Wednesday, September 21, 2011

MAQ Quarry Update


MAQ quarry

Background
In 2006, M.A.Q. Aggregates Inc (MAQ) applied under the Aggregate Resources Act for a Class A, Category 2 license to extract aggregate from below the water table on approximately 61 ha of a 100 ha property located just within the eastern boundary of Grey County in the former Osprey Township now part of Grey Highlands (see location on Grey County map in sidebar). After consultation with the MNR, the extraction area has been reduced to approximately 40 ha. MAQ proposes to extract one million tones of aggregate per year. MAQ studies, reports and peer reviews are available on the Grey County website.

The proponents have appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, under the Planning Act,  against the failure of the Council of the County of Grey and the Municipality of Grey Highlands to amend the official plans to redesignate and rezone the subject lands. After a few prehearings, the hearings began in earnest on August 10, 2011 and will likely continue into October of this year. Grey Matters, a recently incorporated local citizens group is contesting the quarry application. Donnelly Law is representing Grey Matters. GABP has party status and is being well represented by Peggy Hutchison.

Issues
The site is in close proximity to the existing Walker quarry and adjacent to the proposed Walker extension. It is in the area of a provincially significant wetland, the Rob Roy Wetland Complex. The presence of significant woodland and threatened and endangered species and significant wildlife habitat add to the list of potential negative impacts of quarrying in this location.
To see a more detailed description go to the Grey Matters website.

GABP’s issues list:

  1. What are the risks associated with quarrying below the water table and have these risks been adequately considered and mediated?
  2. Are the remediation measures consistent with the precautionary principle?
  3. How will quarrying impact the Provincially Significant Wetlands and adjacent lands?
  4. Is the Adaptive Management Plan adequate and is it enforceable? How will monitoring and enforcement issues of shared jurisdictions for groundwater and surface water be resolved between two Conservation Authorities?

To see the complete issues list of all opposition parties, click here.

Current News
The proponents’ side has completed its arguments and been cross-examined by lawyers for Grey Matters. Peggy has taken advantage of the opportunity to ask questions of the witnesses on a few occasions. The Board has heard from the MAQ hydrologist, hydrogeologists, karst expert, groundwater modeling expert, biologist, naturalist, transportation engineer, an MNR supervisor and the MAQ planner. The next round begins on Monday September 26 and will consist of the evidence from the expert witnesses for the opponent, Grey Matters, beginning with Wilf Ruland (hydrogeologist) and Daryl Cowell (karst expert). The proponents’ expert evidence, which predicts “no negative impact” in the long term, will be called into question.  As Board Chair, Susan Campbell, stated in her decision on the Rockfort Quarry, "... a proponent of development has the onus of demonstrating no negative impact. Objectors to a development need not demonstrate that there will be negative impact."


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