Dear Hon. Minister Wilkinson,
I am writing to you about the proposed mega quarry in Melancthon Township. To be absolutely clear: given it’s size, scale and scope, this mega quarry requires a full Environmental Assessment (EA).
In order to qualify for such an assessment, I understand that the mega quarry must be designated as a “major commercial or business enterprise or activity” under the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA). This designation would be appropriate. The proposed mega quarry would be the largest in Ontario’s history. It would manipulate about 600,000,000 litres of water every day (roughly 100,000 times more than an average “major residential development”), which equates to approximately 25% of all water consumed/used in the Province each day. Honourable Minister, this mega quarry is clearly a major commercial or business activity.
One of government’s most important roles is to protect the interests of our communities and our natural assets. The proposed mega quarry threatens the headwaters of five major river systems in southern Ontario. The mega quarry would excavate an area several hundred feet below the water table, threatening the wells upon which the local population relies for their drinking water. This sort of disregard for the public good is inherently risky and would certainly come under scrutiny during an EA.
The location, size and scale of this development threatens some of Ontario’s finest farmland. The loss of such prime farmland threatens our food security and hurts the local and provincial economy. Such a loss will also affect the natural and cultural heritage of a community with multi-generational farm families. An EA will consider these social, economic and cultural effects of the mega quarry.
I understand that the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is reviewing the mega quarry application under the Aggregate Resources Act. It is not clear whether the MNR has adequate resources or a broad enough mandate to review an application of this magnitude. The EAA was established to deal with undertakings of this kind and provides a process that more adequately and comprehensively deals with a project of this size.
Minister, I know that you take your responsibilities seriously. I encourage you to proceed responsibly and with due diligence by ordering a full Environmental Assessment for the proposed mega quarry in Melancthon Township.
Leader, Green Party of Ontario