citizens through four highly successful public meetings (Campbellville, Carlisle, Kilbride and Stonebrook). Outreach is also underway with area Schools and School Boards, the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce, and many other stakeholder groups.

Community News

We have been galvanized, as Communities, into action in opposition to this proposed aggregate development. We can routinely call for and deliver large numbers of e-mails to area politicians and attendance at local government meetings. Again, we are overwhelmed with the number of active volunteers we have: 50+ who deliver flyers and newsbriefs to us all on a regular basis and who visit us door to door to canvass at our households and businesses in addition to the more than a dozen technical volunteers. The work of these tireless volunteers keeps us informed, builds our case, funds our activities, has helped secure hundreds of signatures on our petition, and has given our opposition great visibility. Area staff and politicians traveling through Flamborough do notice the posted lawn and business signs (well over 600) and have commented about the growing strength of opposition to the proposed quarry. Next year promises more events and activity - we have lots of ideas! We welcome additional volunteers who are interested in organizing and managing Community events.

On December 1st, Audrey Galloway, Wayne Neeb and Marg Runciman were the lucky holders of winning tickets in the Mountsberg Women’s Raffle. Thank you! again to everyone who supported FORCE by purchasing a raffle ticket.

Mark your calendars now and lace up your boots & blades for a Free Holiday Family Skate Night at the Carlisle Arena on December 27th from 7:00 -9:00 pm. The event has been generously sponsored, on behalf of FORCE, by our councillors, Margaret McCarthy and Dave Braden. In the spirit of the season, we are asking that skaters bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to the Flamborough Food Bank.

Fundraising and Expenditures

Goodwill, time and expertise go a long way in a campaign, but in the end we still need money - an estimated $100,000 per calendar year. It pays the bills for the Technical and Engineering Studies, the Legal Fees, and the Community Campaign. We have been overwhelmed by the time and expertise that continues to be volunteered. Without that commitment our expenditures would be far greater than they are.

Since we incorporated in June of 2004, we have raised over $140,000 through personal and business commitments. Thank you also to the Mountsberg Women’s Institute who raised an additional $3,000 in their quilt raffle this fall and donated the funds to FORCE.

Our expenditures though have totalled over $90,000. 56% spent on Technical Experts, 35% on Legal Fees, 8% on Community Activities, and 1% on our Operating costs. We are left with approximately $50,000 in the account. This sounds like a lot of money but it can be spent in as few as ten days of legal hearings before the Ontario Municipal Board. The expenses we expect to incur over the next six months will be for ongoing work by our Technical Experts. This work occurs at the front end of the approvals process. It is critical that we are able to continue to keep funding our activities to document the existing landscape, to critique the proponent’s application and subsequent documentation, and to intervene at key stages. We don’t want to run out of money at a decision point or in the middle of a hearing. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to these efforts!

What can you do to help?

We will be in a ‘wait and see’ mode over the next few months as the application enters the peer review stage, so do not be alarmed if you are not continuing to read about the proposed quarry in the newspaper every week! Lots of work will continue behind the scenes completing our case, in the preparation of other written submissions, and at meetings.

How can you help the fight against the quarry?

  1. Print this newsletter (PDF  Version - 182 KB) and take it to a neighbour, post it on a local bulletin board, etc,
  2. Send us any e-mail address changes via the website so that we can keep you updated electronically (your address will not be shared with others),
  3. Review the Lowndes Holdings Corp. application on the website. If you are technically inclined send us your comments at info@stopthequarry.ca,
  4. Host a Community or Street event. We need everyone’s commitment in this fight,
  5. Keep informed by checking the website www.StopTheQuarry.ca ,
  6. Volunteer your time and skills. Fill out a Volunteer form on the website or call FORCE at 905-659-5417,
  7. Send in a commitment cheque if you have not already done so,
  8. Take care of your lawn sign, especially in the winter conditions. . At $5.00 a sign, we all have an investment in them. We’d like to suggest the following steps to keeping your sign in good condition through the winter:

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this successful and positive campaign against the Lowndes Holdings Corp. Quarry.

We are in a for a real fight.... We need to continue to work together…

Together We Will Succeed!


Together We Will Succeed!