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Soil and crop association opposes

quarry
2011-05-12 / Mailbox

An Open Letter to Mr. Craig Laing, Aggregate Resource Officer Ministry


of Natural Resources
The Georgian Central Region Soil and Crop Improvement Association is
opposed to an aggregate licence being approved for the Highland
Corporation in Melancthon Township. We have many concerns about
the proposed quarry, but our primary concern is the impact on water
supply.

The Georgian Central Region Soil and Crop Improvement Association is


made up of five counties: Grey, Bruce, Dufferin, North Simcoe and
South Simcoe. The mission of our association is to “communicate and
facilitate the economic management of soil, water, air and crops.” Next
to air, water is the most essential element to our survival. Our water
resources, both quantity and quality must be protected! Although this
quarry is planned for only one of our five counties, we are seriously
concerned that many more of us will feel the ramifications of this
initiative.

Despite what the Highland company has said, we believe that this
quarry proposal has the potential to affect the local water supply. As
seen in water taking scenarios, lowering of ground water levels affect
wells on neighbouring properties and surface-water bodies. If built, this
quarry will be over 200 feet deep, well below the water table in this
area. Local farmers are worried that the quarry would permanently
deplete the water table, and that their wells may run dry. How can the
Highland Company have such confidence that they will not impact our
water levels?

In addition to concerns about local water supply, there are concerns for
the water supply for residents downstream of this initiative.
Melancthon is in a key location in terms of large scale watersheds and
water resource systems extending well beyond the municipality’s
boundaries. Being at or near the highest point in central Ontario,
surface water generally flows out rather than into and through it. If
water levels are lowered at the “Dome of Ontario”, the ramifications
could be felt as far away as Hamilton to the South, or Georgian Bay to
the North. This township is at the headwaters of five major rivers: the
Pine, Grand, Nottawasaga, Saugeen and the Beaver. The Grand River
has the largest basin in Southwestern Ontario, being only one of two
rivers flowing into Lake Erie. The Saugeen has the largest catchment
area in the Southwestern part of Ontario and drains some of the
highest lands into Lake Huron. The Nottawasaga drains into Georgian
Bay after having drained vast tracts of land along the escarpment.
Drainage channels at the surface level and underground feed these
river systems. Thus the potential impacts of this quarry will affect
approximately one million Ontario residents downstream of this
township. All of these people rely on these water systems for clean
water. The Highland Company quoted that Melancthon was one of the
sparsely populated areas in Ontario. This may be true, but the waters
that start out in Melancthon are vitally important to a large population
of people. Are we willing to risk jeopardizing the water source for all of
these people and potentially impacting water supplies to fish and
wildlife habitats and wetlands in this area?

We are concerned about implications to the aquifers. Below


Melancthon is the Amabel Lockport-Guelph aquifer. It is described as
one of the most important and productive aquifers in Ontario,
supplying great volumes of pure clean water to the Greater Golden
Horseshoe region. Interestingly, the official plan of the township of
Melancthon recognizes the vulnerability of this aquifer. Towns such as
Fergus, Elora, Guelph, Arthur, Dundalk, Puslinch, Erin, Amaranth and
East Luther source their water from the Amabel- Lockport- Guelph
Aquifer. Again, are we willing to risk jeopardizing the water source for
all of these people?
Not only could the quantity of water be impacted, but the quality could
be affected. Highland has proposed that 600 million litres of
groundwater would be recirculated daily into the underground aquifers
through a series of injection wells. Before recirculation, this water will
be exposed to the quarry process, including residue from the blasting
explosives. We have serious concerns about how this water might be
contaminated by exposure to the blasting and mining process. What
will be the long- and short-term effects of this massive draining and
refilling of the aquifer? Has this been extensively evaluated?

We need to protect our hydrological systems! Once the damage is


done, it will be irreparable! Please provide the leadership required to
protect one million Ontario residents today, and future generations to
come.

Alan Lyons

President

Georgian Central

Region Soil and Crop

Improvement Assoc.