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Barlow speaks at Wastewise public forum, challenges Hidden Quarry in Rockwood

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow spoke about water sustainability and water piracy in Georgetown this evening.

The outreach for the public forum noted, “In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Wastewise has invited Maude Barlow to speak. She is a political activist, author, policy critic and outspoken crusader for Canada and a long-time defender of Canada’s water. Wastewise is a vibrant community organization known throughout the region for its busy Georgetown store featuring recycled and re-usable items. For the past three years Wastewise has made an annual donation to CRC [the Concerned Residents Coalition], recognizing our shared concern for a sustainable planet. CRC is working to protect our water and the moraine recharge area into which the Hidden Quarry may be blasted!”

Guelph/Eramosa Township explains, “In 2012, James Dick Construction Ltd. submitted an application to Guelph/Eramosa Township to re-zone a 100-acre parcel of land near Rockwood in order to permit a quarry. The proposed quarry is identified as ‘Category 2’, meaning extraction of minerals would be made above and below the ground water table at a rate of 700,000 tonnes of aggregate material annually from the site located northeast of Highway 7 and the 6th Line.”

The company is seeking to rezone the lands from greenlands/ core greenlands/ agricultural designation to industrial (extractive) to allow for a gravel and sand pit, as well as a dolomite quarry. Dolomite is used as a road base material, for railroad ballast, and as an aggregate in concrete used to construct bridges, airport runways and skyscrapers.

In September 2016, CBC reported, “The company wants to excavate 700,000 tonnes of dolomite, a material that the company says it would extract over a period of 17 years using a controversial blasting technology that environmentalists say threatens local groundwater and would disrupt wildlife. …Water quantity and quality is the biggest concern, with the CRC claiming the controversial blasting technology being used by the company will disrupt the water table and has the potential to drain wells upstream from the quarry site as well as threaten the quality of local water.”

A petition opposing the Hidden Quarry Rockwood Application highlights, “Peer review of the applicant’s submissions for re-zoning of the proposed site to permit quarry operations by R. J. Burnside & Associates has raised significant concerns about the impact of below-water-table blasting on fragile rock and groundwater resources, which feed wells in the area of the site in Guelph-Eramosa and downstream watercourses in Nassagaweya. The applicant’s operation of the Dolime Quarry in Guelph has resulted in fracture of the aquitard by blasting and resulting contamination of groundwater.”

Local residents are calling on Guelph Eramosa Township and Wellington County to 1) reject the application to re-zone the proposed quarry site from Agricultural to Industrial/Aggregate Extraction, and 2) reject the application for a quarry operations licence under the Aggregate Resources Act.

This evening’s public forum was organized by by Wastewise of Halton Hills and Wellington Water Watchers.