Friday, January 18, 2013

"No choice but to approve quarry" : Mayor

This is taken from an article by Brendan Wedley of the Peterborough Examiner.

Municipalities can’t block the development of quarries, Galway-Cavendish and Harvey Mayor Janet Clarkson maintained Wednesday after township council gave planning approvals for a controversial new 432-acre quarry the day before.

The issue has galvanized the community with one meeting on the project drawing an estimated 500 people.

Even with council’s approval of official plan and zoning bylaw amendments Tuesday, there are more approvals needed before Dewdney Mountain Farms Ltd. can start its quarry on Ledge Rd. about 15 kilometres northwest of Buckhorn.

Galway-Cavendish and Harvey council will need to lift a hold that it put on the zoning change to give the township and developer time to negotiate over improvements to Ledge Rd. that it argues is needed to handle trucks carrying aggregate from the quarry. And the official plan amendment will be considered by Peterborough County council.

When the approvals are in place, the provincial government will consider whether to issue an operating licence for the proposed quarry.

With about 35 quarries in the township, the municipality’s roads are being battered by the trucks carrying aggregate from the pits, Clarkson said.

“The provincial government has said ‘there will be quarries,’” the mayor said. “Our roads are being destroyed, but at the end of the day our provincial government is pulling the strings.”

Clarkson voted in favour of the planning applications for the quarry, but she argues council decided it didn’t have a choice on the matter after it discussed the issue with a lawyer and its professional planners. “It looks like the municipalities are making these decisions. These decisions are being mandated by the province,” she insisted. And there are more applications being prepared by developers for other quarries in the township, Clarkson added. “We’ve got too many,” she said. “There’s many more on the way.”

Groups such as the North Pigeon Lake Ratepayers’ Association and Stop the Quarry have lobbied against the project, citing concerns such as traffic, noise from blasting and the need to protect water sources.

Dewdney Mountain Farms Ltd. had several studies done to support its applications, including hydrogeology, noise, blasting impact, traffic impact, archeological and natural environment reviews. Those studies were peer reviewed by other professionals.

Adri Eastman, who lives on Ledge Rd., remains concerned about the quarry possibly affecting her well water and a nearby fish sanctuary. "We tried to talk with (council). We tried to reason with them. We’ve been giving them information,” she said. “They did have the opportunity to turn it down if they wanted to.”Eastman shared that she and her husband built their house in 2010 on a quiet country road. “I’m less than two kilometres from the quarry,” she said. “I built on a dead-end road thinking that I wasn’t going to have any neighbors out in the middle of nowhere.” Eastman tried to block the project by appealing a severance application to the Ontario Municipal Board in November. The quasi-judicial body decided in favour of the severance application last month.

After the expense of the first Ontario Municipal Board appeal, Eastman’s not sure if she’ll appeal the most recent decisions on the project. The Stop the Quarry group is going to discuss the option and possible fundraising for an appeal.

Clarkson commented she’s sure the item is destined to go to the Ontario Municipal Board, whether was from the company appealing against council’s rejection of the applications or in the current scenario the residents appealing council’s approval of the applications.

“It’s way better if it goes on their dollars than on ours,” she said.

No comments: