Zombie Quarry Stalks Burlington's Escarpment
In 2004 Nelson Aggregate applied to blast a new quarry on Mt. Nemo on the escarpment in Burlington.
This application was opposed by the City of Burlington, Halton Region, the Niagara Escarpment Commission and the Halton Conservation Authority. After an eight year process, involving millions of taxpayer's dollars spent fighting this application, Nelson's new quarry was denied, on October 11, 2012 by the Ontario Office of Consolidated Hearings.
Residents breathed a sigh of relief. They believed the new-quarry was dead.
Seven years pass...and Nelson Aggregate is bringing their plan-for-more-pits back from the dead. This time, they've applied for two new quarries, totaling 124 acres of blast area (in addition to the 540 acres Nelson has already quarried). One of these sites is in almost exactly the same place as the site denied in 2012. The other, is at Burlington Springs Golf Club off Cedar Springs Road.
Nothing has changed as far as the sensitivity and ecological importance of the lands that make up Burlington's UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve go...and nothing has changed regarding how the public feels about additional quarries here.
Perhaps you'll agree with the folks back in 2012 and with us now: NO MORE NEW QUARRIES on Burlington's Mt. Nemo. This new application from Nelson Aggregate must be denied, as it was eight years ago.
What was a bad idea then, is still a bad idea.
Original Artwork by Alan Li
A Note From Sarah Harmer:
Singer-songwriter & eco-warrier
I regret to have to address the magnificent Mount Nemo in the context of current water and biodiversity conservation, but just seven years after government opposed and denied Nelson Aggregate’s quarry proposal on Mount Nemo, the company is trying again. Nelson Aggregate has just informed the public that they are going to once again attempt to get permission to scalp huge sections of our UNESCO World Biosphere mountain top. I probably don't have to tell you that Mount Nemo is full of complex and rich ecosystems. Significant wetlands, grasslands, prime agriculture and forests abound, many with legal protections. Not to mention the Eastern White Cedars here that are some of the oldest trees east of the Rocky Mountains.
Nelson Aggregate wants to expand indefinitely and continue to gut the core out of this precious fountainhead.
'Nemo' is Latin for ‘nobody’. This place belongs to all of us, not just to a company that chooses rich headwaters (recognized by the United Nations no less!) to pulverize into uniform crushed stone. As the late Toni Morrison said, “We’ve got to keep asserting the complexity and originality of life.”
This one corporate neighbour has industrialized Mount Nemo since the 1950’s and is going to try again to license previously denied land and new areas, putting large swaths of biodiversity, air quality, and well water at grave risk.
Ancient Eastern White Cedars on Mt. Nemo on Burlington's Escarpment. These precious trees are 3.1kms from a new open-pit mine being proposed by Nelson Aggregate.
Photo by: Alan Li.
Here is a link to the Joint Agency Review Team (JART) Report on Nelson Aggregate’s original quarry proposal from 2009. The JART team was made up of experts from all levels off government (City of Burlington, Region of Halton, Niagara Escarpment Commission, Conservation Halton, Ministry of Natural Resources) who, after years of study, determined that the proposal was unsupportable. The Executive Summary is a good place to start to see why our government agencies opposed this bad idea. Blast below water table in a prime headwater area? For crushed stone? Millions of public dollars were spent in a 15-month long hearing to uphold good planning, laws and policy. The quarry application was denied by the provincial Joint Board in 2012.
While their new announcement is currently short on details, Nelson Aggregate say they want to re-apply to license some of the same lands that were already denied in 2012. They want to move closer to Significant Woodlands and Significant Wetlands that are vulnerable to being drained from below. Citizens and our government representatives must understand the recent past, nip this bad idea in the bud, and make sure we continue to support good planning, and the land and water that ultimately support us all.
August 16, 2019
(reprinted with permission from a Facebook post for: Protecting Escarpment Rural Land - PERL)
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