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|Mega-quarry sparks protests||| Print ||
|Written by Erin Jones|
|Wednesday, 12 October 2011 13:44|
A U.S. company has applied for a license to excavate the largest quarry in Canada in the townships of Melancthon and Mulmur in the County of Dufferin, an hour north of Toronto.
The Highlands Companies, a U.S.-based hedge fund operation out of Boston and Ontario’s largest potato grower, have proposed an open mine pit to excavate $8-billion of limestone, STOP the Quarry volunteer David Waters told thedailyplanet.com.
Waters, an Oakville-area real estate agent, said the proposed mega-quarry would be one-third the size of downtown Toronto (2,400 acres), and 230 feet deep, which is “deeper than Niagara Falls”.
According to the STOP the Quarry Facebook page, Melancthon and Mulmur Townships are situated on the headwaters of the Grand and Nottawasaga rivers -- a source of water for one million Ontarians.
Waters said that he is concerned with the amount of environmental factors involved with the open mine pit.
“That limestone makes these grounds very fertile, it makes it class one farmland,” said Waters of the prime potato-growing region. “If you remove the limestone you can never get the farming operation back to the way it was before.”
Waters said that Highland Companies would have to pump “600,000 liters of water” on a daily basis to run its operation, 25 per cent of daily water use in all of Ontario.
They will be blasting 356 days a year, said Waters.
“There’s going to be about 3,600 hundred trucks going into the quarry, 3,600 trucks leaving the quarry and then we have all these other trucks that are going to be on the roads carrying 400 tons of dynamite,” he added.
Nomegaquarry.com has stated that, “There has been no analysis of the economic impact on the loss of farming jobs to the community, or to the impact of the loss of +2,300 acres of prime agricultural land or its impact on food prices.”
Before this month’s federal election, the Liberal government called for an environmental assessment on the proposed quarry that could take several years, explained Waters.
Lindsay Broadhead, a spokesperson for Highland Companies, told the dailyplanet.com that the firm is aware of the environmental implications, and is “processing under the [environmental] regulatory act right now.”
“It’s not good enough for us,” said Waters. “We would like to have a federal Joint Panel Review of this application.”
A number of STOP the Quarry volunteers will be holding an event on Sunday in Honeywood, Ontario called Foodstock to raise awareness about the mega-quarry, and grab the attention of the federal government.
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