The McCormick Pit

 Blueland Farms, a privately owned property development company located in London Ontario, purchased the 100  acre McCormick Farm in 2004. The company immediately began to prepare studies as supporting documentation for its below-the-watertable licence application to the Ministry of Natural Resources to extract aggregate at 17736 Heart Lake Road in Caledon. Blueland Farms submitted the proposal to MNR in February 2010 but did not act on it and allowed it to lapse two years later in early 2012.

In February 2013 the developer submitted an amended version of the original licence proposal with supporting documents and studies to the Town of Caledon in order to receive necessary amendments to the Town Plan and its by-laws that would enable Blueland to once again apply for an aggregate licence from MNR in the future.

Amendments to Caledon's Official Plan and The Niagara Escarpment Plan

Caledon's Official Plan will have to be amended in order to redesignate the subject property from Rural Area to Extractive Industrial Area B to permit a mineral aggregate resource extraction use (gravel pit) below the watertable as well as accessory uses - crushing, screening, washing, stockpiling and recycling of asphalt and concrete material.

The Niagara Escarpment Plan will also have to be amended to redesignate the site from Escarpment Rural Area to Mineral Resource Extraction Area.

Blueland Farms McCormick Pit Operation

The licence, if granted, will have no time limit and the operation will be dependent solely on the fluctuations of the marketplace. If granted, Blueland operations will:

  • extract aggregate at 135 feet below grade and 75 feet below the watertable
  • remove mineral aggregate at 875 tonnes per hour/ 10,500 tonnes per day/1,500,000 tonnes per year
  • add 80 more trucks an hour to Caledon roads during peak operation
  • operate six days a week, spring, summer and fall, weekdays 7am-7pm, Saturdays 6am-3pm
  • release particulate substances into the air composed of dust and chemicals, some that pose a danger to human and animal health
  • raise noise levels on Heart Lake Road by 10-15 decibels which according to the Ministry of Environment will have a very significant impact
  • require an on-site dedicated well to wash 1.5 million tonnes of aggregate per year
  • require 50,000 litres of water per day to wash gravel
  • require 86,400 litres per day to abate dust if best practices are followed
  • entirely remove the environmental services of 64 acres of eco-sensitive landscape in an already highly threatened area
  • leave, when aggregate deposits are exhausted, a 27 acre body of water, exposing the aquifer below - in perpetuity

Asphalt and Cement Recycling Plant as an Accessory Use

RecyclingIf the licence would be granted, Blueland Farms reserves the option to apply for a cement and asphalt recycling plant on this site which would operate during the life of the aggregate mine.

Stockpiles of material will be processed 30 metres from water bodies and two metres above the watertable within the plant site in "scrap heaps" which will be removed on an ongoing basis.  The material will be separated from its structural metal content.

  • Additional impact on traffic patterns and volume are missing
  • Additional risks to air quality and noise pollution have not been factored into the assessment that currently exist for aggregate extraction
  • There's minimal discussion about leaching of toxic heavy metals into the watertable from stockpiled and processed materials

Environmental scientists categorize storage and accumulation of asphalt and related materials as a form of landfill requiring appropriate site preparation and management practices. This assessment is entirely absent from the proposal.

McCormick and the Big Picture

The proposed McCormick Pit would be an extension to a corridor of 3800 acres of properties containing licenced pits that sits on two vulnerable aquifers. This is the juncture of three significant land masses, the Niagara Escarpment, the Oakridges Moraine and the Paris-Guelph Moraine as well as four subwatersheds. The environmental cost of this development is monumental and Caledon is in danger of seriously compromising its water supply. Each additional property for gravel extraction in this corridor adds to the risk.

Waters that originate here feed tributaries that enrich southern water supplies but regulations prevent Greenbelt communities like ours from importing water from the south if wells run dry. Unlike Great Lakes communities whose local water supplies no longer support them, Greenbelt communities are obliged to be self sufficient. Piping water from Lake Ontario to municipal reservoirs is not an option.

Environmental scientists are telling us if this trend continues the resilience of our ecosystems will be overwhelmed. When it's gone, it's gone!

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