This is a guest post by Linda Sword, a member of the board of Concerned Residents Coalition (CRC).
The proponent called it the “Hidden Quarry”. But the people who live in Guelph Eramosa and Milton refused to let it hide. The 100-acre property of woodland and wetland on Highway 7 east of Guelph between Rockwood and Acton had stood quietly absorbing countless tonnes of CO2 since its purchase in 1988 by James Dick Construction Limited, and no one on all the farms around knew it was a time bomb.
The Town of Rockwood kept stretching towards it, advertising quiet rural living; 19th century heritage houses and barns stood handsome on field rock foundations; the trout population prospered, along with the endangered little brown bats and snapping turtles; the cold clear water kept springing up, re-charged, through the fractured karst rock on its way to the pristine Blue Springs Creek and on to the Grand River; people boasted about the quality of their well water; the annual harvests of soy, hay and corn trundled along the tree-lined roads once a year; beef and dairy cattle and sheep munched in quiet fields; mushrooms mushroomed in their carefully regulated beds; and high-strung horses trotted around the local training tracks.
Until, suddenly in 2013, it was announced that a quarry would be blasted 23 metres below the water table using an experimental blasting technique and sending off vibrations dangerous to structures within 1,000 metres of the blasts, potentially affecting hundreds of homes. After the trees had been cut down and trucked off and the agricultural top soil was carted away, up to 38 trucks an hour would begin the two-decades-long hauling of 700,000 tonnes of rock a year along the school bus routes and through the already truck-burdened hearts of local towns.
Residents were concerned. They read the provincial policies and official plans and saw that quarry impacts must be assessed according to potential impacts on environment, buildings, safety, health, agriculture, planning intentions, roads, economy and more. And so, this fall, beginning on September 27, the Concerned Residents Coalition, 1,100 strong and having raised almost $400,000, will state its opposition to the Hidden Quarry to a single adjudicator at the Ontario Municipal Board, bringing five experts to speak to the many potentially negative impacts of the proposed Hidden Quarry on the environment and community. Halton Region, Halton Hills, Guelph Eramosa Township and Milton join CRC in opposing the application.
See more information here.