KAWARTHA LAKES-A determined group of homeowners in Trent Lakes has blocked a mega quarry haul route from their idyllic country roads for the second time.
On Tuesday Trent Lakes council voted unanimously to oppose the use of Ledge and Quarry Roads just outside of Bobcaygeon as a haul route for Dewdney Mountain Farms quarry.
A motion was put forth by Deputy Mayor Armstrong opposing the use of the roads after it was recently determined that part of the proposed haul route included a “forced” road which is a publicly-used existing roadway on private land. A forced road does not provide the required 66 feet for the passage of tractor-trailers.
The homeowners have been fighting the quarry for ten years and have spent $400,000 of their own money.
The Dewdney Mountain Farm 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 at the time. 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 land is 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 of the original application the owner was asking for up to 73 tractor-trailers per hour, full of rock and stone to be hauled from the quarry. That’s more than one truckload 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 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 the 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 its 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.
Again the homeowners vowed to fight.
“We got the group together again.” Pillsworth stated in December 2020. “We’ve been in touch with our councillors and are very grateful they are doing their due diligence and asking tough questions.”
And by a stroke of good luck, a new homeowner came to town with a game-changing revelation.
David P and his partner moved to Ledge road about six months ago. When they purchased the home their lawyer informed them it was on a “forced” road. In August he made a presentation to council about the forced road and its’ implications for the proposed haul route.
“It appeared they were surprised,” David told Kawartha 411 today. It doesn’t give them enough road to run the trucks, they have the right to be on the “carriage pass” and nothing beyond that.”
David White, the lawyer representing Dewdney Farm at today’s meeting asked council for time to have another survey done and to give council time to look into fixing the issues with the forced road.
“We understand the township has retained Brian Zeman and he is an expert on aggregate resource matters.” said David….”Our request is that council sit tight and not do anything until they have received Mr Zemans report.”
In the new application the owner of the quarry, Paul Ritchie planned to reduce number of truck loads from 73 per hour to 14 per hour, believing this would eliminate the need for noise protection for the residents on the proposed haul route.
But Trent Lakes council didn’t agree passing a motion saying that allowing a haul route for 14 trucks an hour to be constructed on a municipal roadway that goes through a residential neighbourhood was be precedent-setting in the municipality and the volume of industrial truck traffic is incompatible with residential use of the road. They also found the route would negatively impact the health and safety of residents.
In a unanimous vote council declared that it does not support the proposed haul route utilizing any portion of Quarry or Ledge Roads and recommends the applicant propose an alternative haul route.
“Yahoo” screamed the residents when contacted by Kawartha 411. “We are in disbelief.”
“The tenacity of this group is unparalleled,” said David “We are a community for sure.”
“We are thrilled with their support and that they are listening to us,” said Ruth Pillsworth.
‘We really appreciate this new council and their professionalism, care of community and sticking to the facts in front of them.” added David.
Now they are going to party!
For more on the background of this story click the links below: