‘Protect Mono’ group blankets town with brochure opposing plans for pit

July 30, 2014   ·   0 Comments

By Tabitha Wells – Facing seemingly endless bids to have more aggregate pits in Dufferin County, several concerned Mono residents came together recently to fight the latest proposal by forming Protect Mono, a volunteer-run citizen organization to bring a voice to the fight.

The possible application that sparked this group’s formation will be by Sam Greenwood, who owns Greenwood Construction Ltd. in Orangeville. Recently, Mr. Greenwood acquired 262.95 acres of prime farmland between 3rd and 4th Line east of Hurontario Street, and according to Protect Mono, has confirmed that he plans to get aggregate from these lands.

While the application has not yet been filed, Project Mono says Mr. Greenwood is in the middle of preparing to submit the application.

This past week, Mono’s 8,000 residents and some others in the Orangeville area found a flyer in their mailboxes from the group, explaining what they are about and how they intend to fight the pit, as well as requesting Mono residents to join the fight for an annual family membership fee of $25.

According to the flyer, all donations and membership fees will be “used to fund the ongoing expenses being incurred in retaining legal, planning and other consultants, as well as media, public outreach and other miscellaneous expenses.”

One reason the group is fighting the proposal has to do with its location and how digging there would affect everything and everyone within the region.

Leeanne Farrugia, one of the group’s founding members, told the Citizen Wednesday the response to the brochure “has been terrific,” and a second circular is being planned.

She said about 6,100 copies of the brochure went out to all Mono addresses and some in Orangeville.

Project Mono is encouraging residents to come on board and oppose the aggregate as a community, providing not only strength in numbers, but sending a loud message to those in charge of the approval process that the pit is not wanted.

According to the group’s website, project, a group of concerned neighbours learned that Mr. Greenwood had accumulated two tracts containing a total of more than 260 acres acres of prime farmland  southeast of Violet Hill.

“Mr. Greenwood has confirmed to us his intent to supply aggregate from these lands, and is currently organizing in preparation for an Aggregate License Application,” the website says, adding that the residents had “mobilized very quickly and incorporated under ‘Protect Mono’. Our objective is to oppose an Application as well as prepare for the process involved should an Application be made.”

Mono Deputy Mayor Ken McGhee told the Citizen Wednesday that while he doesn’t know the names of those involved, he understands the opposition is being spearheaded by a couple living on 30 Sideroad near the assembled property.

The website says the two parcels of land in question “are not within a designated aggregate resource area, are surrounded by rural residences and farms and consist of prime farmland.

“They are directly adjacent to UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Niagara Escarpment and Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority plan areas and contain vulnerable water sources. According to NVCA interactive maps, highly vulnerable aquifers are located on the property and nearly the entire area is marked as being a ‘Significant Groundwater Recharge Area’.”

It adds that the properties “are bordered by roads that many families use, to get to and from school each day and due to the significant grades on these roads, loaded trucks will have difficulty reaching/maintaining normal speeds, thus presenting a danger to other traffic.

“Over 70 homes including the hamlet of Violet Hill with its adjacent subdivision between 3rd and 4th Lines … all of which rely on individual wells, will be directly impacted by the many issues such pits impose on their neighbours and the wider community.”

Noting the site’s proximity to Sheldon Creek, the website adds: “This is NOT a local issue which only affects adjacent properties. Gravel pits require significant amounts of water to operate while at the same time removing the very material which acts to purify recharge water. Groundwater is mobile. Wells can be affected at considerable distances from heavy draws and pollution can travel for kilometers from the source. The Ministry of Environment considers gravel pits an ‘anthropogenically-induced groundwater pathway,’ i.e. an unnatural pathway for water.”

One of the group’s members, Dareth Miller, wrote Mono Council in May alerting them to the land acquisition.

His communication brought a reply from Mayor Laura Ryan that Council was not aware of individual property transactions in the town and no formal applications had been made for a zoning amendment. As a result, she said it “would be inappropriatre to comment on or pre-judge an application that has not been made. Every application, including all supporting documentation, must be considered on its own merits, through the required public process.”

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