Citizen activism DID stop the quarry

There are times, like this one, when concerted action by concerned citizens can made a difference in the political process. Remember the Foodstock event last summer? That was one of many citizen actions that led to this result:

From Orangeville.com, Nov. 21, 2012:

Photo via Orangeville.com

“Melancthon isn’t destined to become a mining town, at least not anytime soon.

The Highland Companies dropped a bombshell, sending quarry opponents into a frenzy on Wednesday (Nov. 21), when the company declared it has withdrawn its application for a licence to mine 2,316 acres of land for limestone in Melancthon.

“They thought they could just blow into Melancthon,” exclaimed Carl Cosack, chair of the North Dufferin Agricultural Community Taskforce (NDACT). “You can’t force something on a community of this nature without having repercussions.”

In February of 2011, The Highland Companies filed the largest aggregate extraction application to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) in the province’s history.  Local residents soon brought forward a bounty of environmental concerns and quickly rallied together in fierce opposition to Highland’s plans.

Concerned the province’s Aggregate Resources Act (ARA) wouldn’t be sufficient to protect farmland and water resources from such a large application, residents, community groups, along with environmental agencies and advocates from across Ontario began demanding an environmental assessment (EA) be ordered.

At first, it didn’t appear that EA was forthcoming.

One particular remark from then-Natural Resources Minister Linda Jeffrey served to stoke the fire. She reportedly told Melancthon council the township could gain a golf course after Highland was done with the land.

The provincial government later, in September of 2011, ordered Highland’s proposal to be subject to an environmental assessment (EA). Ever since then, all seemed to be quiet on the Highland front, until Wednesday.

“It has just become increasingly clear that there just isn’t sufficient support to move forward with the approval process,” said John Scherer, principal of The Highland Companies. “We made a business decision, The Highland Companies did, that the right thing to do is to pull the application.”

That lack of support, Scherer explained, relates back to both the community and the provincial government. Asked whether Highland, which was still in the “preliminary stages” of the EA process, discovered its plans weren’t environmental viability, Scherer said that has never been the case….”

Read more on Orangeville.com

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Citizen activism DID stop the quarry

  1. Peter

    On the left, we have the rule of a crowd, group, community, society, which is subject to change, depending on the whim of that collective – Hence they are whimsical and uncertain – imo it perpetuates conflicts which are often rooted in emotion (usually fear) – It is emotional, illogical, and subjectively fair.
    On the right, we have the rule of law, the administration of our individual rights and freedoms – Hence grounded and certain. Imo, it promotes peace through mutual respect of our individual rights – it is mental, logical, and objectively and universally fair.
    Are we really so evolved that we are able to perceive objectively, or must we continue to cherry pick depending on our subjective whims/perspective/wishes?
    Don’t get me wrong… subjectively I am not in favor of the mega quarry. But then I’m also not in favor of a local community or a society at large dictating to me that I can’t have raw milk, or be mandated to have a bathtub tub in my house… It is a double edged sword.
    IMO, the solution is the proper and effective enforcement of property rights. As such, allow the company to build a pit. But if/when such an endeavor adversely affects neighboring property, or otherwise impedes on the rights or liberty of others, then that company is liable. Giving them permission (license) to trespass on others is, imo, the root of the problem.
    I would suggest that we stop being confused or showing our confusion by cheering on the virtues of mob rule (democracy), however well intentioned, while at the same time wondering if we’ve “got freedom?” when a mob is telling us what we can or can’t do on our own.

  2. Peter

    I’ve heard that the majority of quarries in Ontario are predominantly idle… that there isn’t sufficient demand for existing stock. Hauling gravel and stone long distance is very expensive. If that is the case, what, in reality, is/was the business plan? I am wondering what changed. I am more likely to believe that the economics of this project/business plan had something to do with the canceling of the project. In the mean time, all the activists claim it was their work that stopped it. Perhaps it did… But is that objectively true? The beautiful thing about freedom is that we can choose to believe whatever we want to believe, so long as we don’t trespass on the rights of others🙂

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