As Gomer Pyle would say; “SURPRISE, SURPRISE”

Remember Gomer Pyle USMC?

A 60’s classic sitcom.

And who can forget his trademark exclamation of astonishment: “WELL SURPRISE, SURPRISE!”

We were reading a magazine the other day called “Rock to Road,” a publication that is produced and sent out to the Road construction industry and their sub trades.

In that issue of the magazine was an article of very specific interest.

Read it for yourself at :

http://www.rocktoroad.com/aggregates/technology/screening-goes-high-tech-2507

There were a few choice parts that made us exclaim “WELL SURPRISE, SURPRISE!”.

ScreenMachine1) There is a new material being used in crushing and sorting machines that replaces the heavy wire mesh sorting mechanism, lowering the noise levels generated by the usual rock on metal banging! Even better, the rubber-like “mats” last longer than the wire meshing, which will actually reduce the cost of replacing the wire so often.

So….the aggregate industry can take the moral high ground and emphatically declare they actually care enough about their “receptor” neighbours to use a synthetic based screening material instead of metal to reduce the noise they produce.

What great neighbours they will be! And, they will save money in the process! But that’s OK, let them brag. It’s still a win for all of us little guys!

2) The information helped explain to the current operators that there is a “NEW” noise standard from the Ministry of Environment (MOECC) that they must meet. It’s called NPC-300 and the new guidelines came into effect as of August 2013.

We had not heard of this new noise regulation, so we actually emailed the MOECC asking for clarification. The MOECC was very helpful, calling us to discuss the “NEW” guidelines.

Well, “SURPRISE SURPRISE”, this is NOT a new guideline, but has been on the books for years.

Here it is. The decibel levels in pits must be measured to every bedroom window pane in a house facing a pit or quarry, even if it happens to be a second or third floor window. The Industry standard has been to assume they only have to worry about ground level bedroom windows! OOPS!

It seems the article was explaining to operators that they could reduce their noise levels by using this new screening material instead of raising those very costly “berms” to stay within regulation of those “NEW” MOECC noise regulations.

So…we asked MOECC the following question:

If the planning reports, produced by the Aggregate Industry and approved by the Municipalities, do not point out that there are “sensitive receptor units” which are two and three story houses with bedroom windows facing the pit or quarry, would the MOECC know about them when they approved the application?

Well again we say “SURPRISE SURPRISE!”

NO! The MOECC would have no clue that the residential buildings surrounding a pit or quarry would be anything more then one story high.

So….that means that any pit or quarry currently in operation, that has a defined “sensitive receptor unit” bedroom window facing it that is more then one story high, is probably operating outside MOECC regulated sound levels!

Say it for us Gomer…say it!

gomer_pyle

Advertisements

Warm and Fuzzy

<![endif]–>

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

We recently came across a small magazine ad for an aggregate company.

It’s just an average “PR” piece that talks very briefly about the importance of gravel, and refers to what the company has done to accommodate a “resident Osprey” by erecting a “nesting platform.”

 It’s the kind of “blurb” that most, if not all readers scan, think “isn’t that nice” and then continue to read through the magazine with a slightly warm fuzzy feeling in the back of their brain.

 ospreyad

But perhaps we should look a little closer at this situation to see what it really stands for, and what was deliberately left out.

 1)      Do you think that that the employees at the open-pit mine site saw the Osprey circling in the air one day and decided that it would be “just peachy” if they built a platform to see if they could attract that wayward bird to nest on it? Or, do you believe that maybe this was the natural habitat for the Osprey that was obliterated by the gravel company when they decimated the land to make millions of dollars? Do you believe it was part of the MNR license agreement? Or do you believe it was done as a show of being a great corporate citizen? You decide.

2)      Were there any other considerations given to the habitat of any other bird that may have been calling this area their home? You know, Blue Jays, Robins, Blue Birds, Swallows, Sparrows, and the list goes on… Or were they not part of the license agreement?

3)      We’re not big fans of raccoons, but were there any provisions made for them? How about a fox? Maybe a porcupine? Squirrel? Chipmunk? Skunk? Deer? Pheasants? Did the oh-so-considerate operators build them any kind of accommodations, or just plough them under?

4)      We really do believe it’s awesome that there are fish in the “lake” as it is called.  But before it became a “lake” it was a “water table.” How many millions of gallons of fresh water is lost each year through evaporation due to the water table being exposed so gravel can be mined and the company can make as much money as possible in their operation? Did the company do any kind of studies to show what happens when hundreds of acres of water table are permanently disturbed? Is this exposure causing massive damage to the aquifer? We don’t see any of this in the ad.

