Caledon has many gravel pits. How is a quarry different?
“A pit is an area of land from which unconsolidated aggregate (sand and/or gravel) is being excavated.
Usually much smaller scale operations than quarries.”
“A quarry is an area of land from which consolidated aggregate (solid rock) is being excavated. This excavation often requires blasting and can go below the water table.”
(Definitions courtesy of Gravel Watch Ontario)
Votorantim Cementos*, owner of CBM St Marys, is a Brazilian conglomerate and is proposing to blast and excavate a hole over 80 feet deep and below the water table, situated on 800 acres of forest and farmland in the heart of the Caledon Greenbelt and Greenlands System in Peel.
*referred to as VC/CBM St Marys
The Votorantim Cementos mega quarry proposal is the most devastating environmental threat facing Caledon. For over 100 years, our town has been scarred and desecrated by dozens of aggregate pits, some consuming hundreds of acres, but none can compare to the scale of this blasting quarry. Votorantim Cementos is a Brazilian conglomerate and is proposing to blast and excavate a hole over 80 feet deep and up to 800 acres in size over the next 50+ years in the heart of our community.
This blasting quarry will have a profound impact on the quality of life for thousands of local residents. Noise, blasting fly rock ,dust, truck traffic, well-water issues and diminished property values are some of the issues they can look forward to. When finally depleted, Caledon will be left with a colossal gaping hole in the ground that will still exist 10,000 years from now.
With your help, we can ensure that a license for this quarry is never approved.
Because blasting and excavation will occur below the water table, continuous pumping of millions of litres of water from the pit floor will be necessary. What will be the impact not only on local water supplies but on the entire Credit River Watershed?
The Credit River runs less than a kilometre from the VC/CBM St Marys proposed quarry site and would be the recipient of massive volumes of discharged water. This area of the Credit River is one of the optimal habitats for Brook trout (a Species at Risk) in all of southern Ontario. Originally known as the Missinnihe River, it has long been and continues to be a culturally and environmentally significant river. The river and the communities that border it will be impacted the entire 90 km all the way to Lake Ontario.
Rehabilitation: “the action of restoring something that has been damaged to its former condition” (Oxford Dictionary)
Mature forests and farmland cannot be put back into place.
We are not opposed to aggregate operations. We understand that limestone and gravel are important building materials for the Ontario construction industry.
We are opposed to the location.
Is it sensible to locate a quarry in an environmentally sensitive area, close to the Credit River and the Niagara Escarpment, a designated World Biosphere Reserve?
Does it make sense to locate a blasting quarry near homes?
Much of Caledon is a community of green, clean, quiet, safe and friendly villages and rural areas, a community respectful of our natural and cultural heritage.
A quarry would destroy farmland and the natural environment.
A quarry would negatively affect the use and enjoyment of surrounding lands.
As Peel Region has stated” The Greenlands System was created to ensure that Peel’s natural features and their functions will be preserved over time.”
Blasting is a hazardous activity. The generation of fly rock is the most dangerous aspect of quarry blasting.
Fly rock is the unplanned ejection of rock fragments from blast holes, travelling distances as far as 600 m at speeds of up to 650 km/h.
One of our FCPG directors, Tony Sevelka, has done extensive research on the issue of fly rock risks and below is a link to this complete document. A few relevant points from his paper include:
Fly rock is unpredictable.
There is no technology to identify anomalies in bed rock which can result in fly rock.
Every one of the multiple bore holes in a blasting event is a separate detonation, subject to the risk of fly rock ejection.
Minimum Setbacks from Quarries
Ontario aggregate policies do not require that quarry owners maintain a safe and reasonable setback distance between the mining operations and nearby vulnerable receptors such as homes, schools and roadways. This means that the Caledon quarry could extend to within 30 meters of backyards and roads. Our provincial policies need to be updated for the 21st century. This would include regulations ensuring a minimum of 500 to 1000 m setback between quarries and vulnerable receptors.