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UPDATE: Highland Companies files for quarry that threatens water

Yesterday, the Highland Companies filed its application for a 2,400-acre quarry in Melancthon, a township just over 100 kilometres north of Toronto.

The Alliston Herald reported in January 2010 that, “The quarry could extend 200 feet deep, which would take it below the water table. The North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Task Force (NDACT) said the land sits on the aquifer and is a source area for the Nottawasaga River and the Grand River systems, which eventually flow into the Humber and Credit rivers. (They claim that if the quarry proceeds) more than a million people’s water (extending from Lake Simcoe to Lake Erie) will be compromised.”

The Orangeville Banner reported last month that NDACT is attempting to counter the quarry application with their own application for a specialty crop designation. “Margaret Walton of Planscape Inc., the professional planner hired by the North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce to draw up a specialty crop designation application for 10,625 acres of property in the township, believes the (proposed quarry’s) impact on the water table is a ‘critical’ factor to look at going forward. …NDACT has formally submitted its official plan amendment for specialty crop designation to Melancthon council. The area in the northeastern portion of the township is home to a booming potato industry, and the reason for that, as Walton has explained, is the mix of soils, drainage and microclimate existing there. …The Highland Companies, has already voiced its opposition, citing potatoes aren’t considered to be a specialty crop.”

That article adds that Melancthon Deputy Mayor Darren White has said, “In my opinion, when it comes down to it, the water is going to be the overriding issue. …The overriding concern, everything is going to come down to the water and the impact on the water in the long run.”

According to the Township of Melancthon’s website, “the Township is working toward scheduling a Public Information Session on either Saturday, March 26, 2011 or Saturday, April 2, 2011 (in the morning) at the Honeywood Arena.” According to the Highland Companies website, April 26 is “the last day for public objections.”

On January 16, 2010, Council of Canadians Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara spoke against the quarry at a NDACT-organized public forum. The Orangeville Citizen reported after that public meeting that, “Last Saturday’s gathering featured Stephen Ogden, who outlined the successful fight against Simcoe County’s proposed landfill site. His advice, along with that of Mark Calzavara of the Council of Canadians and of Dufferin resident and national broadcaster Dini Petty generally boiled down to one of encouragement to stay in course in opposition to the proposed quarry.” The video of Mark’s presentation can be watched here:

The Council of Canadians is committed to continue to support the strong community opposition to this quarry.