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WIN! 75-day extension to Melancthon quarry comment period

Council of Canadians chapter activist David Walton in Melancthon yesterday.

Council of Canadians chapter activist David Walton in Melancthon yesterday.

The North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce, the Citizens Alliance for a Sustainable Environment, the Council of Canadians and many others have been raising their objections to a 2316-acre open pit mega quarry proposed for Melancthon Township. One key demand has been for a 120-day extension — to the short 45-day comment period, which ended yesterday — to allow all parties to study the 3,000-plus page application from The Highland Companies, the company seeking this quarry.

A Council of Canadians action alert with this demand generated more than 1700 messages to Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty.

We now have reports that the Ontario government has granted a 75-day extension to the comment period on this quarry. More on this soon.

Yesterday – the original deadline for comments – Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow submitted a formal letter of objection to the quarry. To read that letter, click here. She notes that below the proposed quarry lies an 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.

For blogs on the campaign to stop this quarry, please go to http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?s=melancthon. Our action alert calling for an extension to the public comment period is at http://canadians.org/action/2011/mega-quarry.html.

Two recent blogs by Council of Canadians Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara can be read at http://canadians.org/activistblog/?p=552 and http://canadians.org/activistblog/?p=528. An article on the quarry by organizing assistant Maryam Adrangi is at http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/story/walk-stop-mega-quarry-north-toronto/7059. Both Mark and Maryam were in Melancthon yesterday as a five-day march from Toronto – to raise awareness about the quarry – arrived there.

Update: The Orangeville Citizen reports, “Ontario’s Natural Resources Minister Linda Jeffrey as of Tuesday has extended the 45-day commenting time to July 11… Initially rejecting requests to extend the deadline for comments on the quarry proposal, the Natural Resources minister’s initial stance was merely that she might ‘take into account’ quarry comments received after April 26. …Late Tuesday, the Ministry of Natural Resources posted a notice on the Environmental Registry to extend the deadline for public comments by 76 days. …As a result of the announcement, all comments on the Highland Companies proposal received prior to July 11 will be considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry of Natural Resources. …Despite the deadline extension, North Dufferin Agriculture and Community Taskforce vice-chair Carl Cosack still found it troubling that Premier Dalton McGuinty had (literally) ‘turned his back’ on NDP leader Andrea Horwath when she delivered as many as 1,300 petitions seeking the extension. The petitions had been taken to Queen’s Park by Mr. Cosack and a representative of the Council of Canadians (Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara), who were introduced by Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones.”

NEWS: Deadline for input on mega-quarry extended, sort of, Toronto Star, April 28, 2011