Overview

In 2011,  The Highland Companies, filed an application with the province for the largest quarry in Canadian history on the best farmland in Ontario and at the headwaters of five river systems. The mega Quarry would have sprawled across 2,316 acres and would have plunged 200 feet below the water table on a 15,000 acre plateau of Class 1 farmland. The massive open-pit limestone quarry would have put rare agricultural soil and precious water resources at risk in Melancthon Township. A large and diverse group of rural and urban residents launched a Stop the Mega Quarry movement. It was a success.

 

On November 21, 2012, The Highland Companies announced it was withdrawing its Mega Quarry application and plans for a rail corridor through Dufferin County to Owen Sound. However, the fate of the land and water was unknown. Highland Companies still owned 6,500 acres of Class 1 farmland and could re-apply at any time.

 

Then on July 16, 2013, Bonnefield Financial, an investment firm specializing in acquiring farmland, bought all of Highland's land. Bonnefield's president, Tom Eisenhauser, announced the fields will continue to be farmed. After many years of uncertainty, it seems the best agricultural soil in the province and its bounty are safe for the time being.

While the Melancthon fields may be secure, Ontario's prime farmland and source water regions remain vulnerable. The present Provincial Policy Statement and Aggregate Resources Act still allow non-farming development on land and water that sustain us. Until legislation is changed, these vital resources are still at risk.

agrifood


We must now ensure that our source waters and prime agricultural lands are protected, and not at risk of being destroyed.....thus the beginning of our:

Food & Water First campaign, round 2 of 2.

Supporter Questions ARA Committee about Selecting Groups and Individuals for Hearing Presentations

In a letter to the Standing Committe on General Government, dated July 9, 2012, supporter, Helen Purdy raise good points about the selection of individuals and groups selected to speak at the Hearings.

To read her entire letter, click here.

I am very concerned that other individuals like myself and certain public groups have been selectively turned away for some unknown and possibly questionable reasons. I require specific information at this point in time from the Legislative Services Division, Committee Branch so that I have factual information about the process that was followed and those involved in choosing presenters to appear at the public sessions held for the Review of the Aggregate Resources Act.

I also request information about the process that was followed and those involved in the choice of sites that the Committee has visited or will be visiting on its 4 fact-finding excursions. Even the Township of Woolwich raised concerns about the “narrow scope” of the sites legislators visited on the morning of July 9, 2012 (See Waterloo Region Record Article, July10, 2012 “MPPS Get Earful in Review of Gravel Pit Law, Committee Toured Local Gravel Sites”).

 

I would appreciate your response in a timely and forthcoming manner to the following requests for information:

 

  1. Exactly how many requests were made in total by public groups and individuals to make oral presentations?

  2. Exactly how many requests were made in total by municipalities and government agencies to make oral presentations?

  3. Exactly how many requests were made in total by the aggregate industry and other individuals and groups associated with the aggregate industry to make oral presentations?

  4. What was the process followed and the names of those involved in the choice of sites that the Committee visited or shall visit?

  5. What sites have been visited or will be visited and the dates when these visits occurred or will occur.

  6. Which oral presenters were involved with the site visits for the hearing sessions, either directly or indirectly?

  7. Did the Minister of Natural Resources or MNR staff have any knowledge and/or input as to the selection of presenters for each hearing session, either directly or indirectly?

  8. Did the Ministry of Natural Resources have any knowledge and/or input as to the selection and location of site visits, either directly or indirectly?

  9. Did the Ontario, Sand, Stone and Gravel Association (OSSGA) have any knowledge and/or input as to the selection of presenters for each hearing session, either directly or indirectly?

  10. Did the Ontario, Sand, Stone and Gravel Association (OSSGA) have any knowledge and/or input as to the selection and location of site visits, either directly of indirectly?

 

To read correspondence between Helen and Clerk of the Standing Committe of General Government, click here.

Helen was told by Clerk that she would be speaking in the Kitchener Waterloo Hearing but was turned down.