As Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Water is the driving force of all nature”, but right now our water is at risk in the, at-present, beautiful Prince Edward County.
A recent land buyer purchased a family-run asparagus farm within shouting distance of our properties. They now wish to turn the asparagus farm into a pit from which they will excavate aggregate, sand and gravel. The owner has applied to our County Council to change the property’s zoning designation from Agricultural to Aggregate Extractive. As such, we, a small group of concerned homeowners are strongly opposed.
The farm resides within a significant groundwater recharge area, considered significant due to its role in maintaining the water level in the aquifer that supplies our whole community with drinking water.
The farm is within a Source Protection Zone.
It is adjacent an Environmentally Protected Zone.
It resides in a Highly Vulnerable Aquifer.
When the proponent invited the public to an open forum discussion, I asked their Hydro Geologist if he could guarantee my water supply and quality and he said no.
During a drought in 2016, water was being pulled from this aquifer to provide water to our County’s seat, Picton, ON.
This aquifer also supplies water to Waring Creek. Here a small community-based group of citizens, The Waring's Creek Improvement Association, mainly residents of Prince Edward County, have been engaged in its rehabilitation and preservation since 1993. The Ontario Municipal Board stated at that time, “The text is to recognize Waring’s Creek as a natural feature in rehabilitation and the relationship of these designated EP lands to the resource, as requested by the County, the Policy is also to contain reference to the need to undertake cumulative analysis with other operators for future extraction or rehabilitation activities.” This did not happen.
We are lobbying our governments as we believe all of the above are at risk.
We sent questionnaires to the public and received great support. A significant number of letters were also sent to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to object to this.
We have presented our opposition to our County Council. Despite our efforts, this Council has approved the change to the zoning designation from agricultural to aggregate mining and there are no guarantees that the water will remain as potable and plentiful as it is now.
We are now gathering ourselves to present to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, LPAT, for the final say in whether this pit will go forward or not. The LPAT hears cases on land use, heritage conservation and municipal governance and if they decide in our favour, there will be no pit.
Our opposition to the LPAT will require considerably more expertise than our group possesses. We will require, at a minimum, a lawyer and a hydro-geologist. These things cost money, money that we simply do not have. We are therefore hoping to raise funding from you, the concerned public, to allow us to engage at the same competitive level, and with the same degree of professionals that the proponents of this pit already have.
If you have ever been to Prince Edward County, or, if you are living here now, then perhaps you might agree that there is something of value in this area, something we cannot let get spoiled by yet another big hole in the ground, destructive to the local ecosystem and our very way of life. We are looking to you to help fund our opposition to this mining operation. Will you help?
Please also look at the other various water issues that have been had in Prince Edward County over the past couple of years:
Sandy Hook Road proposed residential development. http://www.pictongazette.ca/2020/07/21/sandy-hook-road-site-of-proposed-residential-development
County campground digs unauthorized quarry- https://friendsofsouthshore.ca/news/f/where-has-all-the-water-gone
Picton Terminals environmental issues Picton Bay- https://www.countylive.ca/new-findings-of-lethal-levels-of-contaminants-adjourns-picton-terminals-court-case/
Picton Terminals Oil Spill- http://www.pictongazette.ca/2019/09/18/county-accepts-sopf-offer-for-losses-incurred-after-barge-sinking-in-picton-bay/
County in level 2 low water condition- September 2020 https://www.countylive.ca/county-remains-in-level-2-low-water-condition/
Record Water drought- 2016 https://www.countylive.ca/precedent-setting-rural-water-restrictions-proposed/
County Council approves Ridge Road pit operation- http://www.pictongazette.ca/2019/09/12/council-approves-ridge-rd-pit-operation/
Sources of information
Source Protection Information Atlas- https://www.gisapplication.lrc.gov.on.ca/SourceWaterProtection/Index.html?viewer=SourceWaterProtection.SWPViewer&locale=en-US
Provincial Groundwater Monitoring Network- https://www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/map-provincial-groundwater-monitoring-network
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs- AGMAPS- https://www.lioapplications.lrc.gov.on.ca/AgMaps/Index.html?viewer=AgMaps.AgMaps&locale=en-CA
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Pits and Quarries Online- https://www.lioapplications.lrc.gov.on.ca/Pits_And_Quarries/index.html?viewer=Pits_and_Quarries.Pits_and_Quarries&locale=en-CA
Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds- https://ero.ontario.ca/comment/177
- Shelley McFarland
- Ian Barker
- Sandra Foreman
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