North / South America
Minister asked to cancel gravel pit licence
Oct, 19 2012
(Paris, France) -- Brant County council wants Natural Resources Minister Michael Gravelle to revoke the licence given to Dufferin Aggregates Ltd. 38 years ago to open a gravel pit north of Paris.
This week, council overwhelmingly approved a resolution from councillors John Wheat and Steve Schmitt, asking Gravelle to cancel the licence it was given in 1974 but is only acting on now.
The resolution also asks Gravelle to force Dufferin to file a new application for a licence if it still wants to extract gravel from its site of more than 600 acres along Watts Pond Road.
Gravelle earlier rejected a request from the county to review the licence, saying there is no provision in the Aggregate Resources Act to do that.
This week's resolution stemmed from a request by the Concerned Citizens of Brant. Coun. Brian Coleman was the lone dissenter.
Coleman said in an interview that he voted against the motion because he believes that Dufferin must work to the latest provincial regulations to open and operate the pit, even though its licence is 38 years old.
"That's the way it was with me," said the dairy producer.
"I started shipping out milk in 1971 under the regulations that existed then, but I had to keep following new regulations to stay in business."
Concerning Dufferin's Paris pit, "we as the county must see that the water is protected and the roads are done right if this pit goes forward," Coleman added.
"But now that council has decided to try to get the licence revoked, I'll go with that. That's now our position. We have to operate as a team."
The citizens' group was ecstatic about council's support.
"It's awesome," said Sandra Parsons, who co-chairs the group with Ron Norris.
"It gives unity and it sends a message."
Norris said that the vote shows that the county is solidly behind the wishes of citizens to stop Dufferin's drive to open its pit.
"The county is not asking for it to be reviewed any more," he said. "They want it to be cancelled."
Parsons also said the group is going to keep pushing to have aggregate extraction inserted as a threat to ground water in the regulations of a source water source protection strategy.
The committee writing the strategy had tried to have it included, but was ordered by the Ministry of the Environment officials to remove it.
Concerned about Dufferin's plan to extract below the water table near a municipal well system, the citizen group showed up at a public meeting for the strategy to push to have extraction put back in as a threat, but were told that the committee had to follow the ministry's directive.
"The community is going to have more to say about this," said Parsons.
"It speaks volumes about how important this issue is to this community."
Eddy lauded the group for its persistence in opposing the licence.
"You are the conscience of the community," he said Saturday at a public meeting organized by the group following a pots-and-pans protest through downtown Paris to gain attention to its cause.
"Thank you for what you are doing."
By: Michael-Allan Marion
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