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Tractor convoy in Melancthon Township to oppose proposed mega quarry

Council of Canadians campaigns and communications administrative assistant Melissa Dick writes:

Tractor convoy travelling through Primrose, ON

Yesterday, approximately 20 tractors and other vehicles wielding signs reading “Stop the Mega Quarry”  cruised from Primrose, ON, to the site of the proposed mega quarry in Melancthon Township, ON. Veterans, students, families, farmers, and individuals living in the Melancthon Township and surrounding area joined the tractor convoy and their message was loud and clear: They want to protect their water and their farmland from the environmental destruction associated with a mega quarry. With a proposed size spanning over 2,300 acres, the quarry would be deeper than Niagara Falls and would disrupt source water for more than 1 million Canadians and require dewatering of 600,000,000 litres per day.

Tractor Canada team at the tractor rally

The tractor convoy was humbly joined by Professor John Varty and his small team from the Tractor Canada project. The purpose of this project is to visit farms from Charlottetown to Vancouver by tractor to produce a documentary film about the state and condition of farming in Canada. Dr. Varty said it was a no-brainer for his team to participate in the tractor convoy against the mega quarry yesterday in the Melancthon Township. While speaking to local media before the beginning of the convoy, Dr. Varty raised important points in regards to the need for a conversation about farming and agriculture in Canada and applauded the residents of the Melancthon Township and surrounding area for their tenacity and perseverance in fighting against the proposed mega quarry.

Passing through the region yesterday, I was able to visit the gathering point for the tractor convoy and spoke to some of the concerned residents and members of NDACT (North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce) who have been diligently rallying against this issue since the Highland Companies applied for the limestone quarry in early 2010. They have successfully raised awareness about the issue through media, calls to action, residential signage, political rallying, and, of course, the recent tractor convoy. However, as Dave Vander Zaag, a local potato farmer and member of NDACT who owns land adjacent to the proposed mega quarry site, told me, “There is still a lot of work to do.”

Melissa Dick and Vander Zaag family and friends at the tractor rally

NDACT is working to raise the issue on the political landscape with the Ontario provincial elections on the horizon (October 6). They are encouraging Ontario residents to ask candidates for their stance on the quarry issue and to demand for an environmental assessment of the project. Mr. Vander Zaag commented on the current political stance on the issue, in which some political authorities such as the Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, seem to remain neutral on the issue: “We have to encourage our leaders to lead.”

To follow blog updates on the mega quarry issue written by the Council of Canadians, please click here. The “Stop the Mega Quarry” Facebook page also lists updates on actions, petitions, events, and news. The NDACT website can be accessed here.