“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.
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DAY 70 - MAY 5, 2010

May-05-10

Lay Witnesses, Participants and people that weren't able to present at the OMB Public Session on April 19th gave statements regarding impacts of the proposed Rockfort Quarry.  The following witness statements were filed before the Board and are provided for your information only, and express the concerns of the people making them.  (Please note: the notes taken today are not complete because the note-taker was not feeling well. Apologies.)

William Rowley - Participant Status

  • The Rowley's bought their property 25 years ago. He is a lawyer by profession. He has a large pond (F8) and stream connections to the northeast and east wetlands. Prevailing winds are North-west so dust and noise will carry directly to them. They are most concerned about their streams, ponds and wetlands and the proponent indicates some will be impacted somewhat. The proposed AMP indicates the proponent may need to have access up to 80 years.
  • They have about 12 trails on the property and all of them are on the west side next to the Dick site. The outfall from F8 pond carries on south throught he east wetland down south of Baseline Road. The Rowleys don't think allowing the impacts on the wetlands are appropriate. The CVC GIS overlay indicates that the drawdown could be as much as 6 meters. That would be significant. They feel the AMP plans of mitigation are offensive in that they propose to run a pipe over their land to the pond or dumping water in at Gravely's  to keep levels up. This is unacceptable.
  • The quarry will permanently and substantially reduce the property value of their place.
  • If their pond drops, the eastern wetlands will be affected as well because the outflow pipe from the pond will no longer be flowing water downstream.
  • Mr Rowley walked us through numerous photos showing the trails and wetlands that are on the property.
  • The pond has been stocked twice.

Mr Buhlman: Cross Examination:

  • Your pond was a dug pond?
    --Yes.
  • The south side has a large berm with a pool at the bottom of the berm?
    --There is an outflow from the pond that pools.
  • Have you modified any of the wetlands?
    --Only a boardwalk.
  • Have you made modifications?
    --We have cleaned out the channel from Graveley's because sediment comes off the road.
  • You talked about the view--you can't see the Dick property from your home?
    --No.
  • What threathened species you mentioned are on your property?
    --They were mentioned in CVC's report, you'd have to ask them.
  • Did you look at the water resources volume which predicts that your pond won't be affected?
    --No I did not, but would be delighted if that were the case.

Leslie McMichael - Participant

  • I live on 40 acres on Baseline Road and have lived there half my life. There is no dollar value that can be put on how much this property means to my family. We are on the haul route and we're concerned about the safety with the trucks. We are very concerned about the water, wetlands and aquifer because of the blasting.

Mr Buhlman cross exam:

  • How did you calculate the 1200 trucks?
    --We just did the math.

Leslie Adams - Public Session

  • From POWER (Protect our Water and Environment) group.  Our group is particularly interested in sustainability and biodiversity and we believe the local setting is very important. Open pit mining impacts our local resources, especially when the mining is below the watertable. The biodiversity is also a great concern. We are bringing about massive change in our environment and losing large number of species.
  • The Acton Quarry is one of the largest emitters of green house gases in Halton. We need to look at alternatives when creating concrete, like "hempcrete".
  • Water is precious and cannot be replaced. The residents around the Acton Quarry have had difficulty with their wells and seeps in the area are drying up.  POWER appealed the watertaking permit but they were not allowed to carry it forward by the Environmental Tribunal. The Aggregate licensing system is flawed. We have a system where different Ministries have a part in the approvals and they do not see the whole picture nor do they communicate well. Water is not considered adequately or fairly. A system that seems to discount residents, species and ecosystem services. It needs to be more transparent, accountable and sustainable.

Cross Exam by Mr Tzekas:

  • Did you have Mr Long speak at the Halton Hills Council in 2002 (?) against the Dufferin Quarry?
    --Not that I recall.

Campbell McLeish - Lay Witness

  • He moved from the city to Caledon for the peace and quiet and to be safe. One of the major joys is the wildlife that visit our pond which is open all year because of the springs. Our pond is not deep, but if there are impacts it could eliminate it's viability. We are concerned about the water mitigations based on simulated models. He is concerned about the safety of the school buses with the gravel trucks. Also concerned about the loss of property values. The MNR has recently sent us a letter that states we have a Jefferson salamander.

Mr Webb:

  • Were did you get the information about your concerns about the water?
    --We attended public meetings and heard it there.
  • You mention that real estate values dropped, what is the basis for that?
    --A neighbour tried to sell her home and she had to drop her price by $150,000.

