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Connecting Our Communities

Woolwich puts province on hold for Maryhill pit


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Woolwich’s objection to a Maryhill-area gravel pit is effectively a holding provision on the provincial review of an application by Capital Paving related to a site at 1195 Foerster Rd.

The township’s objection, approved by councillors meeting June 25, is something of a placeholder for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) review of a pit licence bid under the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA).

Having had no time to do a detailed review of the application submitted to the province, Woolwich is in essence ensuring a provincial decision won’t be handed down until the township does its own review of an application submitted to the municipality under the Planning Act.

“Since the proposed zoning by-law amendment application has not been evaluated by staff, and a council position as not been taken on the appropriateness of the Shantz Station gravel pit, the township is not in a position at this time to provide detailed comments on the ARA licence. However, if the township submits a formal letter to the MNRF in objection to the ARA licence, the ministry is put on notice of our concerns and will then withhold approval of the licence until the Planning Act process is completed,” explained Woolwich senior planner Jeremy Vink in a memo to councillors.

“The intent of the resolution and letter to MNR is not that Council is making a final decision on the ARA application at this time. The intent is to notify the MNRF that until the Township has properly reviewed the application through the corresponding Planning Act process and provided formal comments with respect to the concurrent ARA process, Council and staff are not in a position to potentially support the ARA application.”

The public commenting period on the ARA application runs until July 22. With council on hiatus for a summer break and long review of the application to the township forthcoming, Woolwich won’t get to the issue until fall.

Capital Paving plans to extract gravel from a 168-acre portion of the farm property in five stages, progressively rehabilitating the mined areas back to farmland as it moves along, project manager George Lourenco told the Observer. The firm estimates the site contains three million tonnes of aggregate materials. While the pit application is for 500,000 tonnes per year, Lourenco said he expects Capital would remove about half that much annually, meaning the pit would be in operation for 12 to 15 years.


  1. a study in southern Ontario that finds property value losses between 8% to 40% in proximity to pits and quarries.
    Gravel Pits and Stone Quarries can dig a hundred feet or more into the earth – and many stories below the water table! – potentially releasing harmful earth minerals and contaminants and risking leaching into ground source water aquifers.

    Fact: Noise pollution from potentially hundreds of trucks per hour, noise from mining equipment such as rock crushers and excavation equipment can travel for many miles.

    Fact: Dust and fine particulate pollution from gravel trucks and stationary mine operations can travel for many miles.
    Fact: Studies have shown that Property Tax Assessment/ Land values can drop
    by as much as 30% in the vicinity of a pit or quarry, beginning as soon as the
    application for a permit is announced. Profit-seeking corporate pit and quarry
    owners should be willing to compensate home owners for the drop in their property values due to the announcement/operation of their pit. One way this can occur is
    through Full Cost Accounting and Financial Assurance Agreements. If the
    profitability of a proposed mining operation is insufficient to provide such assurances
    and compensation, then it is NOT economically viable and should not be permitted to proceed.

    Fact: Even if you are not in the immediate affected area, your property tax may suffer an increase to cover the shortfall if the municipality is hit with reduced revenues from reduced assessment values of properties in the pit area. Pit operators should accept the principle that these costs should be borne by them, not the neighbouring property owners and municipal taxpayers.

    Fact: Once a pit or quarry is approved, roads – and other infrastructure – may need significant improvement to handle heavy trucks. These costs currently impact ALL municipal property owners/taxpayers.
    Full Cost Accounting when evaluating the economic viability of a proposed operation. Full Cost Accounting means: accounting that recognizes ALL economic, environmental, health, and social costs of an action or decision. This includes negative impacts on property values and municipal revenues. Aggregate operations are not a public service, they are private, for-profit businesses. Local residents and municipalities should no longer be forced to financially subsidize these businesses so they can make huge profits.!!!!! We recognize that gravel is an important resource for infrastructure development, construction, and to some extent for job creation. We believe that Aggregate operations should not be conducted at a NET COST to society; they should provide a NET BENEFIT once all environmental and economic costs are calculated.

  2. hoping our community will come together to make the right decision to maintain our beautiful country community and keep it in its original peaceful, quiet and beautiful farmland . Who is financially benefiting from this transaction besides the owner of the land, capital paving and the township??? property values of opposing properties will be effected, will there be some monetary compensation for them if they are unable to sell their home?. Most of us moved to the country to get away from city living and we should be assured we have the privacy and peacefulness we paid for. No one buys their dream home and has to hear trucks and heavy equipment going all hours of the day. Having a gravel pit in your back yard not only is an eye sore but think of the effects on wildlife, all natural vegetation, top soil and subsoil will be removed to reach the aggregate underneath. Not only does this lead to a loss of existing animal wildlife, it also leads to a huge loss of biodiversity as plants and aquatic habitats are destroyed. Moreover, adjacent eco-systems are affected by noise, dust, pollution and contaminated water

    Pits and quarries disrupt the existing movement of surface water and groundwater; they interrupt natural water recharge and can lead to reduced quantity and quality of drinking water for residents and wildlife near or downstream from a quarry site.

    Most old pits and quarries are not being properly rehabilitated like they promise, drive around cambridge and see how the old abandoned gravel pits look and how the land has been raped of all the natural beauty. when people and communities band together like in conestoga and winterbourne we can deter gravel pits from being in beautiful communities like maryhill which is known for it’s untouched beauty

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