Strada was on the agenda as a delegation on the December 16 meeting of Melancthon Council.
It was a cold and stormy night, but Strada, they still showed.
This despite being advised by the municipality earlier that day that Council would not be making a decision that night based partly on the fact that reams and reams of letters and reports had just been submitted by Strada, lawyers, planners, etc and Council had not had time to review the stuff.
That certainly didn't deter Strada. In fact they were so sure of themselves they advised Council that everything was in order, except one "little" unnecessary clause in the agreement regarding financial assurances for rehabilitation of the pit.
They gave a well rehearsed speil about rehabilitation being regulated by the province and there is a Trust fund established with $13.5 million in it and for Melancthon not to worry, it would be looked after and really for Melancthon to ask for financial assurances would be a duplication and to just (paraphrasing here) trust us.
How sure was Strada that things were going to go their way? So sure, they brought with them the agreement signed by their principles and recommended Council sign it on the spot. They had even taken the liberty to delete that "unnecessary" clause about financial assurances for rehabilitation. So thoughtful of them.
Then came the unexpected. Mayor Hill took exception to the fact Council was being asked to sign something without having had proper time to review the late submissions. He advised them they might want to attend the January 6 meeting as a decision by Council will be made then, but also made a point of saying it may or may NOT be the decision they want.
Then like a seasoned wrestling tag team, Deputy Mayor Whyte jumped into the ring, saying he had spoken with someone at the trust and that a decision by the trust to rehabilitate an abandoned pit/revoked license pit can take years and years and years. And IF the trust finally decides to rehabilitate, they level some hills and throw some topsoil around and call it rehabilitated.
He pointed out that if Strada walks away without rehabilitating (my words here, after they have taken the aggregate), the site plan they have agreed to with Council becomes nul and void and any mitigation/rehabilitation in the site plan, which is a higher level of rehabilitation than the trust would do, does not happen.
Strada representatives managed to get out of the room with tempers in check, but think about the repercussions.
Firstly, this was a sign to ratepayers that things might be changing at the Council table.
And Highlands must be thinking about potential financial assurances they will have to post if they ever can convince the officials to think their wonky water plan will work in their 2,400 acre, 200 foot deep below the water table open pit limestone mine.
If you recall in the recent Caledon OMB decision all parties agreed that rehabilitation of a 219 acre below the water table pit would be somewhere in the $80 to $90 million range.
On behalf of Highlands, lets to the math shall we? $80 million for rehabilitation of 219 acres equals $365,296/acre.
$365,296/acre x 2,400 acres equals $876,710,400.00. Almost 1 billion dollars.
That is ALOT of freaking money. Mikey, these are royalty free figures, feel free to take them back to Boston and present them at the next Board meeting.