Melancthon Quarry and Lessons from Site 41

This mega-quarry financed by a Boston company proposes to create a massive crater reaching twice the depth of Niagara Falls, on the ‘roof of Ontario’ as tonnes of rock will be blasted away for use in construction. It affects about 2,316 acres, which is more than 9 square kilometres and displaces existing agricultural uses. Even more alarming, the quarry “below water level” affects five major Ontario watersheds. The proposal calls for numerous pumps to run continuously – in perpetuity – to “manage” millions of litres of ground water. Water quality for about a third of Ontario’s population could potentially be impacted.

In other words, the foreign-funded commercial mining enterprise reaps the benefit of maximum extraction and profit during a finite lifespan while Ontario residents are expected to assume all the risk of unknown, possibly unforeseen, consequences without limit.

Ask for an Environmental Assessment by July 11

Remarkably, there is no legal requirement for an Environmental Assessment because the project comes under the Aggregate Resources Act. When I first wrote about it, the deadline for public comment was rapidly approaching. The date has now been extended to July 11. Concerned? You can contact the Environment Minister and request that he subject the plan to a full Environmental Assessment. Comments can be made online at the Environmental Registry. Aware Simcoe provides background information and a link to the Environmental Registry at “Call for public to provide input

The long grassroots struggle to prevent the creation of a dump at Site 41 showed us that…

  • The commercial and political advocates for a project are among the last to recognize environmental hazard and public risk.
  • A healthy dose of scepticism is appropriate for scientific and technical data justifying a project. The technical report, commissioned and paid for by the County, endorsing the safety of a Site 41 dump has never been made public. Simcoe County Council has reportedly budgeted up to $100,000 in legal costs to ensure it is never revealed. Some people doubt its existence.

Meanwhile, research sponsored by opponents of the dump discovered that water below Site 41 is inexplicably cleaner than the water contained in 4,000 year old Arctic ice cores. A new plan to establish a water research facility on the site has been suggested to Simcoe County (see Pure Water, Naturally) to discover what natural processes produce this surprising result.

We know from the experience at Site 41 that there is far more we need to know and understand about ground water before tampering with this delicate and mysterious environmental process. We also know that, once disturbed, it will be virtually impossible to undo the damage. Simcoe County is spending about $2 million in ‘remediation’ to undo dump preparations at Site 41. We were lucky there. Could we be that lucky in Melancthon Township?

Published earlier: Mega Quarry = Mega Controversy