Friday, May 31, 2019


The pit that just won't go away. Today's Woolwich Observer carries it as their front page story titled "Legal battle latest twist to gravel pit". The sub-title is "Winterbourne valley residents turn out to urge councillors to fight LPAT appeal by applicant". Besides Preston Sand & Gravel looking for permission to dig below the water table they also want to more than double the amount of aggregate extracted from the pit namely from 800,000 tonnes to 2.1 million tonnes. The timeline of the pit would also increase from six or seven years to fourteen plus years and rather than allegedly rehabilitating the site back to farmland, a large pond would remain on the site.

New studies have been produced by the proponents however as often seems the case these studies are problematic. They have errors within them including according to peer reviews done on behalf of Woolwich Township the noise, dust, and visual impact studies.All of this appears headed towards LPAT, the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, which replaced the long discredited Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

This is unfortunate however aggregate producers have had essentially a clear path to do what they want in Ontario for a very long time. One rare exception was the proposed Hunder Pit between Winterbourne and Conestogo a few years back. I attended that hearing and frankly was convinced that the proponent had a strong case (as did the local residents) and was going to walk away with OMB approval. He did not. Can lightning strike twice?

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