KAWARTHA LAKES-Two years and two hundred thousand dollars later, after successfully blocking a proposed mega quarry near Bobcaygeon, Ruth Pillsworth and a group of area residents were surprised to learn the owner of the property had filed a new application in an attempt once again to open the same quarry.
‘We are all just dumfounded, couldn’t believe it. We are angry and disheartened.” Pillsworth told Kawartha 411 News. “We’ve come too far, too long, we don’t want to go back, however we will do what we need to do.”
Pillsworth and the group have spent eight years fighting to keep the quarry out of their tranquil, quiet, rural neighbourhood.
The Dewdney Mountain Farm Quarry would be located on Ledge Road. Ledge Road is a meandering, country road with a canopy of trees overhead, green space and plenty of wildlife. At the time the owner was asking for up to 73 tractor trailers per hour, full of rock and stone be hauled from the quarry. That’s more than one truck load per minute that would have to travel down a 5km stretch of road past family homes and at times, kids waiting for the bus.
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 at the time was quoted as saying, “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 one issue remaining, noise mitigation. The quarry originally said they would need to use private property to erect the noise mitigation features such as huge concrete walls and berms. The residents appealed saying they hadn’t given permission for the quarry 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 2018. At the hearing, lawyers for Dewdney presented changes they had made to address the noise that did not require the use of private property. However the hearing officer found on the side of the opponents and the project was once again stalled.
“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.” said the court in it’s ruling. Sight lines and snow removal were also concerns.
A few weeks later lawyers for the quarry filed an appeal of that decision but later they withdrew their appeal and with it any chance of going ahead with the quarry. “We have been instructed by our client not to proceed with our client’s motion for leave to appeal.” said lawyers for Dewdney in a court document obtained by Kawartha 411 at the time.
The new application was received by the planning department of the Municipality of Trent Lakes back in July 2020 and brought forward to council in November. That’s when the residents found out about it and immediately began to mobilize.
“We got the group together again.” Pillsworth says. “We’ve been in touch with our councillors and are very grateful they are doing their due diligence and asking tough questions.”
In this new application the owner of the quarry, Paul Ritchie has reportedly planned to reduce number of truck loads from 73 per hour to 14 per hour, believing this eliminates the need for noise protection for the residents on the proposed haul route.
Councillors are asking whether the change of extraction tonnage has been made on the licence with the MNRF. Council has requested evidence that the reports provided by Dewdney eight years ago still comply with numerous changes in legislation since the original application. They are also asking for a dust report.
Pillsworth says this proposed quarry is 432 acres, this the same size as the entire village of Bobcaygeon.
Trent Lakes council has not yet deemed the application complete. If it is deemed complete in the future, experts will then be hired to review all submitted documents and the residents can proceed to file any objections they have at that time.
We have reached out to representatives of Dewdney for comment but have not yet heard back.
There are already at least 35 quarries in the Bobcaygeon/Buckhorn area.