On May 15, 2020 Nelson Aggregate applied for two new open-pit mines in Burlington’s UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere: one to the south, and one to the west of their seven-decades long current quarry operation. The western site is less than 3km from the gates of Cedar Springs, on the Burlington Springs golf course.
The destructive effects of open-pit mining are well-documented, and indicate far-reaching implications for the quality and safety of air and water, for dangers arising from increasing heavy-truck traffic on rural roads, and for the permanent destruction of ecologically valuable green-lands.
Burlington has endured a previous lengthy application process from Nelson: in 2004 a similar application was made, and ultimately denied by the Ontario Joint Board.
The current application is under review by the City to determine IF it is complete. Once it is deemed ‘complete’ the City will then ask for ‘official comments’ from the public, which must be submitted by hard-copy letter. There will be a narrow time-window during which these letters must be mailed, otherwise they will not be counted. Nelson Aggregate must respond to every official letter. The letters are then submitted to the Joint Agency Review Team, which reviews materials and reports to the Provincial LPAT (formerly the Ontario Municipal Board) where the final decision is made. It’s very important to have as many official letters opposing the quarry as possible. These DO make an impact on the decision makers. During the last ‘quarry fight’ over 400 letters were submitted. We want to surpass that number this time around.
It’s not yet known when the City will call for the official letters, though this is expected this summer. When the call comes I will let you know, and ask that every member of Cedar Springs submit a letter. The club should also write on behalf of CSCC.
The review process by the Joint Agency Team could take two years. During that time lawyers and experts on both sides will make the case for and against the two new quarries. Provincial legislation is seriously biased towards the aggregate industry. This is going to be a very tough fight to win.