March 15, 2018

Changes urged for Erin pit proposal

With town council expected to decide soon on whether to support expansion of the Halton Crushed Stone (HCS) gravel pit just south of Erin village, community members are renewing objections and proposing changes to the project.

A second public meeting was held March 6, with James Parkin of MHBC Planning providing an update on behalf of HCS.

“There has been a good consultation process,” said Parkin, noting that there are no outstanding objections from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Credit Valley Conservation, or the consultants who have peer reviewed HCS studies of hydrogeology, noise, traffic and visual impact.

“The proposal has withstood scrutiny, and we have made changes that are responsive to the community,” he said.

The existing pit west of Tenth Line is 300 metres from the road, but the expansion could bring it to within 30 metres. HCS says it plans a setback of 60 metres in Phase 1, in a radius from the corner closest to the McCullogh subdivision.

Other changes include increased berm heights, tree and shrub plantings along County Road 52, a noise audit, stockpile height limitations, a dust management plan and an annual water level data report to the town.

Residents Sharon Cranstone and Roy Val are urging a setback of 300 metres in the northwest corner. This is not a legal requirement, since the land is already zoned from extraction, but the County Official Plan does specify a 300-metre “yellow ribbon” setback for new zoning around urban areas.

They want the setback increased to 60 metres for the whole length of the pit along County Road 52, an increase of berm height and more extensive tree planting and landscaping. They want HCS to pave the first 300 metres of Tenth Line to reduce dust, and a setback of extraction near the Tenth Line.

They either want extraction in the northwest corner delayed until the final phase of the pit lifespan, to allow the trees to grow into a screen, or to have extraction in that area done first and completed in 18 months.

Cranstone and Val are also concerned about the environmental impact of asphalt being recycled and stored on the site. They want leachate testing and a limit on the volume equal to 10 per cent of exported gravel. HCS says asphalt is not a significant risk.

They also want to know why various provisions in the 1976 Ontario Municipal Board ruling that approved the original pit, and the development agreement that followed, were never enforced.

These include requirements that the pit owner pave a section of Tenth Line; create turning lanes where the Winston Churchill Blvd. haul route meets both County Road 52 and County Road 124, and reconstruct/maintain Winston Churchill to county standards.

David and Caitlin Piva, who live close to the existing pit, said there is a problem with gravel trucks parking on the Tenth Line and using their back-up beepers prior to 6 a.m. They are also concerned about rocks that fall onto the road from loaded trucks, and say that with high stockpiles of gravel in the pit, existing berms are not adequate.

Even though Credit Valley Conservation is predicting the expansion will not affect groundwater, they are still concerned about their well water.

Resident Karen Maxwell said dust from the pit on local properties remains an ongoing problem. She also reminded council that the 1976 OMB ruling approved the original pit with an assumption that extraction would take place prior to construction of a nearby subdivision.

Councillor Matt Sammut did not attend the meeting, and has declared a conflict of interest since his residence is in that subdivision.