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dropped a bombshell, sending quarry opponents into a frenzy on Wednesday (Nov. 21), when the company declared it has withdrawn its application for a licence to mine 2,316 acres of land for limestone in Melancthon.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