Aggregates is a challenging issue and here in Waterloo Region, the Township of North Dumfries is one of the top ten producers of aggregates—rock, sand and gravel—in Ontario. It is also where people live and farm, and an area with significant groundwater protection areas. The Township is responsible for processing zoning applications for extraction. Both the Township and the Region of Waterloo are responsible for providing comments to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) during the license application process under the Planning Act and Aggregate Resources Act.
We need to continue to balance the need for new aggregates for construction with the increased potential for aggregate recycling, pit rehabilitation, and better management of precious resources.
· Aggregates are a non-renewable resource,
· The extraction industry does not have to prove necessity for new pits, and pits can sit idle for years with un-extracted resources (“land grabs”). This also means new applications, like the Hallman Pit in Shingletown, are still accepted without considering already available capacity.
· Rehabilitation is legally required once resources are depleted, but only 20 percent of pits in the region have been,
· The municipal government association, Top Aggregate Producing Municipalities of Ontario or TAPMO share concerns about land use taxes, protection of endangered species, business vs farmland justification, and extraction below the watertable,
· For an above-the-watertable aggregate pit, the allowable extraction depth of 1.5 metres above the watertable fails to take into consideration potential impacts of climate change and more extreme changes in the watertable.
Copyright © Scott Wicken 2023