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UPDATE: Next steps against the Melancthon mega-quarry

Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara at an anti-quarry protest  in Melancthon
Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara at an anti-quarry protest in Melancthon

The Council of Canadians has been a vocal opponent of the proposed Melancthon mega-quarry.

The Highland Companies, backed by a Boston-based multi-billion dollar hedge fund, the Baupost Group, is proposing a massive 2,316-acre open pit limestone mega quarry in Melancthon Township, 100 kilometres north of Toronto. The edge of the quarry would border the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO Biosphere reserve. It would destroy productive farmland, pollute the air with the thousands of 40-ton trucks needed for it every day, and threaten the area’s water. Below the proposed quarry lies the Amabel-Lockport-Guelph aquifer that forms the headwaters of five major river systems – the Pine, the Grand, the Nottawasaga, the Saugeen and the Beaver – that are important drinking water sources for more than a million people. The quarry would blast 60 metres (deeper than Niagara Falls) beneath the water table and use approximately 600 million litres of water per day. The company plans to pump that water – collected daily on the open pit mine floor, and likely now contaminated with blasting residue and diesel fuel – back into the wells around the quarry. The aggregate from the quarry would be used for construction in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area, as well as in Barrie, although there are concerns that some of it could be exported on the Great Lakes from the Owen Sound harbour.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS SOUGHT: The Orangeville Citizen reports, “The North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce is calling for the public to seek a provincial environmental assessment by registering their Environmental Bill of Rights requests before July 11. Under the Aggregate Resources Act, such an EA is not required in Ontario. (Additionally, Conservative) MP David Tilson has called for (a) federal (environmental assessment) on the basis, among other things, that fisheries might be affected by the proposed quarry.”

JULY 3 PAINT-IN: Another Orangeville Citizen article reports, “A group of local artists is organizing a novel protest against the proposed Melancthon megaquarry. The protest will take the form of a ‘paint-in’ on Sunday, July 3. Organizer Donna Tranquada said invitations have already gone out to artists in the region to register for the event, which will be held at Peace Valley Ranch in Mulmur. Participants will paint the beautiful landscape that’s under threat. The public and media are welcome, and bus tours are planned to the proposed site throughout the day. …The Canada Day weekend event is to run 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the ranch at 638135 Prince of Wales Road, south of Dufferin County Road. 21. The pre-registration cost is $30 each to a maximum of 30 artists. …You will also be asked to donate a painting to an Auction and Gallery Event, date and details to follow.”

JULY 7 GOLF TOURNAMENT: The golf tournament will take place on Thursday July 7 at the Shelburne Golf Club, which is located at 516423 County Road 124. Registration takes place at 9 am with tee-off at 10:30 am. The cost per golfer is $150, or $55 for just the dinner and silent auction. More on this at http://www.ndact.com/NDACT/2011_Golf_Tournament.html.

For our blogs against the Melancthon quarry, please go to http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?s=melancthon.