Ontario Mega-Quarry arouses opposition

An application to dig the largest quarry in Canadian history (and the second largest in North America) in prime agricultural land near Toronto has aroused widespread opposition.

According to rabble.ca, the quarry would stretch over 2,300 acres and dip 200 feet below the water table – making it deeper than Niagara Falls. Located at the headwaters of important river systems in Melancthon, Ontario, the proposed gravel “mega-quarry” would pump out 600 million litres of water every day, raising important concerns about its effects on the local water supply.

The operation would also see 150 loaded trucks leave the quarry every hour to travel down local roads. This would inevitably create dust, noise and safety problems for local residents.

One would think that such an unprecedented project would attract rigorous government scrutiny. However, that is not the case. Rather than proceeding through a full-scale environmental assessment under the auspices of the Ontario Ministry of Environment, the application is currently being reviewed under the laxer and less environmentally-focused standards of the Ministry of Natural Resources. This is an easier process for the project owner, The Highland Companies, and the U.S. hedge fund behind it, but one that will fail to fully consider the effects of the quarry on the people and natural life to be forced to live with it.

In response, the local community is mobilizing, and has drawn attention to the quarry in high places. The Leader of the labour-based Ontario New Democratic Party, Andrea Horwarth, plus the Council of Canadians and a host of local politicians have condemned the project. The famed David Suzuki Foundation expressed serious concerns. Grassroots organizing included a five-day march from the provincial legislature in Toronto to Melancthon by 200 concerned citizens. It began, appropriately, on April 22, Earth Day 2011.

Socialists propose an immediate cancellation of the mega-quarry approval process, and urge all concerned Ontarians to add their voice in opposition to this environmentally, economically and socially destructive project.

> The article above was written by Eric Kupka.