May 03, 2018

New efforts to reduce gravel pit impact

New efforts are being made to reduce the impact of Halton Crushed Stone’s proposed gravel pit expansion south of Erin village.
At an April 17 meeting, County Planner Aldo Salis supported the expansion, and HCS offered changes to appease opponents, but council’s debate was cut short when the vote was delayed until May 15.
Councillor Jeff Duncan, who is opposed to the proposal as it now stands, did not get to speak. He says a gravel trade could move the pit farther from nearby homes.
“I propose a significant amount of the gravel deposit that the Town of Erin has under the TenthLine that is part of the application be assigned/traded to HCS as a concession for a significant setback,” he said. He wants no extraction in a triangle measured 300 metres along the roadways.
Possible closure of the Tenth Line in about 20 years to extract town-owned gravel has been discussed, but it would require an additional agreement between the town and the pit operator.
Roy Val, who received a Town of Erin Volunteer Award recently for his research into this and other local growth issues, said he was pleased that HCS had recognized the environmental concerns related to asphalt recycling on the site by agreeing to groundwater monitoring.
“HCS still fails to recognize the impact of a pit across the street from an established subdivision,” he said. “I would hope those residents, in particular, are ready to engage councillors head-on to address the issue of a larger setback prior to the next council meeting.”
HCS has doubled the minimum 30-metre setback, promising not to mine the first 60 metres from the northwest corner of their lands. They also committed to mine the next 95 metres in a two-year period, starting whenever they decide to strip the topsoil.
Duncan’s proposal suggests a two-year limit on a larger area, comprising 50 per cent of the land parcel closest to the subdivision. He also wants the operator to set up a Community Liaison Committee.
The proposal is for mining above the water table, but Duncan wants tighter restrictions, saying HCS could too easily get approval for mining below the water table.
He would also like to see asphalt recycling removed from the land use, or at least temporarily restricted while the Ontario government is developing new policies on this land use.
“Placing 60,000 tonnes of a hazardous material on the floor of a gravel pit could be one of the worst places to put it,” he said. HCS and Salis say the asphalt poses no risk to human health.