Round two - another assault on rural lands: Nelson Aggregates plans to file a new application - plans to give the city hundreds of acres for parkland.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 3rd, 2019



In an announcement made sometime in June, Nelson Aggregates set out its plan to expand its Burlington quarry into the adjacent Burlington Springs Golf Course and a smaller parcel of land to the south.

The announcement added that, “Once operations are complete, Nelson would donate the nearly 1000 acres of rehabilitated land to the public, creating Burlington’s largest park.

Aerial of the site

An aerial view of the site.

site detail

Technical drawings show the south extension – this is the land that was in the 2011 application that was dismissed; and the extension into the golf club property.

“This quarry has played an important role as Burlington’s main source of local gravel for 50 years,” said Quinn Moyer, President of Nelson Aggregates. “We would like to see it provide high-quality, low-cost aggregate for another 30 years and then continue to serve the people of Burlington as the city’s largest park.”

The owner and operators of Nelson Quarry plan to close the facility in about 25 years. They are asking the City of Burlington, the Region of Halton, and their neighbours, to help create the largest park in Burlington, the nearly 1000-acre Mount Nemo City Park.

Over the next 30 years, they intend to expand the quarry operations into adjacent properties that they already own. During that same time, they propose to donate the land they are no longer using to the public.

Over that same period, year-by-year, parcel-by-parcel, Nelson proposes to transfer ownership of all the land to the public for recreational purposes.


The orange line is the boundaries used in the 2011 application that was dismissed – the lower part was the new area Nelson wanted to begin to quarry.










It was on October 11th, 2012 that a Joint Tribunal dismissed the Nelson Aggregate application to expand the quarry.

With the current approach Nelson appears to want to get permission to expand operations into new lands they have acquired with a promise to turn over various parcels of land to the city for a park they claim will be the city’s largest.

The proposed park would be 5.7 times larger than Burlington’s City View Park, and would be donated to the public in stages following approval. The size and scale of the park would allow for abundant recreational opportunities, from biking and swimming to rock climbing and soccer.

What will the park look like?

It would be more than twice the size of High Park in Toronto, and could have dozens of uses, from rock climbing to beaches.

Map if site and City View park

Were the proposed park ever to materialize it would add to the traffic on the rural roads – watch for the howls from those who chose the peace and quiet of the country side that they don’t want destroyed.

The expansion Nelson is looking for would encompass 180 acres. The bulk of the proposed expansion is in a different location than a 2004 proposal, (there is some confusion around the 2004 date) and a much smaller extraction footprint of 134 acres is proposed to protect the unique local environment.

“We learned a lot from our 2004 application,” Moyer said. “We heard from residents about what is important to them and we have incorporated that into this plan. We look forward to an ongoing dialogue with the community in the coming months.”

Nelson plans to formally submit its proposal in November. Plans for public consultation will be announced.

It was a rather stunning announcement that amounts to Nelson Aggregates looking for a way to get around the decision made in 2011 to not permit an expansion of the quarry that has been extracting aggregates for more than 50 years. They are now looking for a way to continue doing so for another 30 years.

There will be a community meeting at the Conservation Halton offices on Thursday August 8th
The application will ask to be able to expand to the south and the west.

The first phase of the expansion will be to the south of the existing quarry, across the No. 2 Side road.

south extension

Detail on the southern extension.

The proposed area is currently a mix of residential, agricultural and vacant land. This is the land that Nelson wanted to expand into in 2011.

expanding west

Detail on the expansion into the golf club lands.

The westerly expansion would take place beginning in 2025 on the site of the Burlington Springs Golf Course.

Environmental Protection

Env protect area

Ecological enhancements to 19 acres around the South expansion; enough to keep the natives happy?

“We are committed to continuing to treat the areas around the quarry with the utmost care. In addition to large buffer zones between the quarry and sensitive areas, we are proposing ecological enhancements to 19 acres around the South expansion to enhance the natural habitat and protect water sources”, said Mover.

Based on the information available the plan has four phases.

Phase One

Phase 1

Phase 1

Within three years of our plan’s approval, we will transfer 162 acres of rehabilitated land to the public.

With a large lake system, this area at the east end of the existing quarry already has the potential for water sports, hiking, cycling and an expansion of the Bruce Trail system.

Phase Two

Phase 2

Phase 2

“This nearly 200-acre parcel of land to the south of the quarry will be transferred to the public about 10 years after approval of our continued operations. Its large lake could form the basis of a sandy beach that permits many water sports. It could also include significant natural woodlands and wetlands.”

Phase 3

Phase 3

Phase 3

“Ten years after approval, we will transfer the second piece of property to the public. The 100-acre parcel is located to the west of our current operations. It has the potential for 5km of trails, a disk golf course and a clubhouse.”

Phase Four

Phase 4

Phase 4

“The final piece of land in the heart of the current quarry comprises nearly 200 acres. It has the potential for 10km of trails, rock climbing, tobogganing, an amphitheater and more. Once donated, it becomes the keystone piece in Burlington’s largest park.”

The key word throughout the detail on each phase is “after approval”. Nelson wants the approval in exchange for a mined out quarry.

Given the fight that citizens in this city put up the last time an application was made by Nelson one would have thought there would be some mention of the issue by the ward Councillor. There is mention of the meeting on August the 8th at the Conservation Authority office on Britannia Road.

Nothing in the Councillor’s June newsletter; the July newsletter has yet to be published.

No mention of the Jefferson Salamander in this new plan.

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6 comments to Round two – another assault on rural lands: Nelson Aggregates plans to file a new application – plans to give the city hundreds of acres for parkland.

  • Kevin Thompson

    We have to get our aggregate from somewhere. This exists already and is expanding into a golf course, which doesn’t seem like a very environmentally friendly use in the first place. I’m supportive. If we want to build a wall around Burlington and prevent it from any development, those bricks are going to have to come from a quarry. NIMBYism in Burlington needs to stop.

  • Roger

    What a sell off – if Burlington believes this – then truly common sense has left the ability – only a fool would take this deal

  • Maura Romanelli

    Very thorough article

  • Steve.

    The proposal would continue to provide jobs to Burlingtonians for decades to come, and the city, in return, gets back park land. Seems like a good proposition, unless one is apposed to jobs and parkland.

  • Mary-Ann Welland

    As a resident who feels the quarry blasts more than one kilometre away, I will be at that August 8th meeting, 7:30-9 p.m. Hopefully, there will be more publicity about this disturbing issue.