Wednesday, May 29, 2019


A past lame duck Woolwich Council approved this pit way back around 2010 after Todd Cowan and company had given the boot to most of the idjits on council. One of the lame duck Council's last acts was to give the go ahead to this pit located outside Winterbourne but immediately beside the Grand River. Then several years later we learn that councillor Mark Bauman has a wee undeclared conflict of interest over this issue. It turns out that Ray Kuntz, owner of the gravel pit, is both Mark's neighbour and had coached one of Mark's sons in hockey. From that point on Mark excused himself from debates and voting on the issue although the damage was already done.

Last evening three speakers addressed Woolwich Council yet again on the matter. They were Gordon Haywood, Jan Huisson and Laurie Breed. As both Winterbourne and Conestoga residents (Golf Course Road) rallied against the proposed Hunder Pit they are also trying to stop any below water table expansion of this pit. They opposed it in the first place when it was a proposed above water table pit due to noise, dust, truck traffic, visual impacts and cultural heritage impacts all of which affect their quality of life. The hydrogeological and hydrological impacts to the Grand River are greatly increased with this newer plan to excavate a huge pit below the water table and then allow it to fill with groundwater. I personally have referred to the multitude of gravel pits along the Grand River as being death by a thousand cuts to the river.

Gord Haywood referenced numerous errors and inaccuracies in the various reports supporting this expansion below the water table. Currently Woolwich Township have a holding provision prohibiting this expansion which the current proponents Preston Sand & Gravel would like lifted. Mr. Haywood advised council that the so called signing off by the Region of Waterloo was based upon a flawed older noise study. It did not include screening noises or proper gravel truck noises as the trucks that were modelled were located in Conestoga versus Peel St. (Winterbourne) or Jigs Hollow Rd. Mr. Haywood also indicated that a nearby residence has been improperly labelled as some kind of workshop and hence neither noise or visual impacts have been determined for this residence. Other errors include inaccurate elevation levels marked on various maps that affect berms etc. and will also impact noise levels and visual impacts.

Jan and Laurie Breed spoke to noise and to cultural heritage issues. Clearly the individual decibel levels will be well above the maximum permitted and they will be industrial noises versus natural rural sounds. The reports submitted by the proponent also clearly indicate that there will be negative impacts to numerous nearby designated cultural heritage locations. As was pointed out repeatedly negative impacts are not supposed to be allowed in order to accommodate gravel pits by the Township's own by-laws. This proposed expansion including drag line noise, truck noise and negative visual impacts contravenes the Township's written rules and hence the Township are in a strong position to continue to deny the proponent's wishes.

Interestingly Preston Sand & Gravel have earlier this month filed an appeal against the Township with LPAT (Local Planning Appeals Tribunal). As Mr. Haywood pointed out that was done all of one day after they filed new information with the Township which seems somewhat bizarre.

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