Burlington, ON—An unprecedented coalition of community organizations has rallied in support of the City of Burlington and a Motion to require Nelson Aggregate to update its license application to open a new quarry before proceeding to hearing. Coalition members include Protecting Escarpment Rural Land (PERL), Environmental Defence, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and the Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment.
Burlington’s Motion heard in late July is also supported by Halton Region, the Halton Region Conservation Authority and the Niagara Escarpment Commission. Nelson Aggregate outright opposes it.
“The application process is still in its early stages; a date for the hearing hasn’t even been set. This is the perfect opportunity, and with good reason, to get important environmental approvals in place and update the application,” said Roger Goulet, Executive Director of PERL. “Nelson Aggregate has adjusted this project several times. I don’t see how adjusting the approvals regime in the license application isn’t in the best interest of the community and long term decision making on the Niagara Escarpment.”
“Nelson is not only proposing to open a new quarry, but to process the new aggregate on the old quarry site. This will significantly delay the rehabilitation of the 600-acre industrial site, which has been operating since 1953,” said Sarah Harmer, Co-Founder of PERL. “PERL and the coalition agree with the City, it’s just common sense. This hearing should be about one integrated site, with a comprehensive set of regulations and standards.”
Nelson Aggregate prefers its project to be assessed under outdated policies, some over a decade old such as the 1997 Provincial Policy Statement, instead of the 2005 version.
The City of Burlington contends the license application is incomplete, the issues for the hearing are scoped improperly and that a number of outstanding permit approvals (such as the Ontario Water Resources Act, Environmental Protection Act and Federal Fisheries Act) must be included in the application prior to the hearing. If not, the result may be a lengthy and possibly incomplete hearing or costly appeals process. And with local Council adopting a Motion on March 9, 2009 stating that “no party spends valuable resources or wastes precious time addressing incomplete policies or standards”, there is even greater cause to update the application. As Harmer said, ‘it’s just common sense’.
Nelson also filed a request for Costs against the Parties to the three-day Motion hearing, but did not address the Board. A decision in the complex Motion is expected by the end of summer.
For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds | Environmental Defence | (416) 323-9521 ext. 232 (office) | (647) 280-9521 (cell)
Roger Goulet | Protecting Escarpment Rural Land | (905) 335-4219
PERL is involved in a number of initiatives to help protect the Niagara Escarpment for future generations. By far the biggest threat to the ongoing viability of the ecosystems and cultural heritage on the MT Nemo Plateau is a proposal to open a new 150 acre (82 hectare) open pit mine south of the existing 600 acre quarry. PERL retained Order of Canada architect Douglas Cardinal to help it devise a “Vision for Mount Nemo” that would allow Nemo’s industrial past to be transformed into a sustainable, ecological future.
About Environmental Defence (www.environmentladefence.ca) Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research solutions. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, clean water and thriving ecosystems nationwide, and to bring a halt to Canada’s contribution to climate change.