Dufferin seeking to expand Acton quarry
Alarm bells are peeling softly for Mayor Rick Bonnette after hearing about a plan to expand Dufferin Aggregates' Acton Quarry. "I have concerns with the expansion of 500 acres right on edge of Acton," the mayor said, after the expansion plans at a Halton Region planning and public works committee meeting were released in a staff memo last week. The Acton Quarry is located on the north and south sides of 22 Sideroad between Regional Rd. 25 and Fourth Line. Halton Region Commissioner of Planning and Public Works Peter Crockett outlined the proposal in the memo to committee members. · The proposed expansion lands include a 40 hectare (100 acres) property immediately to the north and 175 hectares (432 acres) immediately to the south. · Dufferin says it has about five to six years remaining at the current quarry (about 15 million tonnes) · Dufferin is expected this month to make formal applications for a regional Official Plan amendment, and other Planning Act, Aggregate Resource Act and Niagara Escarpment Plan. Andrea Bourrie, Dufferin Aggregates' Property & Resource Manager said Dufferin Aggregates has not yet made a business decision on the quarry's expansion, but is working on "a long-term vision" for the quarry and the lands it owns adjacent to it. "A quarry extension is one important business consideration in this long-term vision," she said yesterday. "Other considerations include land use features with considerable public value, including sports and recreational facilities, trail systems and naturalized areas for ecological benefit. Our long-term vision may include setting aside many acres of land
`I have concerns with the expansion of 500 acres right on edge of Acton.'
for public use, environmental protection, reforestation and environmental enhancements, in parallel with a quarry extension." Part of decision-making process, Bourrie said, included agency pre-consultations and the formation last fall of a Joint Agency Review Team (JART) approved by Halton Region. She confirmed that based on current market conditions, the Acton Quarry currently has a lifespan of about five to six years. In November the Ministry of Natural Resources approved a revision to the quarry's licence, increasing tonnage removal from 3.5 million tonnes/year to 4.5 million tonnes/year. "We think it is important for us to work now to make business decisions about the future supply of aggregate," she said, adding a close-to-market supply of aggregate is critically important to meeting its growing demandthe GTA currently uses about 62 million tonnes of aggregate per year. "If this aggregate was transported from only 30 km further away an additional 163,00 tonnes of greenhouse gas would be emitted into the atmosphere and 59 million of extra fuel consumed. Given the concerns regarding
the global warming and shortages in oil, ensuring a close-to-market supply of aggregate will ensure these environmental impacts are reduced," Bourrie said. Bonnette listed a number of negative issues such as the impact of truck traffic on local roads, the extent and timing of the expansion, and the lack of rehabilitation on the current site. At the same time he noted that Dufferin Aggregates is a good corporate citizen and that it's still early in the process-- and "a lot of questions still need to be answered." Barbara Halsall, a member of POWER (Protect Our Water and Environmental Resources) is disappointed that the JART had been formed in November, but the first the public heard of the expansion was through this staff memo to regional councillors. "Once JART was formally established the information should not have been kept hidden from the public and the elected people," Halsall said in an interview Tuesday. She expects that as POWER learns more about the expansion plans, the group will have more to say at that time. Bourrie had to cancel a presentation to the committee last week but hopes to reschedule sometime in late March. "We are making plans for a comprehensive and very public land use planning process once we have made business decisions about the Acton Quarry lands. These plans may include a community liaison committee to assist us with detailed planning for this longterm vision, together with land use design workshops, a website, newsletters and public open houses." (Cynthia Gamble can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)