LaFarge proposal approved with clean-up commitment
Clearview council stood its ground with Lafarge, using approvals for a gravel pit in Avening as leverage to get the New Lowell site cleaned up.
At its April 27 meeting, council passed Official Plan and zoning amendments to permit the extraction of aggregate on 200 acres along the 3-4 Sideroad Nottawasaga, an extension to the current Avening Pit, but made it conditional on the clean-up of the New Lowell site.
“What guarantees do we have that the buildings on County Road 9 will be dealt with?” asked Deputy Mayor Barry Burton.
With assurance from Lafarge’s land manager for central Ontario Chris Galway, Burton moved to amend the approval motion to hold Lafarge to a commitment to demolish and remediate the building and area located ta 6372 County Road 9 within four months or upon issuance of a demolition permit if it is issued sooner.
“Lafarge has taken the comments very seriously and has initiated clean up efforts,” said MHBC planner Brian Zeman.
Two years ago, at a public meeting, council asked for a commitment that the site would be cleaned up. Some work has been done but not enough to satisfy councillors, including Thom Paterson, who said he is not impressed with Lafarge’s track record.
“[The condition] is not enough to satisfy all the concerns with Lafarge,” said Paterson.
He and Councillor John Lamers did not support the motion to approve the amendments.
The majority of the existing Avening Pit has been rehabilitated and is currently being used for agricultural and natural heritage areas. There is a small area of aggregate reserves remaining, which represents 1-2 years of extraction.
Subject to approval of the Avening Pit Extension the entire Avening Pit will be rehabilitated with the exception of a small area for processing and shipping resources from the Avening Pit Extension to the existing entrance/ exit at the Avening Pit.
The new license will allow for the recovery of an additional 4 million tonnes of high quality aggregate resource. The aggregate at the Avening Pit extension will be removed in phases over 20 years with the site being progressively rehabilitated in a “timely fashion.” (Most of the land will be restored to Class 5 with the exception of the Phase 2 area, which will have a subsoil and topsoil added to a combined depth of one metre restoring it to Class 2 and 3 soils.)
The pit will be accessed by the existing entranceway off Centre Line Road and the haul route would not change.
During the public participation session at the start of Monday’s meeting, Donna Baylis, Executive Director for the Food and Water First, said “We, the people behind Food and Water First, learned first hand the need to protect farmland and source water from short-term thinking,” referencing the mega-quarry fight in Melancthon.
“Today it is an unfortunate reality that decades of good decision-making – decisions that force us to think about the future – are being wiped out with the stroke of a pen.”
She said Ontario is losing the equivalent of 175 acres of agricultural land to development every day and Ontario will lose two million acres of farmland by the year 2050.
“Yet the world’s population is expected to increase by another 1.5 billion people by that time; 5 million more people in Ontario. Yes, we need to house this growing population, but we also need to feed them,” said Baylis.