Lafarge applying to expand Avening quarry

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A public meeting was held in Avening Tuesday night to provide information about a proposed expansion to Lafarge’s Avening Pit.

Lafarge is in the process of applying for an Aggregate Resources Act licence to extract gravel from the new pit. An application for amendments to Clearview Township’s Official Plan and zoning bylaw is also in the works for January, said Lafarge’s land manager for central Ontario Chris Galway, but it could be up to five years before the expansion takes place, if all goes according to plan.

The proposed new 200-acre pit, referred to as the Oster Pit, is located along the 3/4 Sideroad Nottawasaga, east of Airport Road.

The pit would be accessed by the exiting entranceway off Centre Line Road and the haul route would not change.

As with the existing Avening Pit, Galway said the remediation plan includes returning the land to farm fields once the aggregate is extracted, which is to be done in five phases. Lafarge is applying to extract a maximum of 450,000 tonnes per year, the amount currently extracted from the Avening Pit, which will be fully extracted in about two years. Lafarge says there will be no additional truck traffic beyond what is currently used. Ninety per cent of the aggregate is located below the water table, the depth ranges from two to five metres.

Environmental consultants from Golder Associates were on hand at the Nov. 22 information session to explain that there will be a comprehensive well monitoring system in place to monitor the effect on ground water and area wells. Lafarge would have a plan in place to make sure people have safe drinking water should the quarry affect wells, said Galway.

He also said that they would take extra steps to enhance the drainage course on the property, planting trees to provide shade in order to keep water temperatures from rising, creating fish habitat and wetlands for amphibians, all feeding into the Mad River.

Galway said no chemicals are used in the extraction process – the aggregate is removed and crushed on site and then shipped.

Lafarge took over the Avening Pit in 1999 but it was in operation for about a decade before that. The Avening Pit is on land owned by Avening farmer Jack Stephens but the Oster Pit is proposed on land owned by Lafarge.

Comments are being accepted until Dec. 12 to [email protected] and [email protected]

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