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Ridge Road aggregate pit concerns back to council Tuesday

UPDATE: Following several deputations, council spoke to majority concerns about water and passed the motion, with direction that regular, ongoing monitoring of the water table, via data logging, be part of the adaptive management plan.

“If we step on MNR’s jurisdiction, we have no authority, so rather than having it struck down completely, I think suggestion to let the Greers take the direction and champion it with MNR,” said Acting CAO Robert McAuley, noting that when they come back with a plan, council can test that plan’s merits when it’s asked to lift the ‘H’ (holding) symbol if it is satisfied.

SEPT. 9 – A half dozen County residents have scheduled deputations at Tuesday night’s council meeting to express concerns about turning part of an asparagus farm property on Ridge Road into a sand and gravel pit.

At the Aug. 21 planning meeting, a recommendation of approval from staff was deferred to the Sept. 10 council meeting to allow the public time to review documents and to receive a staff follow-up report.

Owners Sandi and Paul Greer applied to rezone and re-designate the land known as Greenridge Farm Pit at 1002 Ridge Road.

They propose to redesignate the land to aggregate – permitting extraction of a maximum of 20,000 tonnes of sand and gravel materials above the water table. It is currently designated prime agricultural and is used primarily to grow asparagus.

Paul Greer told council in August the pit is needed in the County due to the amount of construction in the works for new housing and the shortage of sand available for use in the County.

Builder Peter Sage agreed reiterating the need for the sand the quarry would produce and the job creation associated with building. He also linked the housing crisis to his need to hire another 10 more staff members he has not been able to due to lack of housing and high rents.

Recommendations in the staff report to be presented Tuesday remain the same as presented in August with minor changes in response to comments regarding setbacks and water table observation pits. If approved it would be regulated by the Ministry of Natural Resources under the Aggregate Resources Act.

Several deputants with concerns plan to return to the meeting.

Warings Creek raised concerns regarding potential cumulative impact that an additional aggregate pit would have have on the creek, including groundwater, wildlife and the broader ecosystem.

Joanne Tammel, also a Ridge Road resident and vice-president of the Waring Creek Improvement Association has another deputation for council Tuesday night.

John McKinnon, a neighbour to the farm, also plans to return to council. Adding to water and environmental concerns, he plans to speak to the rush to make a decision, the need for more information and a lack of communication.

They also still have questions about the plan to rehabilitate the land back to asparagus, a requirement of an aggregate licence.

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  1. Emily says:

    Fundamentally with the Countys sense of place in the Official Plan, turning a 35 acre asparagus farm on prime ag into a sand and gravel pit, is not only at odds it makes many uncomfortable. This is a shocking decision but sets precedent for future propsals on prime ag land. The door is now wide open.

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    Our council is in the building mode – so they are anxious to approve applications – apparently for the need of tax dollars. At one time, our council was very hesitant in approving applications that would see farmland used for any other purpose – they leaned on the “Provincial Land Use Policy” as their guide. I’m not sure if this policy is still active or not, but it may be worthwhile for the residents to find out. But let’s be clear, this quarry operation could very well impact on surrounding wells and it would be dishonest for anyone to pretend that there is not a huge risk for this to happen. Once it does, the residents have no recourse – it will be up to them to “prove” that they lost water because of the quarry – next to impossible! In council’s haste to approve this application, they could be leaving future councils and taxpayers to deal with the fall-out. Meaning that in the long run, more tax dollars could be spent on the “fix”, than ever gained through this application. Council needs to slow this down and to take an in depth look into the impact on surrounding homes and what is the potential cost for future taxpayers.

  3. Argyle says:

    Apparently the aggregates will be bigger money maker than asparagus……….seems that this was the plan all along……….

  4. Gary says:

    What is the difference of allowing a 35 acre prime agriculture property becoming a sand gravel pit and allowing 12 new homes on prime ag?

  5. Gary says:

    Oppose wind turbines but support a quarry in a sensitive watershed on aggricultural land. Things that make you say hmmmmm!

  6. Fred says:

    Council has approved a sand and gravel pit on a former agricultural asparagus farm,

  7. RON WASLENKO says:

    This is going to turn into a disaster and nothing will be able to fix it once the ground water and table are adversely affected. I will be on the heads on this council who made the horrible decision to approve it.

    Do they have guarantees from experts it will work, absolute ones. As prime agricultural land which becomes lost its a double loss and when wells go dry and remain so, then what?

  8. Michelle says:

    The first sand pit on Ridge Rd on the right heading west is completely flooded. That’s not runoff, it is groundwater. It depletes wells and sucks like a sponge. Nature did not develop underground water sources expecting this type of excavation. Digging huge holes into our aquifars is a recipe for disaster. When does common sense prevail?

  9. Susan says:

    The County purchased a sand pit on Ridge Rd from a former Councilor a few years back for a nice piece of change. That was then to supply sand for many years. How many sand pits on Ridge Rd is enough? The water table is the key debate here.

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