Olympia gets its aggregate licence “within a high groundwater vulnerability area...a significant risk level area”

In a written decision made available on November 26th, 2015, OMB Hearing Officer Susan Schiller granted Olympia Sand and Gravel its licence to extract aggregate at the Melville Pit, to be issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF).

During the July 13-24, 2015 OMB Hearing, air quality concerns and loss in property values of adjacent lands were presented by residents as arguments against the licence application - to no avail.

However OMB Adjudicator Schiller appeared to find CAMP's evidence about water taking persuasive as presented by its Planner Anthony Usher, based on evidence from Dr Ken Howard, an internationally recognized hydrogeologist.

Currently aggregate washing at this site will require a permit to take water (PTTW) which is issued by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (OECC) and the OMB does not have jurisdiction to determine whether a PTTW should be issued or not.

Should the water permit not be issued, Olympia will be restricted to dry extraction only. At a community meeting after the OMB Hearing, Eric Gillespie CAMP's lawyer pointed out that - if there was no washing permitted on site, the commercial viability of the mining operation would be questionable as the aggregate here is of low quality and requires washing.

Susan Schiller's written decision notes that the pit is "within a high groundwater vulnerability area, a significant risk level area, a significant groundwater threat area and a significant recharge area" according to the CTC Source Protection Plan.

For CAMP water taking has been a major objection to the licence application in view of water shortage in the area. In addition the organization believes that an endangered species, the Jefferson Salamander, makes its home in wetlands in the Melville Pit area.

This spring with the assistance of experts CAMP is mounting a campaign to find DNA evidence of Jefferson Salamander breeding habitat here.

By the terms of the OMB decision the pit will be monitored by a public liaison committee made up of 2 CAMP members, 2 nearby residents, 2 Town of Caledon representatives, 1 member each from Peel Region, MNRF, and CVC who will have technical support and equal access to all documents and studies required for the job. The committee should be up and running by Spring - 6 months after the granting of the licence.

The link to the online decision is awkward.
http://www.omb.gov.on.ca/english/eStatus/eStatus.html
 >select "C" in alphabetical list >select "Caledon" in list>select PL 140079
for the pdf/word document.

Access the following links for background information:
CAMP claims ‘victory' as OMB approves Melville pit  

The community organization CAMP [Citizens Against the Melville Pit] has filed an appeal with the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB)

Olympia Pit gets Caledon Council Approval