OSSGA Responds To Mayor Seeley’s Update Regarding Aggregate Industry
— November 6, 2019
November 5, 2019
I write to express my concern with the October 2019 article written by Mayor James Seeley on the aggregate industry published in the Puslinch Today. The article is not an accurate portrayal of the industry nor of the changes currently being proposed by the Provincial Government.
First we dispute Mayor Seeley’s assertion that “responsible aggregate extraction should include a
prohibition on below the water table extraction”. This statement perpetuates the myth that aggregate
extraction is harmful to water. Quarries and pits that operate below the water table are required by law to mitigate impacts to nearby sensitive features – such as wells, streams and wetlands. No chemicals are involved in the extraction of processing of aggregate materials. Aggregate is a clean industry.
Further, extracting below the water table allows for a volume of aggregate to be excavated that would
otherwise require disturbing three to four times the area of ground. It is a smart, efficient and safe
practice to deliver close-to-market aggregate to the growing communities of Ontario.
Second, the proposed changes to the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA) will provide the municipalities
more input into an aggregate operation that wants to expand below the water table. The government is
looking at a more rigorous application regime which will include the ‘right to appeal’ – a right
municipalities do not currently have.
The proposed changes would also help clarify which level of government is regulating the depth of
extraction. No one is proposing to relax the rules or remove controls. Everyone agrees the protection of our water resources is paramount. Mayor Seeley writes that Council would “lose the ability to instigate a vertical zoning by-law.” Depth of extraction at a pit or quarry is governed by the ARA – as it has been for decades. The change simply provides clarity with respect to that fact.
Finally, we take exception to the comment that the industry has a track record of “not following site
plans, with no repercussion”. Ontario’s aggregate industry is one of the province’s most
heavily governed industries. Twenty-five different pieces of legislation and literally dozens of
regulations determine where, when and how stone, sand and gravel is extracted. And that’s a good
thing. Our industry wants to work in partnership with communities, to bring the aggregate that we all
use every single day of our lives – to where it’s needed in the most environmentally and economically
Executive Director [email protected]
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to see original letter.