County OP may tackle bids for pits, quarries

March 26, 2014   ·   0 Comments

By James Matthews – Dufferin County’s Official Plan may have measures to ensure it has a voice regarding large-scale pit and quarry developments inside its boundaries.

The county’s Official Plan Steering Committee met in Orangeville on Tuesday to discuss some issues as part the plan’s overview. They adopted a revised meeting schedule for the Official Plan project’s second stage.

A draft of the Official Plan will be circulated April 3, followed by a technical committee meeting and community stakeholder focus groups on April 7. Local municipal councils will be able to review the draft starting that day until April 28.

On April 10, the committee will report to the whole county council.

April 29 will be the last day to submit comments in advance of a joint council workshop to start May 1 before the committee is to report back to the county council May 8.

The committee will also determine if the draft could be rolled out to the public during a pair of open houses, the first in Shelburne on May 21 and the second May 22 in Orangeville.

Regarding aggregate resources and the development of pits and quarries, the committee discussed the possibility that projects greater than 250 acres in scope would require county Official Plan amendment. That includes the expansion of existing pits and quarries.

“That brings the county into it in a meaningful way,” said Sonya Pritchard, the county’s chief administrative officer. “It expands county interest beyond just roads.”

Recently, there’s been concern expressed about the proposed 200-acre Melville gravel pit about one kilometre south of Orangeville. That land parcel is equal to 220 football fields in size. Currently, the area is farmland.

The proponents, a company called Olympia Sand and Gravel Ltd., hope to extract as much as 1.2 million tonnes of aggregate each year. Should it begin extraction, the Melville pit will be the third largest in Caledon – this, the area where Ontario’s largest pit is located.

It was also suggested the county should have a say in the number of heavy vehicles associated with aggregate shipping to access its thoroughfares. High heavy traffic could mean increased wear and tear to county roads.

If a municipality approves aggregate development less than 250 acres with no county input, that could entail as many as 200 large trucks daily traversing county roads. And the county will foot the bill for such infrastructure maintenance.

“For that reason, the county should have input regarding traffic levels,” said County Councillor John Oosterhof, the mayor of Grand Valley.

Melancthon Mayor Bill Hill, the current warden, agreed. He said that many trucks a day on a number of roads would have a detrimental impact.

County Councillor Allen Taylor, mayor of East Garafraxa, suggested the county’s interest regarding aggregate materials extends farther.

He said importing fill from outside the county and shifting fill from within its borders could change the region’s topography. Deviating an area’s topography may alter its drainage patterns, he said.

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