EMSDALE – The prospect of a pit expansion and quarry on Highway 518 had neighbours chomping at the bit, but now they can rest easy.
Township of Perry Council voted down the expansion of the A. Miron Topsoil site that overlooks the Magnetawan River at the October 3 council meeting.
Coun. Jim Cushman declared a conflict of pecuniary interest during discussion on the topic and removed himself from the room for the unanimous vote that defeated the rezoning amendment by recorded vote.
In a written report, municipal planner Jim Dyment of Meridian Planning Consultants advised that council either refuse the zoning bylaw amendment or approve only a portion of the site for aggregate extraction.
Dyment said that there were some issues that were not addressed satisfactorily, such as noise impacts, groundwater testing, a lack of an evaluation of the wetland area adjacent to the site and a lack of any compromise to establish a meaningful separation from the licensed area and the Magnetawan River.
For the majority of council, their reasoning for voting against the rezoning was the proximity to the river.
Mayor John Dunn says there were discrepancies in some of the reports.
“For me personally, the location next to the river does not seem conducive with what we are trying to develop in the Town,” he said.
“As time goes on, we’re hearing more and more about water and how we should protect it,” said Coun. Les Rowley. “I just cannot see blasting going on that close to the river.”
“I feel very strongly that it should not be beside that river,” said Coun. Mary Ann Love. “There are a huge number of places below it.”
Love says there are nature-focused businesses that have had to work around environmental policies and she couldn’t see allowing the pit expansion and establishment of a quarry.
“I absolutely say no,” she said.
Doris Kelly-Capyk of Power Mag, a residents group that was established in opposition to the pit and quarry, said that they were grateful that council respected the residents with their decision, including those who had no idea that there was even a pit on the site.
For Power Mag, the proximity of the pit to the waterway was only part of their reaons for opposing the rezoning. Amongst their issues were the dust, noise and vibrations stemming from the quarry, as well as the increase in truck traffic that would be pulling onto Highway 518.