April 26, 2018

Gravel pit operator offers concessions

Halton Crushed Stone (HCS) is offering new concessions in its bid to get town council approval for a gravel pit expansion just south of Erin village.
Councillors deferred their vote on the issue until May 15, after hearing a presentation on April 17 from HCS representative James Parkin.
His offer first came in a letter to council last Friday, just after a report from Wellington County Planning Director Aldo Salis was released, recommending approval of the expansion. The concessions are intended to reduce the impact of the pit on the community, especially nearby residents on McCullogh Dr. and Aspen Court.
Parkin said HCS would complete gravel extraction within two years of topsoil removal in the corner of its property closest to the homes – a pie-shaped zone with a radius of 185 metres from the corner of the urban boundary. It’s not clear exactly when the two years would start, but HSC has planned to mine that area first.
HCS has also agreed to a monitoring program for ground water quality near its asphalt recycling stockpiles, to plant trees immediately on the northern border instead of within one year, to apply calcium chloride annually to suppress dust on the Tenth Line and to clean up any gravel spillage on Road 52.
Coun. Rob Smith said the deferral will be “an opportunity for citizens to chime in” on whether the changes are acceptable.
Salis told council the proposed land use is “appropriate and in the public interest” and conforms to provincial and county policies. The plan to expand the pit north towards County Road 52 has been the subject of technical studies and public meetings over the last two years.
“The applicant has demonstrated that the proposed use can be carried out in a manner that will reduce potential social, economic and environmental impacts,” Salis said.
The expansion would be on 50 acres west of Tenth Line and 100 acres to the east. It includes a 60-metre setback in the northwest corner, one of several changes already made by HCS.
Many residents want a 300-metre setback, even though the land is already zoned for gravel mining. Resident Roy Val said it appears the previous owners of the pit had no intention of mining the northwest corner, and although there is no documentation, that the subdivision may have been approved with that understanding.
Salis said any contaminants from asphalt recycling would be at concentrations well below those of concern to human health. A study found there would be no impact on groundwater or the nearby West Credit River.
The expansion would be on prime agricultural land, but Salis said aggregate extraction is acceptable since the land will eventually be restored to agricultural use – similar to rehabilitated land on the HCS property.
The Town hired WND Associates to review a visual impact study. They said proposed improvements to berm heights plus tree plantings are “adequate” for visual appearance, for screening the pit from second-storey views and for screening views further north on high points of the Tenth Line.
Coun. Matt Sammut has a conflict of interest because his home is near the pit, so he did not participate in the debate or vote. At the March 6 meeting he had Mayor Allan Alls read a statement saying he “will not influence Council or members of the public on the future decision.”
He has registered a notice of objection with the Ministry of Natural Resources to the HCS plan. He said, “I have been advised by both Municipal Affairs and our Integrity Commissioner that I can be an objector as a homeowner while being in conflict as a councillor.”