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HomeNewsQuarry opponents win appeal, halting mega quarry

Quarry opponents win appeal, halting mega quarry

KAWARTHA LAKES-A group of residents caught up in a David versus Goliath battle to stop a mega quarry near Bobcaygeon have won an appeal aimed at putting the brakes on it.

The Dewdney Mountain Farm Quarry would be located on Ledge Road. Ledge Road is a meandering, country road with a canopy of trees overhead and plenty of wildlife and a proposed number of up to 61 tractor trailer trucks per hour, full of rock and stone from the quarry.

A group of about 11 residents in the area have been fighting the quarry for years. They’ve spent about $200,000 of their own money to try and stop it.

The quarry was approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources in 2012 and the Municipality of Trent Lakes (Galway-Cavendish Harvey at the time) voted in favour of an Official Plan Amendment to allow for the zoning for the Quarry. The one, lone dissenter was councillor Bev Matthews who is now the Mayor of Trent Lakes. “No one is happy when they hear news of another quarry coming to our area.” Matthews told Kawartha 411 in March. Our roads, safety, and our quiet sanctuaries are all compromised.  We know that quarries are needed, we all use the products that come from rocks but when is enough, enough?” 

The quarry was all but approved with this one lone appeal pending. At issue was the noise mitigation. The quarry originally said they would need to use private property to erect the noise mitigation features such as huge concrete walls.  The residents appealed saying they hadn’t given permission for the company to use their property.  The courts agreed, sending the issue back to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Three days were set aside for the hearing with the Ontario Municipal Board in March. At the hearing, lawyers for Dewdney presented changes they had made to address the noise that did not require the use of private property.

The new proposal was reflected in a concept drawing which was introduced in evidence at the hearing. “The concept of mitigation being advanced by Mr. Hofbauer (a witness for Dewdney)was depicted on a concept drawing. It was a generic piece of work. It was not reflective of any particular section of the road, either in its present state or as it may be reconstructed and it was bereft of any detail of topography or built form on the abutting property,” stated the decision.

“It’s ridiculous, it’s a concrete wall 324 feet long by 11.5 feet high” opponent Becki Jory said when she saw the revised proposal at the first day of the Ontario Municipal Board hearing. Jory lives on Ledge Road.

The witness allegedly also agreed that in the ammended plan there would have to be breaks in the armourstone noise cancelling walls where driveways were located. Where there are breaks in the wall, it could be expected that a sound energy measurement as a result of the openings would be on the order of 1 decibel greater than what was predicted the hearing heard. “It wasn’t at all clear that the table which he produced showing the resultant modelled noise impacts at the various affected sensitive receptors made allowance for this additional energy. Given that he was clear that he was not working from final road designs and the fixing of the driveway locations, the values on the table could only be theoretical.”

Furthermore the witness essentially agreed that sound level values shown on the table for the new plan, if augmented by a further decibel would in every case exceed the recommended noise limit.

“The evidence tendered by the Proponent in this proceeding falls well below the standard necessary to satisfy the Tribunal that the required noise mitigation works are feasible and capable of implementation so as to achieve the required noise attenuation objectives and also not creating ancillary undue impacts either as such impacts may relate to the functioning of the road itself or the use and enjoyment of the properties abutting thereon.”

Sight lines and snow removal were also concerns.

There are already 35 quarries in the Bobcaygeon/Buckhorn area. At its peak, the proposed quarry could have up to 61 big rigs per hour hauling rock and stone from the site. (6 days a week) That’s one tractor trailer per minute, on average. Pillsworth says 80% of those would go through Bobcaygeon and the rest toward Buckhorn. “How is that going to affect our beautiful little village?” Ruth Pillsworth, one of the opponents, said.

That “beautiful little village” is safe, for now. “Having come to the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence at the present time to be assured that there will be efficacious noise mitigation to the affected sensitive receptors on Ledge Road and Quarry Road, and that policy compliance requires such assurance, the Tribunal cannot, in the public interest, authorize the use of the Site for quarry purposes” cited the decision. “The Zoning Amendment cannot be approved at this time.”

“Justice has prevailed!!” Pillsworth told Kawartha 411 after the decision.

The decision leaves the door open for Dewdney to apply for a zoning amendment again, with a new plan at some point in the future.

“Therefore, to the extent that the Proponent is able to develop a feasible noise mitigation plan that the Municipality will agree to implement and which will satisfy the determined recommendations as to noise attenuation without creating consequential adverse impacts, nothing in this Decision should be taken to prejudice any fresh application for zoning amendment for the Site to permit its use as a quarry.”

Opponents say that isn’t as easy as it sounds and there will be a lot of hoops Dewdney will have to jump through first.

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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