5)      And speaking of accommodations and “building homes for all of us”, how many residential properties do aggregate companies devalue in their quest for profits? How many homeowners have lost their life savings due to a pit or quarry moving in next to them? Why was that not part of the ‘feel good’ ad?

 In conclusion, we really do believe that “when done properly” aggregate extraction can be beneficial to us all. But we have a long way to go before we reach that “platitude”

Read the ad one more time … are you still feeling warm and fuzzy?

Robin Hood, or Robbing the ‘Hood?

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

 Everyone knows the story of Robin Hood and his gang of merry men who lived in the forest of Sherwood , stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. An excellent tale that has spawned many movies, TV series and comics.

 Robin Hood has become synonymous with “selflessness”; Someone, or something, that is generous, almost to a fault.Robin_Hood

 Well, we believe that some aggregate companies want you to believe that they are generous, “Robin Hoodish” type of guys!

 Let’s face it, they sponsor fairs, winter carnivals, sporting events, have contributed to sports arenas, community centres, tree planting for school kids in their pits, and the list goes on.

 But aren’t these “things” mere “baubles and trinkets” to distract from what their Merry Men are up to?

 Do they really support a community to any great extent, or do they take from the smallest and weakest, giving a few crumbs off the table back to the community while consuming the lion’s share?

 Let’s have a look, shall we.

 breathingprotection2When was the last time you heard that an air quality report was completed for a community when a pit or quarry applied for a license? Perhaps it would be useful to know if your air is already contaminated from other sources that exist in your area, BEFORE another pit is added. Well, if you want an air quality study done, you will have to fight to get hold of someone in the government to: A) acknowledge you, B) listen to you, C) support you, and D) spend TAXPAYERS MONEY to have one completed.

 Or, YOU will have to pay to have one done yourself!

 We wonder – why is an air quality analysis not an integral part of the Application process, paid for by the aggregate company?

 Next … Many applications coming forward at this time are requesting “recycling” on the pit or quarry site. Because, ya know, recycling is green and good, just like Robin Hood!

 But … This is an activity that simply should not exist in an open pit. Shhh … let’s just not talk about possible contamination of groundwater. But, if things go as the ‘Hoods’ hope, this will be the trend for the future. And will cumulative effect studies on area aquifers be part of the requirements for a license? There have been numerous instances of wells running dry when an aggregate operation commences their work, as they disturb the water table and its natural flow. If you happen to be one of the unlucky homes whose well runs dry, you’re on your own! Unless you want to water2pay a consultant thousands of dollars and take the aggregate company to court to “prove” they were the cause of your well issues. So, it’s the old story of David and Goliath; your water flow study and lawyer against their water flow study and group of lawyers. Good luck to you! The aggregate company is not held accountable by the municipality until six wells run dry. At that time, if you push, an ‘investigation’ begins. Our guess is that it might be completed, eventually, at TAXPAYERS expense, or for lack of a better word, YOU.

 And … Why are there no levies to be paid to municipalities for transporting loads of recycling material on our roads? Why is the taxpayer, or for lack of a better word, YOU, paying for this billion dollar industry to have a free ride while destroying our roads? It’s well past the stale date on this issue. Raise the levies on the aggregate industry and include recycled material transport!

 pricereducedsign5OK, one more, and if you read this blog on a regular basis, you can see home/property values are an issue. But why should it not be one of the biggest priorities for any pit or quarry application? Why is our government not requiring Property Value Guarantees in the application process and licensing agreements. If there are no property value losses, as the aggregate companies claim, then there’s no problem and it doesn’t cost the aggregate company a nickel. If there are property values losses, such as the Hite Report identifies, then the aggregate company should “pony up”

  So you decide. Are aggregate companies the “Robin Hoods” they want us to believe they are?

 Or are they just “Robbing the ‘Hood”?

Propaganda?

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

Propaganda Definition: Manipulation of information to influence public opinion. The term comes from Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith), a missionary organization established by the Pope in 1622. Propagandists emphasize the elements of information that support their position and de-emphasize or exclude those that do not. Misleading statements and even lies may be used to create the desired effect in the public audience. Lobbying, advertising, and missionary activity are all forms of propaganda, but the term is most commonly used in the political arena. Prior to the 20th century, pictures and the written media were the principal instruments of propaganda; radio, television, motion pictures, and the Internet later joined their ranks. Authoritarian and totalitarian regimes use propaganda to win and keep the support of the populace.
propaganda2
So does a delightful fun-filled event in or near a pit or quarry fit into this picture?
How would you categorize a great family outing at a water-contaminating, toxics-spewing, noise-generating, road-destroying, property-value-sucking pit?
That could be a fun day, eh?
And what if they toss in a bouncy castle for the kids?
And how about “Rocky” the gravel mascot? How “cute” is he?

bouncycastle

Do you really expect him to be handing out a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet section 3: “Hazardous Identification” form. (It describes the toxic effects of continuous exposure to gravel products.) Wouldn’t the kids be thrilled to learn that exposure to gravel toxins can cause bronchitis, emphysema, COPD, pulmonary disease, systematic lupus, erythermatosus, rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis and diseases affecting the kidneys, and more?

