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.