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

You know the old saying when referring to opinions. “I’ll give you my 2 cents worth” or better yet, “an opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it.”

The idea of course is “talk is cheap.”

But there are times when calculated advice, ideas, and opinions, free or otherwise, should be sought and thoughtfully received.

A good example of this occurred when our provincial Government held hearings to review the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA). We have very little confidence that they will act on anyone’s advice except the Aggregate lobbyists, but at least they went through the motions. Well done!

An example of government NOT requesting public input, when they really must have it, is at TAPMO – the Top Aggregate Producing Municipalities of Ontario.

The other day we received an article that originally appeared in the Caledon Enterprise.

In the article, the mayor of Caledon was discussing levies on the aggregate industry and how the municipalities required more in order to fix the roads destroyed by gravel trucks doing their daily hauls.

She commented, and we are paraphrasing, that she believed a deal could be done to increase the levies at this time because TAPMO, of which she is the chair, had all the parties at the table. The mayors, the provincial representation, and Moreen Miller, president of the Ontario Stone, Sand and Gravel Association were all there.

Is it just us, or does anyone else notice that something essential is missing here?

Let’s have a look at the individual agendas of the parties in attendance.

The mayors – they want more money.

The province – expects cheap gravel.

The aggregate industry – streamlined processes, cheap operating costs and higher profits.

What could possibly go wrong within this self-serving group?

We’re sure they’ll all walk away with close to what they want.

The only people who won’t get what they need, are the ordinary, taxpaying people of Ontario, because they were not invited to the party, and therefore have no voice.

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Now in a perfect world, our elected officials, the mayors, should be looking after our best interests, but in reality, they can be bought off with a ham sandwich and a dime per tonne in revenue!

So why are the citizens of Ontario not represented at this table?

Are none if us worthy? … or intelligent enough?

Are citizens’ opinions not wanted?

A representative from the watchdog group Gravel Watch should be sitting in on all TAPMO meetings to ensure our elected officials and bureaucrats are not sidetracked by special interests or bought off by a few trinkets and baubles.

These are people who have “skin” in the game, years of experience, top-notch knowledge … and they are people who actually care.

Are their opinions worth 2 cents?

Nope, we’d say they are priceless.

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