MSDSwarning

Next, how about a few more rides!
There could be the “Road to Deafness” ride for participants of all ages. Basically, that would be a trip past an operating crusher in a loader’s bucket with some free balloons!

loaderbucketride

What’s a good time without some thrills?
Why not an “It’s free now, but you pay later” run past eighteen idling trucks? No charge for the run, but give it a few years for the toxins to do their work on your lungs for a “pay later” trip to the hospital.
Why not a bus tour through the “Deserted Neighbourhood”. That would be a trip to see all the houses that were abandoned due to the pit or quarry operating too close to someone’s home and destroying their life savings!
Now, we don’t blame those stone age entertainers for their attempts to be “good guys”. After all, even though they move into a neighbourhood, destroy property values, contaminate the air, and possibly the water, etc., who wants to be known for that??
They make millions in profit while taking millions in property values from the nearby homes.
But that’s OK! They hand out free hotdogs, balloons and hard hats!

A Shoe Has Dropped

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

It really doesn’t matter if you call it the left or the right shoe, but it came down with a huge “thud” earlier this year.

 The “thud” we are talking about was the Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision that the giant Wind Turbines that keep littering our countryside (thanks to McGuinty/ Wynne), and allegedly cause serious health issues, have caused PROPERTY DE-VALUATION! That’s right, someone astute and knowledgeable actually came out and spoke the words thousands of people have been waiting to hear. Property values are negatively impacted by Wind Turbines! wind-turbine-house

Read about it here: http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1151369/ontario-court-allows-lawsuits-against-wind-company-and-landowners-just-a-matter-of-time

 Here’s an excerpt from the news report:

After reviewing the evidence of appraiser Ben Lansink, the court states: “(i)n summary, the plaintiffs’ evidence shows that they have already suffered harm through a loss in property values and the corresponding interference with the use and enjoyment of their properties.”  [Para. 9] “The plaintiffs have filed expert appraisal evidence indicating that their properties are likely presently devalued by between 22 to 50 per cent or more, based upon the Proposal as presented.” [Para. 31] “… (I)n this case the court accepts that the plaintiffs have suffered, and are currently suffering, losses culminating in diminished property values …” [Para. 34, emphasis added]

 What does this mean for the citizens of Ontario who live next to pits and quarries? Well, we believe it means that the same realization regarding property values and negative health impacts around aggregate operations will soon be acknowledged.

 Why do we believe this will be the case you ask?

 The only difference we see with the two industries is timing.

 The aggregate industry has been operating with impunity for decades. Their operational methods are entrenched. They open their operations with zero “sunset clauses”, almost zero oversight, and definitely zero compensation for the homeowners living next to these mega-monstrosities! dickpit39

 It has been business as usual for far too long and it’s about time they were reined in.

 This recent court victory for the citizens of Ontario resulted from research conducted by highly qualified experts. Value studies were performed by certified specialists in their fields. The information they brought before the court could not be refuted!

 And that, friends, is what will be required to push an aggregate agenda for “fairness” forward – competent studies by professionals.

 These studies cost money! So individual citizens were called upon to support the cause. It takes many private donations for fairness to prevail! It is extremely unfortunate that the citizens of Ontario must pay extra for the fairness and protections that should come from our governments, but that seems to be the case.

 So, please, if you have the opportunity, open your wallets to help correct a long-standing injustice.

 Now, thanks to the court decision, there is momentum! Let’s ride the wind!

Good News For a Change?

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

We recently came across a blog that is astonishing. The blog author, Donna Laframboise, has granted us permission to reproduce excerpts here. Please visit her blog HERE.

A section of David Suzuki’s 2002 book, titled Good News For a Change, appears to be calling for an end to activities such as aggregate extraction because it is bad for the environment. At first we didn’t know whether to cheer or weep.

suzuki_plutos_poisons

Chapter 8 is titled Wrestling With Pluto: Cutting Toxins, Cleansing Air. The first three paragraphs are astonishing. [The bolding has been inserted by Donna]:

Ever since we discovered the strength of metals like copper and iron in arrowheads and spears, we’ve been interested in the substances that we find below the ground. But all of them, from gold, zinc, copper, nickel and silver, to oil, gas, uranium and coal, are either directly or indirectly poisonous to us and to other life forms. It is an interesting fact that in nearly all known human mythologies, the underworld is a place of death and danger, not just to the body, but to the soul. Pluto, Odin and the dwarves of the underworld, or Mars and Vulcan, gods associated with the metals we bring up from below, all rule over dark realms that mortals enter at their peril. And while venturers to these realms may gain treasure, they are usually cursed by the underworld spirits whose purpose is to guard the treasure from such theft.

