Happy New Year everyone. I truly hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. It is always my pleasure to provides updates to the Community that I care so deeply for.
I am very excited to welcome Sara Bailey as our new Puslinch Councillor for the remainder of the 2018-2022 term. Please give Councillor Bailey a warm welcome.
Also I would like to acknowledge the other 13 candidates that were part of the process. Determining one single individual from 14 very qualified applicants was not an easy task for Council. Thank you to each and every one of you for taking time to participate in the Councillor appointment process.
2020 is going to be an interesting year. We have the reforms to the Aggregate Resource Act looming.
It must be noted that Council has been very supportive of me. Learning the history of aggregate operations, the Aggregate Resource Act and the planning/zoning process has been daunting, but made much easier by the support of staff and Council. The team has their lens on this issue and it may seem as the updates come from me, be assured all members of council and staff are engaged on this important issue.
During the last quarter of 2019 it is important to note that we engaged the local Aggregate industry as well as the senior policy advisors at the Ministry of Natural resources in regards to the proposed changes to the Aggregate Resource Act.
The first teleconference was with myself, Councillor Bulmer and our interim CAO Pat Moyle. During this meeting with Jake Sikora we discussed with him the possible unintended consequences of the proposed changes. Mr. Sikora recommend we speak to individuals dealing with the new zoning recommendations to get more clarity in respects to vertical zoning concerns. The hour long conference call was productive and built a relation ship with the Ministry.
It was Mr.Sikora’s opinion that we contact Pauline Desroches , Manager, Resource Development, which again Pat Moyle, Councillor Bulmer and myself held a teleconference lasting approximately an hour. It is important to note that it appears as the Ministry is continuing to value our input on the Aggregate Resource Act proposed changes which include the changes to the haul routes and the removal of the vertical zoning. We believe that if as a Township that we are continually at the “table” to provide some influence on these proposed changes, that is a win.
As well as the teleconference, we met with representatives of the Ontario Sand, Stone and Gravel Association. This meeting was very productive and encouraging. Items discussed were a Minor amendment to the Aggregate Resource ACT, (which the industry is not required to notify the Municipality), pit rehabilitation within Puslinch for the Dufferin pits. I believe everyone left the meeting with a sense of accomplishment in progress on rehabilitation plans along with relationship improvements between the Municipality and Industry.
It is important to note that the Municipality never had vertical zoning for Aggregate. Under the Provincial Policy Statement Municipalities had rights to three dimensional zoning, this is what is being amended and removed.
Proposed amendments to haul routes include removing a requirement to an agreed route. This topic is complicated as some transit Municipalities (pit is not located within their Municipal boundaries) have one set of concerns.
Our concern, without a haul route agreement, does the industry/province expect all possible routes to be maintained to haul route specifications? This is not affordable to Puslinch. Pat Moyle had a great recommendation. Haul routes should be part of the planning process similar to a plan of subdivision where traffic studies are required. This is where our continued engagement with MNRF staff is vital.
Right now Council’s focus is on the upcoming Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference, known as ROMA. This conference Council has requested delegations to the following Ministries.
- Ministry of Natural Resources: Aggregate reforms/aggregate levy
- Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing: Rural Growth and Employment lands
- Ministry of Transportation: Highway 6 by-pass/ Halton Truck Inspection Station
- Ministry of Environment: Standardization of water taking permits across all industries
- Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Culture and Tourism: Grant applications for sport field improvements
All of the above delegations are important to our community. I look forward to the opportunity to meet with representatives and discuss our concerns.