Wednesday, December 14, 2011


There were three local environmental issues which brought me out to last night's Committee of the Whole meeting in Woolwich Council Chambers. Also I got to see and chat with former neighbours (West Montrose) and colleagues. Hello again to Les, Nancy & Gerry, Tony and Lynne. The three issues in reverse order of time spent last night are Hawk Ridge Homes, C.H.L. designation for West Montrose and finally the Jigs Hollow Pit (Kuntz).

Hawk Ridge Homes was put off until next Tuesday's Council meeting where it will be discussed further. The Cultural Heritage Landscape designation was passed by the Committee of the Whole and will (probably) be ratified by Council next Tuesday. After that it will go on to Regional Council where hopefully it will also pass. Mayor Cowan commented as to the unique jewel that Woolwich and the Region have with the West Montrose Covered Bridge and how important its' protection is to us.

The Jigs Hollow Pit is what brought out the Delegations last night. It is what the above title is all about. Isabella Price, Karen Bleckert, Laurie Breed, Jan Huisson, Lynne Hare, Gord Haywood and Bill Norris all spoke eloquently and passionately about life in the country atmosphere of Winterbourne and the Conestogo Golf Course subdivision. Comments included concerns around "cancer causing asphalt dust", noise, visual impacts and even the suggestion that a C.H.L. designation for the Winterbourne Bridge/Grand River area was appropriate. The asphalt dust issue is in regards to the Recycling aspect of this proposed pit which would include both asphalt and concrete recycling, in and of itself a good thing. The concerns raised by at least two of the speakers dealt with possible false pretenses by the proponents. The reasonable question that they raised was whether or not this is actually a Below Water Table application masquerading as an Above Water Table application. The other possibilty raised is whether this is actually a large scale recycling operation coming to Winterbourne, masquerading as a gravel pit. Apparently it is very easy after being established to amend the license to become a below water table pit and there are no formal limits on the volume of materials that could be recycled. These concerns are based upon recalculations of the volume of above water table gravel deposits available. These deposits are very small and hence the concerns that something is definitely amiss.

My earlier supposition that Council would fight less vigorously regarding this pit than the West Montrose and Hunder Pit in Conestogo has to be revisited in light of the very strong, informed community opposition.


  1. Interesting, Al, that the crowd for the West Montrose CHL was actually substantially larger than the crowd for the Kuntz noise issue. Mark Bauman expected the room to empty when the Kuntz issue was over, but the majority of the crowd was still there after the break.

  2. Clarification on the sunset clause (time limit) and vertical zoning (depth limit). The Ministry of Natural Resources has issued a very firm position that they will not support sunset clauses, since it might close a pit before the aggregate is mined out. Ridiculous concept in my mind, that an operator can't estimate the life of the pit and then add a generous cushion to cover economic downturns.
    Woolwich and the Region have tried to put allowances for vertical zoning into the Official Plan, but that is also being challenged at OMB.

  3. Thank you for the clarification Tony. Much appreciated.