The Highland Companies has confirmed that the vast majority of the proposed licence area is the situs of Honeywood Loam soils, which is soil of the highest quality conducive to the farming of potato and other crops that prosper in the area of Melancthon Township where the Highland has its land holdings. These are Class 1 agricultural soils, the highest class of agricultural soils.
NDACT made an application to designate a portion of the lands in Melancthon Township, that include the subject lands among others, as Specialty Crop to recognize the importance of these soils as well as the agricultural activities and infrastructure historically in place for this area of Dufferin County.
The area contains approximately 15,000 acres of contiguous Class 1 agricultural land that is planted and harvested primarily for potato crop. The Highland application would remove approximately 15% of this area from agricultural production forever (note: we use the term forever since the applicant will not be able to substantiate its claim that it can rehabilitate its 235 foot deep crater to similar agriculture. In fact, the applicant has only represented that the land would, after so called rehabilitation, be suitable for “hardy crops” whatever those may be – but if the agriculture were to be similar, as they claim, then there would be no need for a reference to a category of hardy crops).
The impact and loss will not only extend to the 2,316 acre proposed quarry area, but also to additional quarries that would thereafter propagate on adjacent lands including the some other 4,500 plus acres owned or controlled by the applicant. In addition, the redirection of water, the production of dust and other particulates from the quarry operation and other impacts from the quarry operations could have a deleterious effect on abutting or nearby farming operations.