Environmental assessment needed for “mega quarry” near Orangeville

Moruya Quarry
Image via Wikipedia

A proposal is currently in the works for a mega quarry just two hours north of Toronto – the heart of southern Ontario, just north of Orangeville.

The quarry would be North America’s second largest if it is to proceed ahead as planned.

One major issue with the plan is that it would be in the middle of prime farmland – some of the best in the province. In fact, it is some of the highest grade of soil we have, and it also sits on top of a large aquifer that provides thousands of people fresh water every day.

If this proposal is to go through, digging the quarry would require the removal of over 600 million litres of fresh water per day, not to mention the loss of such important farmland so close to Toronto.

Over the last few years, The Highland Companies, an American-based organization, bought up old farms and farmland in the area to grow potatoes. Recently, backed by a Boston-based hedge fund called Baupost Group, the company assembled the land and submitted a proposal to dig this mega quarry.

The beauty of the surrounding area – the farmland, trees, prime soil and water – would obviously be adversely affected if this is to go through. But under Ontario law, there is no need for an environmental assessment for this type of proposal.

For more information on the implications of this proposed quarry, see the Green Party of Ontario’s blog on the topic.

If you would like to learn more about the quarry proposal, oppose it, or at least request that an environmental assessment be made, you can do so by adding a comment to the Ministry of Natural Resources’ Environmental Registry page before July 11, 2011.

You could also write John Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment, and ask to designate this project for a full Environmental assessment. A sample letter is available on the GPO website.

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