UR Opinion

Time for Action (ARA Review)

No Mega Quarry

By No Mega Quarry

I helped stop the mega-quarry.

From the moment I read about the aggregate licence application in March 2011, I worked to stop the proposal – 40 to 50 hours per week. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that the mega-quarry proposal was a flawed idea.

The reasons were simple and obvious:
. an entire plateau of prime, working farmland would be jeopardized
. four watersheds/five rivers would be at risk
. a mistake would be irreversible

As I investigated the application my conviction became stronger. I learned:
. that the rivers flow through a huge area – south to Lake Erie, west to Lake Huron and north/east to the Georgian Bay
. that the Melancthon area provides fresh water for one million Ontarians
. that Melancthon farmland is actually Shelburne farmland – farmland that I grew up respecting as worthy competition to Alliston potatoes. It is significant that Alliston’s potato industry has waned under the sprawl of residences and Honda.

My path was clear. I worked together with thousands of other people – people who paid attention, talked up the issue, donated, volunteered, wrote letters, organized amazing events, and did whatever was necessary to garner the spotlight – to startle the proponent into backing down. The application was withdrawn in November, 2012.

However, I am not optimistic that the proponent has seen the proverbial “error of their ways”. I know that the potential for immediate money is hard to resist. Yet, I also know that today’s generation owes it to future generations not to carelessly ruin sources of food and water. It is imperative that we balance today’s demand for aggregate against the future needs of our descendents.

So it is time to get back to work. The government is no longer prorogued. Ontario has a new Premier. It is business-as-usual for the Government of Ontario. Now it is time to complete the review of the Aggregate Resources Act – as promised by the Premier in September 2011; as announced by the Minister of Natural Resources in March 2012; and as committed to by so many people including Mr. David Orazietti, Liberal MPP from Sault Ste. Marie and Chair of the Standing Committee on General Government during the initial ARA Review (now the new Minister of Natural Resources) as well as all of the MPPs who participated on the Standing Committee on General Government, and all the presenters at the five hearing locations (Queen’s Park, Orangeville, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa, Sudbury). A lot of time, money and effort went into the hearings to-date with much knowledge shared and gleaned. It is now time for action.

It is time to prioritize fresh food and clean water before rock. It is time to stop developing aggregate resources at the expense of all else.

It is time for our Representatives to do their best by Ontarians, this generation and next, and complete the Aggregate Resources Act Review.

Contact your MPP, the House Leaders and the Premier to make your opinion known. Food & Water First!

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