This is material provided by the Burlington group Tyandaga Environmental Coalition.
Meridian Brick (formerly Forterra Brick) plans to clear-cut approximately 34 acres of prime forest within the Greenbelt Plan Area to expand its commercial shale quarrying operations (the east cell). The proposed quarry would operate adjacent to the residential Tyandaga neighbourhood in Burlington, Ontario.
Meridian Brick announced plans to activate their 1972 licence in September 2015. The intended quarry would operate within 50 metres of neighbours’ backyards.
Concerned residents have formed the Tyandaga Environmental Coalition (TEC) to insist that Meridian subject the plans for quarry expansion to current environmental standards and for scientific review. TEC engaged the well-known environmental legal firm Donnelly Law as counsel and has initiated several meetings with Meridian, City of Burlington and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF).
If the quarry is expanded significant consequences will unfold.
1. Health concerns
*There is risk from non-occupational exposure to quarry dust to people residing adjacent to quarries exposed to the airborne dust.
*Fine particulate matter can be inhaled and is considered toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). It is well known and documented that inhalation of shale dust causes multiple respiratory diseases, including asthma, allergic alveolitis, chronic bronchitis, COPD, pneumoconiosis and pulmonary fibrosis.
*Shale has naturally occurring silica. Inhalation of silicates causes pulmonary silicosis leading to irreversible lung fibrosis, which can lead to respiratory failure. It is also a proven risk factor for the development of lung cancer and a known carcinogen.
*Our community, particularly those most vulnerable, including the elderly and children must be protected from the life-long health consequences from this dust exposure.
2. Environmental Impact
*Creating pits or quarries requires the removal of virtually all natural vegetation, top soil and subsoil to reach the aggregate underneath. Not only does this lead to a loss of existing animal wildlife, it also leads to a huge loss of biodiversity as plants and aquatic habitats are destroyed. Moreover, adjacent eco-systems are affected by noise, dust, pollution and contaminated water.
3. Endangered Species
*This forest is home to several endangered species of fauna (plants and trees) and wildlife. In 2017, unisexual (female) triploid Jefferson-dependent Salamanders were found near vernal pools adjacent to the Meridian property. These Jefferson-dependent LJJ Salamanders are classified as ENDANGERED SPECIES by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The female LJJs depend on Jefferson Salamanders for recruitment. It is therefore critical that a three-year Jefferson Salamander habitat study is conducted by the MNRF. Aggregate extraction poses the most significant threat to these Jefferson-dependent species and their habitat.
* Removal of the forest clearly puts these species at risk. While Meridian states that its site-mitigation plan would address this concern, it has refused to give the public access to their plan nor the studies/findings on which the plan relies. They also refuse all requests to allow their studies/findings to be subjected to independent scientific (peer-review) review.
CALL TO ACTION
We need to act now! Meridian insists that it has the right to deforest the pristine woodland and start preparing the site for quarry operations for the next 20-30 years. Meridian states it intends to commence clear cutting the Tyandaga forest this coming winter (2017/18).
Why does TEC need your donation?
*Retain legal representation to analyze and challenge old aggregate licenses, press the City to support TEC’s application to the MNRF for an Environmental Review, secure a 2-3 year habitat study and obtain through “freedom of information” requests, all the studies that Meridian relies on to begin the expansion of the quarry
*Engage experts to conduct independent peer- review assessment of Meridian’s:
• Air quality and human health studies
• Noise impact studies and proposed buffering
between the Forterra lands and subdivision
• Archeological surveys
• Endangeredand and at risk species surveys
• Proposed rehabilitation of existing operation
*Consult with land development expertise to offer an alternative high and best use vision for the site that would honour the environmental and the archeological heritage and the larger Burlington community.
How else can you help?
*Join the 2,000 neighbours and concerned citizens who have signed our online petition !
*Write, call and meet the Mayor and City Council Members. Express your concern about the deforestation and your real concerns about the health hazard that will result from the quarry operation. Ask for the City’s support of TEC in its advocacy with the Province’s MNRF.
*Visit tecburlington.com for more details.
HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY PROJECT
1. Make a financial contribution firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Join or volunteer with TEC today email@example.com
3. Sign our petition www.bit.do/stopthem
4. Share the TEC message on Facebook TECBurlington and twitter @tecburlington