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NEWS: Brant County fights proposed gravel pit

The Brantford (Ontario) Expositor has begun reporting this month on a plan by Dufferin Aggregates to start a 614-acre gravel pit operation on farmland north of nearby Paris this spring.

Remarkably, the license for this gravel pit was granted 38 years ago. Not surprisingly, water related issues are being highlighted.

Paul Cheney, co-chairman of the newly-formed Concerned Citizens of Brant County, says that the gravel would be hauled by trucks on Watts Pond Road, which is located in an environmentally sensitive area.

Councillor Don Cardy, who represents a Paris ward, has expressed concern about the pit’s potential impact on waterways and groundwater. He says, “If having that pit is going to undermine those in any way, that concerns me.”

And Councillor Steve Schmitt, who represents the directly affected area, says, “Back then (when the approval was given in 1974), we didn’t have wellhead protection, now we do and we are working on source water protection. That alone shows we should be taking a new look at the license.”

What can be done?

Councillor John Wheat has said, “Council has no control over what Dufferin wants to do. What we’re trying to do is influence the government.”

County solicitor Andrew Wright has advised council, “The Minister of Natural Resources has the discretion to amend, vary or rescind a condition of the license. If the minister proposes to add a condition to a license after its issuance, or to rescind or to vary an existing condition, notification is given to the licensee.”

The newspaper has also reported on “a public rally (that was recently) mounted by newly formed Concerned Citizens of Brant. …Most members of council were present at the rally at the Paris Fairgrounds, urging about 150 people to make their case as loud as possible to persuade the provincial government to get the Ministry of Natural Resources to reopen the unpopular license and submit it to a review.”

“The county has written to five provincial ministers stating the municipality’s concerns about allowing a company to proceed with a license granted so long ago that will let them open a 614-acre pit on Watts Pond Road.”

Concerned Citizens of Brant County co-chair Ron Norris says to counter the gravel pit the Clean Water Act is in place and source water protection strategies are close to being finalized.

This situation has just come to the attention of the Council of Canadians and we are now looking into it.

For the two articles by Michael-Allan Marion, please go to http://www.parisstaronline.com/2012/04/09/pit-foes-mount-loud-rally and http://www.parisstaronline.com/2012/04/02/citizens-rally-to-fight-proposed-paris-pit.