Tuesday, December 13, 2011


There were two very interesting conditions imposed on last November's Council approval in principle of the Jigs Hollow Pit. Firstly it had a sunset clause, specifically fifteen years. Believe me that is a breakthrough. Far too many pits have an "estimated" lifespan of ten to twenty years and the reality is that the owners simply slow down extraction near the end in order to keep the pit "open" and available for occasional extraction and loads. The other important condition was "vertical zoning". This means that there must be a maximum depth of extraction stipulated, often a depth which is above the water table. This also is a breakthrough and an excellent idea environmentally.

A peer review of the Visual Impact Assessment (VIA) done by the proponent has been completed. This peer review identifies a number of areas in the original VIA which are deficient. It includes visual impacts from numerous other homes as well as views from the Historic Driving Tour which is a regular tourist attraction promoted by the Region of Waterloo. Also visual impacts as seen from the Winterbourne Bridge were not adequately addressed. Overall I'm a little surprised by these visual impact issues. In my wee mind I would have thought that yes visual impacts are annoying and indeed would lessen property values and aesthetics for nearby residents. My understanding of the Aggregates Act however is that even significant visual and aesthetic values are completely discounted and undervalued. I would have thought that the repeated siting of gravel pits right along the Grand River and hence the removal of the filtering action of sand and gravel on the quality of groundwater discharging to the surface water of the river, would be the main issue. Apparently not. Thus I guess if one more neverending gravel pit is proposed, then those negatively affected must fight it with whatever tools are available.

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