There is no water under the bridge so long as the memory of Site 41 carries through in other ecological threats to Tiny Township’s natural water supply.
Anne Nahuis presented her letter of deputation to Tiny council at the recent committee of the whole meeting, expressing her disappointment in the township regarding its current involvement with the Teedon Pit extension proposal.
“I have put some thought into the position Tiny Township finds itself in once again,” wrote Nahuis, “and I ask you to look into the past for some answers — the past of Site 41.”
In her deputation, Nahuis asked for three courses of action from council: that a moratorium be placed for any new or expanded aggregate extraction and/or water takings in the Waverley upland area; that the voices of her group, Friends of the Waverley Uplands, are shared with politicians of higher levels in government; and that a partnership with proposed research be undertaken.
“The situation may seem hopeless, but it is not,” Nahuis said. “Tiny Township, in 2009, bravely created three motions to stop Site 41. I believe you can, too.”
During a special meeting of council in May, council went into closed session to discuss legal options regarding the Teedon Pit on Darby Road, one involving a permit to take water (PTTW) and the other involving an extension of a proposed gravel pit expansion adjacent to the north side of the property.
A recorded vote on Tiny’s legal options was passed 3-2 at that time, with Mayor George Cornell, Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma and Coun. Cindy Hastings in favour and Coun. Gibb Wishart and Coun. Tony Mintoff opposed. Upon passing the motion, the confidential report was made public.
CRH Canada Group, through business division Dufferin Aggregates, is a building material and construction company, currently authorized at the Teedon Pit site to take up to 6.8 million litres of water per day for washing gravel and other on-site uses.
According to the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO), the water used in the two ponds, where aggregate is collected while silt and sand settle, is then pumped directed back to the primary wash pond for reuse.
The township's chief administrative officer, Robert Lamb, provided an update to Nahuis and council about where the municipality stands on the two Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) hearings.
“Dealing with the first one, which is the pit expansion,” Lamb began, “council did give direction to our legal representative to proceed with a possible minutes of settlement based on a number of conditions. Our lawyer has met with CRH on those matters, but as of yet there is no agreement, no minutes of settlement that have been negotiated.
“And if they don’t agree to the terms that council had given to our lawyer for the terms of settlement, then that will be proceeding to the LPAT hearing as normal with us being a normal party," he added. "That hearing will still carry on as other parties are also part of that hearing as well.
“As for the hearing on the PTTW, all parties involved agree to a temporary leave of stay, which allows them to take water and continue operations as they currently are and at the level they currently are until the actual hearing takes place," Lamb said. "Our legal staff have been given full direction by council in closed session as well, to continue to prepare our case preparation at an LPAT hearing.”
Coun. Hastings was relieved at Lamb’s explanations of council’s standing.
“I just want to remind everyone that there’s different ways to accomplish goals, so just because we make one decision doesn’t mean we’re giving up and giving in,” Hastings said. “I think some of us have different views on how to approach the situation, but it doesn’t mean that we are any less concerned.”
In summarizing her deputation to council, Nahuis shared one final concern.
“We all need aggregate, but we need this clean water. We’ve had too many proposals that have gone forward in Tiny that have contaminated the groundwater sources,” Nahuis said. “This water is really important.”
Cornell affirmed that Nahuis’ deputation would be brought forward to the next meeting of council for formal discussion.