Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff ?

Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

Small Stuff – a minor annoyance, or Life-and-Death?

Depends which side of the gravel road you’re on.

If it’s a pebble in your shoe, it’s annoying. If it’s a grain of sand in your salad it’s annoying but also possibly indicative of unsanitary preparation. If it’s an invisible particle of crystalline silica in your lungs it IS a matter of life and death.

Ken Cressey and his wife Jeanine, of Snow Road Station in North Frontenac Ontario, tragically discovered these truths. Jeanine is now dead and Ken’s health is seriously compromised, and his life likely shortened considerably, as the result of living too close to an aggregate operation that illegally conducted crushing operations.

At first their complaints were stonewalled. Then they were advised to move away. Not so easy when your property is across the road from a pit. Eventually they were taken seriously – somewhat – and Crain’s Construction was prosecuted for operating a pit “not in accordance with its licence conditions”.  On October 27, 2011, Wilburt Crain entered a plea of guilty on behalf of Crain’s Construction and was fined $1000.

That was 2 years after Jeanine died.

Ken was never compensated in any manner.

Not even funeral and burial costs.

‘Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust’  … and caused by dust.

Can you say “negligent homicide”?


Rolling Stones …

Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

A Rolling Stone Gathers no Moss … or so they say.

It may be true … or not. But one thing you can bet on is that a rolling stone will gather momentum; particularly if it is rolling down from a high point of land .. such as the ‘Headwaters’ of five important rivers.

A rather large stone was found recently in Melancthon Township when it became known that the new potato farmers in the area had stones – not in their shoes – but on their minds and up their sleeves. The stone began shaking things up, then rocking ‘n’ rolling, down the gentle slopes from the Headwaters Hills. No moss, just an increasingly loud rumble as it gained momentum.

The rumble was heard by people living in the heavily populated lands downstream. They in turn became aware of just how dependent they are on the water and food that originates in Melancthon. More and more ‘city folks’ were activated by the rumble and began a serious push back. The rock’s rolling has been slowed somewhat by the courageous actions of individuals like Carl Cosack and his neighbours in the NDACT group, and the response of thousands of concerned Ontarians. Slumbering politicians reluctantly followed with the formation of a committee to review the Aggregate Resources Act.

It remains to be seen whether this is just lip service or represents serious intent to bring the Act out of the Stone Age.

The Shadow of a Hole

Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

Does a hole in the ground cast a shadow?

Literally, perhaps not, but figuratively it can cast a huge shadow, and, paradoxically, at the same time shine a bright light.

How can that be, you ask?

Well, that is what has happened in the case of the proposed Mega-Quarry in Melancthon Township, north-west of Toronto. The prospect of destroying a huge chunk of prime farmland, and threatening underground water, has cast a dark shadow over an entire region that depends on the food and water coming from the area.

At the same time the publicity surrounding the proposal has shone a bright light on the way aggregate resources – that’s stone, gravel and sand to us ordinary folks – are managed, or mismanaged, in Ontario.

Many other areas of Ontario have been faced with similar battles for years, but because the growth of the problem often occurs in a gradual ‘domino’ fashion, not much attention has been paid. For example in Caledon, even closer in to Metro GTA, there are already more than 2800 acres licensed for open pit mining (the Melancthon proposal is for 2300 acres) with many more thousands earmarked for future mining.

Perhaps the lights and shadows of Melancthon will mark the turning point on the gravel road?



Turning over Rocks

Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

Remember when you were a kid and went turning over rocks to see what was lurking below? Would it be a sparkly gemstone or some creepy crawlies? Most often it was just garden-variety bugs. But these days it seems we’re finding cans of worms! One example is SAROS (that’s short for “State of the Aggregate Resources in Ontario Study, 2010″). Seems this study, made up of 6 separate papers, was largely written by aggregate industry representatives, or at least by ‘consultants’ with very close ties to the industry. As reported in one of the submissions made to the the ARA Review Committee “Five of the six SAROS Papers commissioned by the Ministry of Natural Resources were authored by consulting firms that prepared planning or licensing application reports for the Highland Companies.” (The Highland Companies are behind the Mega-Quarry proposal mentioned in the previous post.) Can you say ‘conflict of interest’?

And that’s not all. Go to this page to turn over a few more rocks …

… and look for submissions made by Helen Purdy.

Poking a Hornet’s Nest

Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

Have you ever poked a stick into a hornet’s nest just to see what would happen? Well we’re thinking that McGuinty’s promise to review the Aggregate Resources Act has had a similar effect. It sure has wakened a lot of folks to the load of problems with the current Act and the way it’s administered. So much so that the special committee tasked with the job of hearing the public input seems to have gone out of their way to avoid hearing from all who sought to be heard.

Did you see the way they did a ‘drive by’ visit to the Melancthon Mega-Quarry site?

As reported in AWARE Simcoe June 30 2012 …
“Melancthon residents asked an all-party committee of MPPs who were holding a hearing on the Aggregate Resources Act review in Orangeville on Wednesday to visit the proposed mega-quarry area. At the 11th hour, they agreed. Local farmers scrambled to be ready to greet them and were waiting in a group by the side of the road when the MPPs’ bus arrived. And drove past them. And headed up the road, turned round and drove right past them again.”
What are they trying to avoid? The truth?