The applicant seeking to create a gravel pit near Winterbourne will have to provide more information about the visual impact of the operation after the township found the first study to be wanting.
A peer review of the visual impact study submitted by Kuntz Topsoil, Sand and Gravel having discovered a host of shortcomings, Woolwich will ask the company to address the issues.
Among the findings in the report commissioned by the township, the original study submitted by the applicant failed to assess the visual impact from the perspective of the Grand Valley Trail, the Winterbourne bridge and the historic driving tour that winds through the valley. Nor did the report take into account the height and elevations of stockpiles of extracted and recyclable materials. A number of properties were unaccounted for in determining the views that would be changed if the pit went ahead.
Those and other issues will have to be addressed, director of engineering and planning Dan Kennaley said at Tuesday night’s meeting of council.
Council ordered the peer review last spring following concerns raised by residents. Sitting in a low spot in the Winterbourne valley, the applicant’s site at 125 Peel St. is close to Winterbourne, Conestogo and West Montrose.
The findings were welcomed by residents, who took the opportunity to take aim at the application yet again, highlighting the reasons why the pit should not be allowed to go ahead.
For Isabella Price, a resident of Sunset Drive in Winterbourne, the prospect of the pastoral view being blotted out by a gravel pit is unacceptable.
“It’s a beautiful view. For many of us, this is the primary reason why we live here,”
She took exception with a portion of the report that berms would be an acceptable method to address residents’ concerns about the tainted view, noting they too would block out the countryside.
That sentiment was shared by neighbour Laurie Breed, who argued berms of three or four metres would do nothing to block the view from some vantage points, especially with stockpiles of materials that could reach 20 metres, while simply offering another obstruction while taking part in the historical driving tour through the area.
“Quite simply, berms are not an acceptable solution,” she said.
Conestogo residents, meanwhile, were upset the study doesn’t take into account the impact on that community.
Bill Norris told councillors 17 homes on Golf Course Road have views of the valley that would undoubtedly suffer if the pit goes ahead, not to mention the noise and dust problems that will also come along with the project. He dismissed assertions from township planning staff that there would be no unacceptable visual impact on his and other properties.
“I invite you to come out our backyards and see for yourself,” he said, calling the peer review study incomplete.
While they listened to the public’s input, councillors made no comments about the application because the matter is now a legal issue, having been referred to the Ontario Municipal Board. The process is still at the prehearing stage, and no formal hearing has been set.