Future Park in the 540-acre Quarry Pit
The park proposed by Nelson for the after-use poses significant problems to the surrounding community and the existing local ecosystems.
The regulations require that a progressive and final rehabilitation plan be prepared, which stipulates vegetated slopes. An after-use proposal requires a separate land use change and amendment applications, once final rehabilitation is complete. Nelson has blasted aggregate from the current below-water-table pit for nearly 70 years, and yet, has made minimal progress with the pit's rehabilitation, except for slope construction, and the eastern pond. The regulations required that the slopes be vegetated - Google photos show minimal vegetation.
The suggestion that the existing quarry will continue to process the extracted natural resources from the new pits will obviously delay the 540-acre quarry’s final rehabilitation for several decades, as per the approved current Site Plan. The proposed park will remain below the water table, thus requiring perpetual pumping, thus adding flooding risks to the park should the pumps fail.
Nelson Aggregate is not committing to construct and pay for the park. This “non-plan” is only conceptual, and leaves other entities to build the park and taxpayers to pay for it. The report fails to explain what the conditions of any partnerships will entail, including the ramifications for the rehabilitation of the area, and for the after-care of all the ecosystems that have become dependent on human intervention for proper functioning (i.e. continuously and forever pumping out water, risks of contamination from fill, rehabilitation, etc.). In addition, based on the reports, the creation of the park is instead of final rehabilitation of the area, as required in law. According to the Aggregate Resources Act and Niagara Escarpment Plan policies, there must be an approved rehabilitation before any other land-use is considered.
An exhausted pit is of no value to an aggregate company, and carries significant costs and liabilities. After exploiting tens of millions of dollars from the destruction of the local landscape, giving the community an abandoned pit is no gift: rather, society gifted Nelson Aggregate the right to extract the mineral resource in the first place. Are we going to give Nelson another 50 years and 124-arces in return for a far-off park?
We already have a park. It's called, the escarpment.