Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.
One of the more questionable aspects of Ontario’s Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) is the clause that prohibits anyone from asking if there truly is a NEED for more open pit aggregate mines – both pits and quarries. The PPS reads in Clause 126.96.36.199: “Demonstration of need for mineral aggregate resources, including any type of supply/demand analysis, shall not be required …”
Since one of the main arguments repeatedly made by pit and quarry applicants is the alleged ‘NEED’ for more supply, it strikes us as bizarre that decision makers should be prohibited from responding with: “Oh really? We NEED more supply? Show us the evidence!” What kind of Alice in Wonderland world do we inhabit here? One side can talk incessantly about need but the other side “shall not”?
So we are asking “What is really going on here?”
Consider a few facts:
… According to expert analyst Dr. L. Jensen, Phd. Geoscience: “… it will take … 208 years at present rates of consumption, to consume all the sand and gravel reserves under license in 2010. No doubt this 208 year supply has considerably increased with the additional 200 licenses and permits added to the inventory during the past 2 years.”… from a submission made to the ARA Review Committee, May 2012
… The gravel industry, with help from their lobbyists at the OSSGA, has made a mass appeal of their property tax assessments, apparently successfully. The result will be that municipalities must REFUND and forego hundreds of thousands of dollars to wealthy pit and quarry owners. The tax burden presently shifted onto residential property owners from groups like this who receive favoured treatment amounts to $20 million annually in Wellington County alone, or $731 per property owner.
… Despite dire predictions of ever-increasing need that accompany applications, Ontario aggregate production, which was 171 million tonnes in 2000, fell to 159 million tonnes in 2011. (from TOARC statistics)
… Due to a failed quarry application near Carlisle Ontario, the applicant St. Mary’s Cement threatened to sue the province for costs incurred and loss of future revenues. The province has settled, costing Ontario taxpayers $15million! What a sweet deal! You apply for a pit and if you win you get to make $millions supplying aggregate to the province (taxpayers). If you lose, you get $millions for the loss of potential revenue (from the gravel you don’t have to supply). Yikes! Is this nuts, or are we nuts for putting up with it?
… When an ordinary property owner seeks compensation from their ‘new neighbour’ – an open pit mine – for a drastic drop in the value of their property, the applicants, operators, and elected representatives all run and hide. Is there no ‘NEED’ for wealthy pit operators to pay compensation for what are often devastating losses due to their ‘needed’ operations?
So again we ask is it NEED or GREED at work here? And why should we be prevented from asking what the needs of the various parties actually are?