BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). This letter is in response to a letter, titled, 'Oro-Medonte council commended for action on aggregate,' published Aug. 10.
I have been reading with interest letters you have published from Mr. Doug Varty concerning the aggregate industry and, most recently, a letter commending the Township of Oro-Medonte for joining with other municipalities calling for a moratorium on new gravel pits and quarries.
Mr. Varty’s comments suggest the industry is out of control, poorly regulated and has no concern for environmental sustainability, contentions which we outright reject.
Aggregate (stone sand and gravel) is an essential ingredient to building our modern world. It is a critical resource as we prepare to add four million residents in Ontario by 2040. The industry is governed by a robust regulatory system and is subject to more than 21 separate pieces of legislation including the Aggregate Resources Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Environmental Protection Act.
Mining stone sand and gravel is safe and clean. The biggest environmental impact is truck emissions, which is why to be environmentally smart it is important to ensure that pits and quarries are located as close to where the material is needed as possible. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has recently completed a study that looks at the impact of gravel having to be transported farther from source to market and the implications it has both economically and environmentally.
Because there are those that don’t want gravel in their backyard, there is a lot of misinformation spread about the industry. For example, Doug Varty says, “In Ontario, aggregate mining consumes … an average of 5,000 acres per year.” That statement is completely untrue and is an example of how NIMBY groups misinterpret data and spread misinformation. The actual number of hectares of aggregate sites in Ontario has remained largely unchanged since 2007.
Finally, while Mr. Varty concedes that pits are a necessity for construction, he asserts that damage to our landscape is permanent. That statement is also untrue: Tremendous investments go into rehabilitating and returning land to productive wildlife habitat, wetlands, golf courses, recreational parks, conservation lands, forestry or agriculture.
We encourage your readers to visit GravelFacts.ca to learn the facts about this important industry.
Ontario Stone, Sand and Gravel Association