Terry Rigby - Lay Witness

  • Lives on 12 acres on Ballinafad Rd. since 1988. They are worried about water--the quantity and quality; about the grout curtain and the leaching of potential contaminants into the ground water.

Mr Webb:

  • You are a civil engineer?
    --I worked as an engineer for a construction company so I know what blasting does and what truck traffic does.
  • What is your basis for the characterization of their technology?
    --At public meetings, JDCL could not produce examples of where this had worked in other similar situations.

Mr Buhlman cross exam:

  • You state this will fail--what is the basis do you make that comment?
    --Every site is different, but until you get into the ground you won't know what you are getting into.

Catharine Seagram - Lay Witness

  • 47 acres on the west side of Winston CHurchill. Worried about the blasting, the water, and the visual impacts. Also worried about loss of value to the house. Traffic has increased drmamtically and JDCL trucks travel north and south several times a week on Winston Churchill. Worried about pollutants, noise and dust.

Mr Tzekas cross exam:

  • Looking at an aerial photo of your property. Is that a dug pond?
    --I don't know.
  • Re Visual impacts, you are set back?
    --About 300 feet.
  • Is there a natural berm between you and Connoy property?
    --No.
  • You brought your property in 1996 for $320,000 so how would it be devalued?
    --We put $200,000-$300,000 into the property and we wouldn't get our money back.
  • The property immediately to the south has sold in 2000 and 2007?
    --I only know about the 2007.
  • How much did it sell for?
    --I don't know.

Maureen Holland - Lay Witness

  • Lives on Shaws Creek with 43 acres of land--since 2002--with trails and hay fields and bush. West branch of Second Creek goes through her property. They use the property for recreation.
  • Worried about the financial impacts--the impact on the taxpayers and Town and Region for the monitoring and dealing with the case; noise and dust; major road reconstruction with 800 trucks a day; worried about west branch of second creek;  blasting could impact my home and value; worried about the potential of ecological disaster; worried about impact on next generation.

Mr Tzekas; cross exam:

  • Market value: when you purchased, you knew the quarry plan was underway?
    --Yes, I made that clear.
  • You built a home in 2002? You purchased it for 190,000?
    --Yes, but what we have invested is $700,000 and I was contemplating as to what I would be out of pocket if the quarry goes in compared with if it doesn't.

Edward Long - Public Session

  • Speaking as an individual citizen. Lives in Wellington since 1994. Worried about water and the potential impacts. Rogers Creek runs through his property.

Mr Buhlman cross exam:

  • Do you recall speaking to Halton Hills Council about the Dufferin Quarry?
    --I don't recall that.
  • You sold a lot off your property?
    --Yes.

Penny Richardson - Lay witness

  • Resided on the Grange Sideroad since 1987. It's 11 acres with 2 ponds, an intermittent creek, wetlands, woodlot and meadows. I am president of the CCC of about 5000 supporters. Support is provided through volunteers for garage sale, fundraising, Sunday support and financial support.
  • Looking at the newsletter from David Hughes (previous Caledon Councillor) shows that there was squabbling at the Region as to whether the public would be informed of the aggregate mapping.
  • Has concerns about the truck traffic, the wildlife, the water. She was concerned about all the wetlands, streams, and springs in the area and on her property. She quotes from the hydro-geologists. She felt that the AMP was more a "try it and see" approach.
  • She is disconcerted about compliance issues. The was one issue at the Caledon Sand an Gravel about the long delay of building a conveyor at Kennedy Rd. and for years the road was closed by JDCL despite letters from the Town of Caledon. The other was a lack of compliance at the JDCL Winston Churchill pit that was outstanding for over 30 years. She is concerned that the MNR has neither the resources nor the will to make sure a license at Rockfort is complied with.

Mr. Tzekas cross exam:

  • Was the CCC represented at the Region of Peel official plan?
    --Yes, it was. It was before the corporation was formed.
  • Looking at the CCC newsletter did you author this?
    --it was probably a group effort.
  • In this letter, I read it as a call to war against the gravel industry and that you needed funding?
    --I think war is too strong, but yes we were opposed.
  • Do you recognize this brochure?
    --No, I don’t recognize the name and the phone number isn’t right.
  • What about the signs along the road—no more water, no more fish; do you think it was a fair statement to say no more fish when you knew DFO had signed off on the project?
    -–It was meant to have humour and let them know about the meeting. And actually DFO originally thought there was going to be a harmful alteration and produced a letter from DFO from Christine Stoneman to that effect. The letter was eventually withdrawn and Ms Stoneman was transferred to Winnipeg.

(I think an hour more in cross exam ensued...)