Nelson Quarry application for an additional license to be made in November; public meetings on the site in October.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 29th, 2019


Exclusive to the Burlington Gazette.  Part 3 of a 3 part series.

Is the park that Nelson Aggregates wants to create a city park or a Regional Park and if it is a Regional Park should it be administered by the Conservation Authority or the city of Burlington?

Haasaam Basit Conservation Halton

Hassaan Basit, Chief Administrative Officer Conservation Halton

Hassaan Basit, Chief Administrative Officer of Conservation Halton, said he has not been approached by Nelson Aggregates but that his organization is already administering several large recreational attractions that include Eden Glen, the skiing facility that gets thousands of paying visitors every year as well as the Mountsberg facility that is a very popular destination for people across the province.

If a lake were created in the former quarry sites it would draw large crowds because the water would not be as cold as the waters of Lake Ontario.

There are three phases to the creation of parkland with four distinct transfers of property from Nelson Aggregates to public ownership over a period of about 30 years with the first piece of land being transferred immediately.

3 holdings

The lands that Nelson Aggregates is either quarrying or wants to quarry.

The land, 946 acres in total, would be transferred in several phases. The first will be the 119 acres in the eastern side of the property south of #2 Side Road. This is property where the Jefferson Salamander has habitat and cannot be mined. Nelson has already done remediation work to make it more habitable for the Salamander and expects to do more before any transfer takes place.

Nelson said they would turn over 119 acres immediately, then turn over an additional 77 acres in +/- ten years, then 144 acres from the quarry that is nearing its end of life and finally 606 acres in 30 years when the golf course property meets its end of life

While the quarry people are not tourism or destination experts they do point out to some terrific potential if one includes Mt Nemo in the mix. The walk up the Mt Nemo trail to the edge of Mt Nemo where you look out over a vast piece of land and on good days you can see the CN Tower, which the Nelson Aggregate people will quickly tell you it was made of aggregate quarried by Nelson.

When Nelson Aggregates made an application to quarry land they had purchased south of the quarry lands they were denied the permit they wanted.

At that time the community was adamant about not wanting any more trucks on the road and no more of what they argued was damage to the environment.

They did their homework and presented an argument that the three member Joint Administrative Review Tribunal panel bought – no license.

Nelson aggregates then did their homework and looked for ways to be able to overcome the issues the tribunal believed were significant enough to not permit another license.

They have looked at the land where the Jefferson Salamander was known to inhabit and learned that the creature does not live in the western section of the south property.

8 avoid and enhance the Jefferson area

The lands where the Jefferson salamander are known to live are to be protected when the southern property is quarried.

Nelson has done a number of enhancements that made the property more environmentally suitable for salamanders which will make it possible for Nelson to argue that the western part of the southern lot is not a natural habitat for the salamander and point out that there are none there at this point in time.

Nelson will be pointing to Regional, municipal and Niagara Escarpment policy and regulations that not only permit aggregate mining but encourage it.

In 2004 through to 2012 the rural community fought hard, spent a lot of money they didn’t have and energized a community that convinced the politicians in office at the time that a new quarry was not a good idea.

Rural Burlington has been threatened on more than one occasion. There was a point in recent memory when it looked like the province was going to ram a highway through the community starting at somewhere near Kilbride and have it link to Hwy 407 and QEW.

Once again, the community came out in force and the government in office at the time backed away from the idea.

Trucks taking away

Trucks move in and out of the pit every day.

Mining aggregate is a profitable business and the Nelson lands have high quality stone that is very much in demand. The location is also very close to highways needed to move the product.

During the first public meeting on the new quarry question Roger Goulet told the crowd that filled the room at the Conservation Authority that PERL was not likely to be revived to take on this latest battle to prevent the zoning changes that are needed.

“You are going to have to find the leadership you need within the community, then do your homework, go over all the studies the company has to file and find in those studies the issue you need to stop the development.”

Goulet was one of the PERL people who put in eight years battling the quarry people.

Lowville Regulars - Rickli +

Walt Rickli on the left.

Walt Rickli, a vocal advocate for the Lowville community suggested that it might be time to re-think the way rural Burlington gets used by the larger public. He came close to being booed by some people in the audience.
Nelson believes they meet all the policy requirements and the existing regulations and that they have done what needed to be done to ensure that a species, the Jefferson salamander, is not put at risk.

It is going to come down to how strong the community response is, whether or not the ward Councillor is ready to lead that battle and if the community can raise the funds needed to hire the professionals that will take their arguments forward to whatever hearing is held.

This is the very early stage – the application has yet to be filed with the Regional government, the Niagara Escarpment Commission and the City of Burlington. The community can’t do much in the way of reacting until they see what Nelson Aggregates has to say in their application.

They point to the decommission note attached to their license and believe that they are more than meeting that requirement.

rehab note

A note that is part of the license issued to Nelson Aggregates.

They are not sitting idle. Nelson has had people talking to anyone they can get in front of and have an impressive presentation that they are showing to various stakeholders.

They have planned several public tours of the site during October and have hired public relations firms with experience in managing situations where there is community dissent and digging the support there is and making sure that support is heard.

As one drives along # 2 Side Road it becomes quickly evident that the road will have to be made quite a bit wider if it is to handle the traffic should it become a public site.

Part 1 of a 3 part series
Part 2 of a 3 part series.

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1 comment to Nelson Quarry application for an additional license to be made in November; public meetings on the site in October.

  • Gary Scobie

    Thank you for writing these three thought-provoking articles. There is much more “on the table” this time for the continuing operation of the quarry and what the City will have to consider as trade-offs for the quarry expansion.

    I’m looking forward to touring the quarry in October when the schedule is announced, to see first hand the extent of the “offer”.