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WIN! Brant County backs gravel pit opponents’ water concerns

The Council of Canadians has stood in solidarity with Concerned Citizens of Brant (CCOB) for the past three years as local residents have fought against a proposed gravel pit that would encompass the wells that supply the drinking water to their community. In fact, this issue helped lead to the formation of our Brant chapter in January 2013.

A primary concern is that the farmland where the gravel pit would be situated is loaded with atrazine (a commonly used herbicide widely linked to groundwater contamination) and that it will be released into their aquifer when the gravel is extracted and washed.

Today, the Brantford Expositor reports, “[Brant county] council approved overwhelmingly Tuesday three draft resolutions submitted by the citizens group [CCOB] that are designed to protect drinking water from contamination by atrazine, and the aquifer from penetration during gravel extraction.”

Those resolutions mean that:

  1. A letter will be sent to the provincial government expressing “concern with regard to land uses and activities that penetrate the municipal aquifer or increase the vulnerability of welllhead protection areas or intake protection zones.”

  2. The government will also be asked to consider “as a matter of urgent attention” two reports that highlight concerns about testing for atrazine in the gravel pit company’s water-taking permit applications.

  3. The Gilbert and Telfer well fields (the source of drinking water for the community) will be tested for atrazine at the detection limit of 0.1 parts per billion, rather than the five micrograms per litre rate used by the company, to establish the current quality of the water.

The news article notes, “After the [county council] vote, members of the Concerned Citizens group were joyous at their victory.” Their win is significant because the provincial government has not yet issued the permit needed by the company to pump water and/or to use the water to wash the gravel.

At a rally in October 2012, Council of Canadians organizer Mark Calzavara told those assembled, “This gravel pit is not a done deal. It’s never a done deal, that’s how they stop you from fighting.” In January 2014, Calzavara went to Brant County to provide civil disobedience training to the Brant chapter and CCOB in the event that the gravel pit were to proceed.

The Council of Canadians continues to express its solidarity with those fighting to protect their water from contamination and encourages the provincial government to take the appropriate actions in this regard. We would also remind the government of their obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the human right to water as recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in their historic July 2010 vote.

Further reading
Brant County fights proposed gravel pit (April 2012 blog)
Protecting Paris (October 2012 blog by Mark Calzavara)
Calzavara speaks against proposed Brant County gravel pit (October 2012 blog)
Brant chapter, the newest Council of Canadians chapter to be formed (January 2013 blog)
Council of Canadians opposes gravel pit outside Paris (November 2013 blog)
The people have the power (January 2014 blog by Mark Calzavara)