Quinte West – Southfork Aggregates to apply for gravel pit permit

Quinte West – Southfork Aggregates to apply for gravel pit permit (Canada) – Bryan Shipp, general manager of Southfork Aggregates, says his company will be applying for a permit in November for a limestone quarry in Murray Ward.”The process takes between 18 months and three years,” he says. “We have to apply to the Planning Department and through the Ministry of Natural Resources.”Shipp says this is the first time the company has had to apply for a permit to start a gravel pit. They have worked on several pits but all were already open.”We understand there will be arguments against it,” he says. “It’s like a garbage dump. Nobody wants one in their backyard, but we have to have them.” He says gravel makes up 95 per cent of the concrete in roads. “Gravel is a provincial priority,” he says.Shipp plans to attend public meetings and try to answer any questions.”We will talk to the people and present the facts,” he said. “We don’t want to hide anything.”He notes that if the application is denied by the city, the company is prepared to take it to an impartial Ontario Municipal Board hearing.Here are some of the facts presented by Southfork Aggregates.Southfork is locally owned and operated, with a head office on Loyalist Wallbridge Road in Quinte West. The focus of the business is the production and distribution of sand and gravel. It employs about 55 people. It also has an operating gravel pit north of Frankford and north of Cobourg. The company produces sand and gravel for use in the production of concrete and asphalt, as well as for road construction, playgrounds, flat roofing systems and landscaping. Southfork has a fleet of 11 dump trucks.The quarry to be licensed is located at 98 Miron Road, 600 metres east of Wooler Road north of Highway 401. The quarry was first mined about 50 years ago and material used in the construction of Wooler Road. It was again mined in 1980-1981 for a local construction project. When licensed it will be the only limestone quarry in Quinte West. All limestone used in Quinte West is brought in from Belleville or Prince Edward County. Because limestone contains 100 per cent fractured stone particles, it is better for engineering than gravel which contains rounded particles.”The property has been identified by the province as an aggregate reserve and has been mapped and zoned by the municipality,” Shipp states.Material from this quarry will be used primarily within Quinte West for roads, driveways, parking lots, shorelines and landscaping projects, both for the private and public sectors.Shipp points out that all limestone quarries within the region that can supply Quinte West are owned by one firm, Lafarge Construction Materials, a company based in France.”Quinte West will realize an increase in taxation revenue once the property is licensed as a quarry,” Shipp says. “The city will receive a per tonne royalty as legislated by the Aggregate Resources Act.”A study was commissioned to design a blasting pattern that will allow the rock to be mined without exceeding the provincial limits for ground vibration and over pressure. All blasts will be monitored to ensure compliance. The provincial limits are set and enforced by the Ministry of Environment and are among the most stringent in North America.”Typically, residents near the quarry will feel a very slight, if at all, vibration in the ground,” Shipp says. “Residents are more likely to hear the blast, which sounds not unlike the rumble of distant thunder.”Farm animals such as cattle, exhibit no effects from blasting operations, he adds. Residents in the area of the quarry will be notified prior to each blast if they wish.A pre blast survey will be done for all residents in the vicinity of the quarry. This entails inspecting the house for existing cracks on exterior and interior walls and foundations. This allows an engineer to determine the cause of any future cracks, be they the result of normal settlement, structural engineering deficiency, pre-existing condition or damage from quarry operations.This quarry has been designed so that groundwater is not pumped out, Shipp notes. Residents concerned about their water will be asked to allow monitoring devices to be installed on their wells.Trucks do contribute to airborne pollution, as do cars, Shipp admits. However, because this quarry is closer to the intended market, there will be a shorter haul and fewer trucks.Quarries and gravel pits are considered to be temporary land uses. The land will be restored to agricultural uses after the mining is complete. During the operating period of the quarry there will be an impact on wildlife habitat in the immediate area being mined. Wildlife will still transit the property and they tend to remain in the immediate vicinity.Trees on the site will be removed as mining progresses. All topsoil from the site is retained in storage piles for later use in rehabilitation.”It has been our experience that deer, raccoons, rabbits, birds, etc. are common within operating quarries and gravel pits,” Shipp adds.The quarries of today are engineered to have the least impact possible on surrounding lands and residents, Shipp says. Municipal politicians and provincial agencies are mandated to balance the needs of society against those of the individual, be that a corporate entity or a resident. “Unfortunately, the aggregate industry has to mine rock and gravel where it exists in the natural environment,” Shipp says. “In this case it means that the residents of Miron Road live in an area that contains a limestone deposit, a deposit that will serve the greater good of all residents of Quinte West.” By Kate Everson

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