Pluto’s revenge has never failed to find us, no matter how far away we have carried his treasures. Whether we pump oil from the oceans, extract gold from mountains, or scrape away our very farms and homes to get at nickel or coal, the fossil fuels and heavy metals we bring up from inside the earth poison our crops and our trees, destroy our children’s immune and endocrine systems, give us wasting diseases, and kill our animals and fish – often many years after the money they made us is spent.

The similarity in myths associated with the underworld across so many cultures implies that somehow we’ve always known it was dangerous and unnatural to go underground and steal from Pluto. But now we know exactly why that’s true, and having the coal mine cave in on us or the gas vein explode is the very least of our problems. We are gradually learning that the minerals, oils, and gases that were sequestered beneath the surface of the earth by biology, geology and time actually have a reason for staying where they are. If they don’t, they risk changing the make-up of everything on the planet’s surface, including the atmosphere that protects the whole thing.

The chapter ends this way:

We have to call it quits, and leave Pluto and his hoard of underworld treasure alone.

A world without steel doesn’t only preclude wind farms, it precludes bridges – since steel girders are what make them safe. A world without metals is one in which hammers, nails, screws, drills, saws, shovels, rakes, and hoes don’t exist. Not to mention computers, phones, cameras, televisions, factories, airplanes, coins, and gold jewellery.

If using material dug from the earth is off limits, there goes bricks, cement, and shingles. We’re back to building our homes out of uncut wood, twigs, and mud.

The gospel according to Suzuki is that anything that comes out of the ground is poison. Digging up minerals is “unnatural.” Mining anything risks “changing the make-up of everything on the planet’s surface, including the atmosphere.”

Suzuki devotes a few pages to discussing greenhouse gases, the “burning of carbon-based fuels,” and the fact that we humans “enthusiastically made this atmosphere-destroying process the basis for modern industrial society.”

Then he bizarrely spends the rest of the chapter extolling the virtues of bicycles, public transit, and solar panels – none of which would exist without mining and minerals. ‘Incoherent’ doesn’t begin to describe his analysis.

It should, however, now be clear where all of this is headed. It’s there on the page – in stark black and white.

The David Suzukis of the world want to dismantle every oil pipeline and shutter every coal pit. Fossil fuels are, after all, the Great Satan.

But it wouldn’t stop there. Next on their agenda would be mining in general.

These people are prepared to play the “we can’t risk disrupting the environment” card again and again.

Until we’re all shivering in the dark in caves. Until even arrowheads and rudimentary spears have been banned.

————————————pluto

Because we are opposed to irresponsible mining activity does that mean we at StoneColdTruth side with Suzuki’s “good news” and bizarre fascination with Pluto’s mythical underworld??

Hardly.

The rants and requests you will find elsewhere on our blog are positively mild in comparison to the extreme notions put forth by what many believe to be Canada’s foremost environmentalist.

Fraud and Deception in Disneyland?

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

 We’re told that in Disneyland there’s a place called the ‘Magical Kingdom’. It’s where wonderful things happen – where wishes and dreams come true. Who knew that here in Ontari-ari-ario we have our own version?

 It’s near Palgrave in the north-east corner of Caledon. This place, where the magic happens, could be called ‘Brockland’ because Brock Aggregates owns the Tottenham Pit. The magic appears to happen whenever reality doesn’t coincide with Brock’s wishes. Not long ago, when Brock decided they wanted permission to nearly double the size of their ‘footprint’ and dig out more sand and gravel from below the water table, they were faced with opposition from concerned neighbours with whom they ‘share’ the water source. Neighbours pointed out that previous site plans and hydrogeological studies showed underground water flow directions that might mean a threat to their private wells.

 So here’s where wishful thinking and magic occurs. First, Brock wished that opponents to their dream would just vanish.

 Didn’t happen.

 So then they got out their magic wand … errr, wallet … and presto! all the arrows on the site plan that showed the directions of underground water flow magically changed direction! Where formerly the arrows pointed in somewhat natural directions, and towards neighbouring residences, they now conveniently changed direction, sometimes totally REVERSED direction, to point away from all the neighbours’ wells.

 waterflowbefore2

waterflowafter2

 How can this be?

 Well haven’t you ever heard of Fantasyland? It happens every day! Take a drive; take a look; wish upon a star! You won’t believe your eyes when you see the magical transformations at Bibbidi Bobbidi Brockland !

brockland