Some news from the Council of Canadians:
Dear Council of Canadians members in Ontario,
An enormous open pit mine has been proposed in Melancthon township on Highway 124 just north of Shelburne. The Highland Companies (owned by a Boston hedge fund) has filed an application for a 2,300-acre aggregate mine- it would be the largest quarry in Ontario and the second largest in North America. This is the “rooftop of Ontario” and the Niagara Escarpment runs along its border. The Council of Canadians has been working with local groups to help stop this open pit mine from being created because of the extraordinary impacts it will have on the community, the watersheds, Ontario’s food supply and on the drinking water of more than one million people which originates in this area.
FOOD and WATER vs. PROFIT
The Highlands company started buying farmland in Melancthon several years ago saying they wanted to become the province’s largest potato growing operation- which made sense to local farmers as the area is well known for its particularly high quality soil and micro-climate. About one quarter of all the potatoes eaten in the GTA come from there. After many local farmers had sold their farms –some of which had been in the family for generations- the real motives of the company became apparent. Under that rich and rare soil is a fortune in high quality limestone worth upwards of eight billion dollars. The company now owns around 8000 acres of land and has applied for permission to mine 2400 acres which would make it the second largest quarry in North America. There is little doubt that they intend to excavate the entire 8000+ acres. To do so, Highland will strip off all that precious soil then blast their way down more than 200 feet BELOW the water table.
From the area around the proposed mine site spring the headwaters of river systems that are important drinking water sources for more than one million people downstream. The Nottawasaga River, the Grand River and the Pine River systems will all be threatened by the mine’s 600 million litre per day dewatering pumps. Massive amounts of toxic demolition explosives will be used to smash the limestone and hundreds of dump trucks per hour will enter and leave the site- 24 hours a day, all year round. The company claims that this is all allowable under Ontario’s aggregate extraction laws but those laws couldn’t be more favourable to the industry or more rigged against communities that want to protect their water.
PLEASE GET INVOLVED
Demand an extension to the ridiculously short 45 day period allowed for objecting to the quarry. Click on this link here to send an email to Premier McGuinty asking for a 120 day extension to allow all parties to study the 3000+ page Highlands Company application.
Support our allies: We have been working with the North Dufferin Agricultural & Community Taskforce (NDACT) and the Citizen’s Alliance for a Sustainable Environment (CAUSE) and we ask you to consider supporting them as well. Please visit their websites: www.ndact.com and www.citizensalliance.ca.
Write a letter of objection: Go to the NDACT website for instructions on how to write your letter of objection: www.ndact.com.
Letters must be received by both the MNR and Highlands by April 26, 2011. Easter weekend is on April 22- 25 so please put your letter in the mail today or you can drop your letters off at the Township of Melancthon office (8:30 – 4:30) 157101 Highway # 10, Melancthon, ON in sealed envelopes addressed to BOTH Highlands and the Ministry of Natural Resources. NDACT will arrange for pickup and delivery on or before April 26.
Join the Facebook group: STOP THE QUARRY www.facebook.com/home.php#!/group.php?gid=98096578979.
Participate in the Walk to Stop the Quarry- starting at Queens Park in Toronto on Friday April 22nd at noon and each day until it arrives on April 26th in Melancthon township. Come for any part of any section or come and walk the whole way! For more details: www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=217379224946300.
If you have any questions about writing a letter or joining the Walk to Stop the Quarry, please contact Mark Calzavara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-208-7156.
Once again, please click here to ask Premier McGuinty to extend the comment period until Aug 26th.
Your attention and support will make a difference in this campaign.
Disclaimer: this is not an official opirg mcmaster sponsored event, and is posted for information purposes only. Please contact the event organizers with any questions or concerns.