Wednesday, June 13, 2012
ELMIRA BIOGAS PLANT and WINTERBOURNE/CONESTOGO GRAVEL PIT
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story on the front page of their local section "Biogas plant opponents head to mediation". Several interesting items are mentioned such as the plant is expected to produce enough electricity to power 2,200 homes. That is almost the only plus in the whole operation. Mediation issues today will include details about the community liason committee to be formed as well as obviously noise, odour and traffic matters. Mayor Todd Cowan publicly is advising and hoping that a relocation of the Biogas plant, north of Elmira, is still a possibility. Proponent Chuck Martin's comments do not sound particularily optimistic regarding that proposal. Hearings by the Environmental Review Tribunal are scheduled to start on June 29/12 and continue until August 17/12.
I was somewhat surprised when I showed up at Woolwich Committee of the Whole last evening to find that there was a Delegation speaking regarding the Jigs Hollow Pit/Kuntz Pit. Both Lynne Hare and Jan Huisson have spoken to Council and Committee of the Whole before and if I had seen them on the township's on-line Agenda I would have shown up just for that alone. On their overhead screen I noticed the name "Friends of the Winterbourne Valley". This is an excellent name and signifys the magnitude and significance this relatively small proposed gravel pit will have visually, culturally, and environmentally . Each and every time they have spoken to Council they have raised new and different issues with this pit. Last night dealt with both the math surrounding the volume of earth etc. required to provide noise berms as well as major issues dealing with the recycling of concrete and asphalt. This proposed recycling seems to have been given short shrift in all the studies done to date. There are concerns that large pieces of concrete will be broken up outside of the processing bermed area which will create both noise as well as dust. Regarding the math and the noise berms it seems as if so called "progressive rehabillatation" is very unlikely . All in all the Fiends of the Winterbourne Valley are pointing out major issues which have not been previously examined or dealt with. Furthermore it is becoming clearer that the small amount of gravel being removed from beside the Grand River is coming at an enormous cost to the environment as well as the nearby residents. The whole recycling operation is raising red flags as well it should.