Council does not appear to be interested in taking a long term view of the application for new quarrying licenses in the Escarpment

City Council was given a thorough report on what was involved in the Nelson Aggregate application for new licenses; one to quarry on land to the west of the current site and another to quarry on land to the south.

Quarry map

The shaded area are where Nelson Aggregates want to expand.

The information Council was given was more in the way of background – nothing was going to happen for a couple of years – other than the preparing and issung of a number of technical studies.

This part of the process was expected to cover several years.

What became clear during the meeting was that while the quarries were in Burlington proper, the city was certainly not going to have the last word – they would be lucky to have much to say at all.

The Regional government was going to spearhead the messaging while the JART – Joint Application Review Tribunal would do all the initial review of the document – which comprised of thousands of pages of technical data.

All that data and the summary of them would get presented to Burlington, the Region of Halton, the Niagara Escarpment Commission and the provincial Ministry that oversees the operation of mineral extraction operations, they would all be expected to weigh in on what it would all mean to the city.

The NEC and the Ministry are what count.

The document that held the most information for everyone at Council was a Process Time Line that sets out who is going to do what and when.

Quarry time line

What was entirely overlooked at the Burlington Council meeting was the long term Nelson Aggregate intention to turn the quarried out properties to the city who could then turn them into a huge public park.

This council did not seem to want to take a long term look – the focus seemed to be the impact the application might have on the 2022 municipal election.

The Escarpment is seen as sacrosanct – no housing developments except for maybe something very very small in the three settlement communities of Lowville, Kilbride and Mt Nemo.

Golf courses are OK with the residents – the accepted community norm is that those people who can afford five and ten acre properties on which they can build relatively large homes are more than welcome.  Gated driveway are acceptable architectural features.  If you don’t fit into that demographic – then the Escarpment just isn’t for you.

16 Rendering of bowl Golf club or main quarry

The existing quarry on the north side of Side Road # 2 is close to being mined out. Rehabilitation is currently already underway. When completed there will be a swimming area, paths and park area with acres of land to roam around on.

That Burlington is going to grow immensely is a given – mostly housed in apartments or condominiums with not much in the way of parkland.

We are seeing exceptionally large crowds along the Beachway where parking becomes an expensive issue when you see the amount on the parking ticket.

The several Conservation areas are now regulating who can go into their parks and how long they can stay.

While we are not out of public park space we are now rationing the space we have and charging fees for entrance.

Beach - swimming

The property on the south side of Side Road # 2 would be turned into a lake with a large shallow area that will be very safe for young children. The Jefferson Salamander habitat will be well to the east of this lake.

Another large park in the Escarpment area makes sense and certainly deserves consideration.

Not by this Council and certainly not during that period of time when re-election is the focus.

The last time Nelson Aggregates made an application for new licensees they were turned down because the Jefferson Salamander habitat was threatened.  Nelson Aggregates has made sure that issue is covered in this latest application.

To the surprise of some there is a citizen organization with a reported 400 members supporting the long term development of turning the quarries into public park space.

There is also a well organized citizens group opposed to the quarry expansion,

Council has to determine what they want to do. Will they choose to say they will protect the Escarpment.  From what?  Newcomers having a place to play?

Part 1 of a three part series on the Nelson Aggregate issue.

A very large development that is a short drive from the Escarpment – no park land for those people.

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