Mono opposes bid to deepen gravel pit below water table

July 23, 2014   ·   0 Comments

By Tabitha Wells – If St. Marys Cement Inc. wants to dig below the water line at the firm’s gravel pit on Hurontario Street south of 5 Sideroad, they’re going to have to go to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) for approval. At Mono Council on Tuesday, council voted unanimously to reject their application for a proposed major licence (Site Plan) amendment.

The council motion, read to those in attendance at the meeting by Mayor Laura Ryan, outlined several reasons for the objection, including the fact that digging below the water table was not a part of the original approval for the pit.

“Below the water table aggregate extraction was not contemplated on the northern part of the licenced lands under the 1994 OMB decision approving the licence,” read Mayor Ryan.

“The OMB required extraction at 1.5 meters above the water table.”

The objection by council follows the decision made last week by the adjustment committee to defer an application by the Murphy family, owners of the pit,  to adjust the property lines so that St. Marys could continue with the digging of the gravel pit and use more of the property. The pit itself is almost emptied, which means digging below the water level would be the only way to continue obtaining gravel from the site without an expansion.

One of the concerns of local residents was that St. Marys had failed to provide an official plan that would see the implementation of a full berm at the gravel site to prevent the additional noise from carrying over to residents of the area, particularly those on Hurontario Street.

Another concern that was apparent through Mono’s motion, was that when St. Marys received their original approval, it was promised by the company that they would rehabilitate the land into agricultural land within seven to eight years. While they have made the same promise with their new application, moving forward would likely destroy the capability of turning it back into agricultural land.

“The approved rehabilitation plans are for agricultural, which would be compromised by the proposed major (Site Plan) licence amendment,” read Mayor Ryan. “And substantial and significant additional planning and technical concerns remain outstanding.”

This decision will send a sigh of relief through residents who were opposed to the idea, as St. Mary’s will not be able to proceed with their plans until they have gone through the OMB approval process, and that is only if they receive approval from that end.

And as far as where Mono goes from here, the next step will be sending their remarks upwards to make sure the provincial government is aware of their stance.

“The Town Solicitor is hereby directed to write to the Ministry of Natural Resources, with a copy to the applicant, objecting to the major licence (Site Plan) amendment requested by St. Marys Cement (Canada) Inc.”

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