Here is an important statement in response to the news that the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) has denied the Rockfort Quarry application:
The Coalition of Concerned Citizens of Caledon applauds the OMB decision having to do with the James Dick Construction Limited Rockfort Quarry application for an open pit dolostone mine at Winston Churchill and Olde Baseline in the Town of Caledon.
The Coalition, which has mounted a determined 13-year campaign against the designation and development of this inappropriate mineral aggregate proposal, includes thousands of supporters from Caledon, Erin, Wellington, Halton and Peel, as well as cycling, skiing, fishing, archery, equestrian and hiking enthusiasts from far and wide.
The proposed quarry, which would have involved the extraction of dolostone up to 100 feet below the water table, involved a water mitigation system never before used in a similar scale, manner and setting. It could also have created negative impacts on local roadways, the Niagara Escarpment ecosystem and the Paris Moraine.
The Board in its conclusion found:”The balance among competing interests mandated by the PPS (Provincial Policy Statement) and the OP (Official Plan) has been thoroughly considered by the Board. It is apparent, that with respect to these particular applications, the interest in protecting the natural heritage and cultural heritage resources of the subject lands and those surrounding them outweighs the interest in making the aggregate resource on the subject property available to supply mineral aggregate needs. Too much of enormous value to the Province, the Region and the Town could be lost if the proposed quarry went forward. A failure in the mitigation measures proposed for the quarry, as set out in the AMP (Adaptive Management Plan), would have a catastrophic impact on the natural environment or the natural features and functions of the area. Such an impact cannot be countenanced by the Board. In addition, the fundamental change to the character of the area attendant upon the proposed quarry would not be acceptable. The loss of views of rural lands, the loss of a cultural heritage landscape and cultural heritage resources and the conversion of a rural area into an urban area centered on a heavy industrial operation cannot be permitted in the interest of the production of more aggregate for infrastructure development. It is time for alternatives to aggregate for infrastructure construction to be found. Too much of what is essential to the character of this Province would be lost if aggregate extraction were to be permitted on lands like the subject property. Lands situated in a significant cultural landscape, surrounded by significant natural heritage features and functions, are not lands on which extraction should be permitted in the absence of demonstration of no negative impacts. No such demonstration has been completed in this case. Having regard to the provisions of the PPS, the ROP (Region of Peel Official Plan) and the OP, the Board finds that the requested OPA (Official Plan Amendment) and ZBLA (Zoning By-Law Amendment) do not represent good planning. Having regard to the ARA (Aggregate Resources Act), particularly section 12(1), the Board finds that the requested licence should not be issued.”
“On behalf of the people of Caledon and all the Coalition supporters, we applaud the OMB’s decision to uphold good land use and environmental planning,” said Coalition President Penny Richardson. “We would like to thank all our supporters who devoted their time, energy, money and skill, as well as our legal and expert advisers. We also commend the Town of Caledon, the Region of Peel and Credit Valley Conservation for their opposition to this proposal. Time and again, they argued that this particular application did not meet an acceptable standard for protecting our water resources, sensitive natural heritage and local endangered species.”
“While we are pleased with the decision, we will wait for the 30 day OMB appeal period to close before opening the champagne,” Richardson said.
The OMB decision is available on the CCC website.
The next question is, is this a one-time decision, or a new precedent for the future of the Niagara Escarpment and its neighbouring areas?