Thursday, June 30, 2011


The videos and articles in support of stopping the Quarry have been overwhelming and it is hard to keep up. 

I am late on discovering this article.

Click on the link for more outstanding coverage on the issue:


Highlands is trying to slip through a proposal on the Environmental Bill registry for the "Approval for discharge into the natural environment other than water.... Emissions discharged to the atmosphere including suspended particulate matter and nitrogen oxides."
So no biggie.  Yeah, right.

Click here for the entire proposal and register your objection/comments ASAP.

NOTE: All comments received prior to July 29, 2011 will be considered as part of the decision making process by the Ministry of Environment IF they are submitted in writing OR electronically using the form provided in this notice and reference Registry number 011-3976.

And just to be clear they are proposing to be able to discharge, into the natural environment, suspended particulate matter and nitrogen oxides


Planner-Don Scott
Aggregate Resources Act Application-Bernie Fuhrmann
Hydrogeology-Martin Shepley
Hydrogeology Modelling-David Bean
Hydrogeology Karst-Darryl Cowell
Traffic-Derek Dalgleish
Noise-Hugh Williamson
Blasting-Rene Morin and Rob Cyr
Agricultural Issues-Jerry Hagarty
Natural Environment-Don Fraser
Visual Impact-Eha Naylor
Archaeologist-Michael Henry
Economist-Andrew Grunda
Air Quality-Tony Vander Vooren
Servicing and Surface Water-David Harsch


From the June 30, 2011 issue of the Orangeville Banner:
Quarry licence ‘premature’: MOE

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) received more than 2,000 letters of concern regarding The Highland Companies’ plans for a Melancthon quarry, but none may carry more weight than one sent by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE).

In its letter dated April 26 — the final day of the Aggregate Resources Act’s (ARA) commenting period — the MOE raises concerns about the application, questioning surface water implications and the findings of the company’s environmental impact studies.

“It is our position that the reports failed to demonstrate a three-dimensional understanding of the geology, hydrogeology, and hydrology of the site,” the MOE letter states.

Later in its letter, the MOE notes its expectations for a thorough groundwater recharge study had not been met at that time....

Entire article at this link:


This poem is in the Orangeville Citizen June 30, 2011 issue:

Digging, dosing, Blasting, breaking, Crushing, cutting. Pausing protesters

Walking worried Signs saying Stop. Horrendous Honeywood,
Mistaken Melancthon
Contacting companies.
Considerate councils, Dangerous demolitions,
Burning barns. Horrible Highland Destroying dreams,
Facing farmland. Wanting water, Aware actions Terrible tasks.
Respecting rows,
Lasting a lifetime, Optimistic obstacles. Empty everywhere,
No need,
Growing greedy.
Making mistakes
Panicking people, Questionable quarry.

Megan Timms

Thank you Megan.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


School is out for the summer.

Time to take it easy or even take a vacation.

Here is your summer homework.

1) If you don't have a Stop the Quarry sign-buy one

2) Take the wire frame and store it for later

3) Take the plastic sign part, fold it neatly and put it in your suitcase with you on your travels

4) Take a picture of the Stop the Quarry sign at notable landmarks, buildings, sites, addresses on your trip

5) Post them on the facebook site Stop the Quarry

Wonder how many towns, provinces, countries we can expose to the cause?

Rules of engagement:
Do NOT tresspass
Do NOT harrass
Do NOT do anything that will cause problems for the cause
Be polite and be respectful and

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Nor'easters can be devastating and damaging, just ask the ratepayers to the east of Melancthon!

So while the answer MAY be blowing in the wind, ANY chance of being re-elected, or even accepted in the community has been lost.

Can you spell Political Acuity?  Apparently NOT.


Tim Shuff wrote an astounding article in the summer issue of In the Hills.  (See post dated July 24, 2011)

Please click on the article and read it in its entirety and be sure to post a comment about the article.  Thank you Tim.

Here are some astounding facts in his article:

Size of proposed Melancthon quarry, in acres · 2,316

Width, in kilometres · 5

Amount of rock reserve required to meet MNR’s definition of a “mega-quarry,” in tonnes · 150,000,000

Amount of rock reserve in the proposed quarry, in tonnes 1,000,000,000

Length of two-lane highway that could be built with this aggregate, in kilometres · 55,555

Circumference of the earth, in kilometres · 40,075

Approximate depth the quarry will dig below the water table, in feet · 200

Height of Niagara Falls, in feet · 167

Number of major watersheds affected · 2

Amount of water that will have to be pumped each day to divert it from flooding the quarry, in litres · 600,000,000

Number of times this exceeds the combined amount pumped by all quarries in Ontario today · 60

Number of Ontarians’ daily water needs this represents 2,700,000

Rate of aggregate extraction cited in application’s economic studies, in millions of tonnes per year · 10

Number of years it would take to deplete the quarry reserve at this rate · 100

Amount of aggregate extracted at Canada’s largest existing quarry in 2009, in millions of tonnes · 6.6

Maximum combined total aggregate extraction permitted in the country of Sweden, in millions of tonnes per year · 12

Hours per day that the quarry plans to conduct extraction, conveyance, maintenance, processing and shipping · 24

Actual rate of aggregate extraction, supported by the application’s traffic scenario of the 150 trucks that will come and go per hour, in millions of tonnes per year · 52

Amount of residual ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO) explosive that immunologist, Unitarian and antiquarry activist Neil denHollander calculates could be released by quarry blasting into the air, water and soil each day, in tonnes · 1

Fee per tonne that the government levies on virgin aggregates extracted in Ontario · $0.115

Amount of the equivalent fee in the UK · $3.22

Percentage of Ontario aggregate production that comes from recycled material · 7

Percentage of UK aggregate production that comes from recycled material · 21

Value that an MNR-commissioned study gave to “ecosystem services” provided by intact natural heritage features in Southern Ontario · $84,000,000,000

Amount the North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce has spent on consultants to help understand and fight the quarry application · $100,000

Amount that NDACT is in debt as a result of this spending · $56,000

Approximate value of assets of the quarry’s U.S.-based backer, the Baupost hedge fund, headed by investment guru Seth Klarman · $20,000,000,000

Approximate amount per acre that Highland Companies paid for its quarry land · $8,000

Estimated value per acre of the aggregate reserve on this land · $3,500,000

Amount per acre the quarry will pay in annual county and township property taxes · $86

Cost on of a used copy of Klarman’s book, Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor, in which he outlines his philosophy of “always buying at a significant discount to underlying business value” · $1,345

Number of permanent jobs Highland says the quarry will provide · 465

Percentage of these jobs that are local, on-site jobs, other than trucking · 35

Percentage decline in the number of MNR aggregate inspectors since 1994, before the Conservative government replaced annual inspections with industry self-reporting · 52

Percentage of quarries that MNR inspectors now attempt to visit in person each year to verify industry compliance reports · 20

Percentage of surveyed quarries that the MNR found to have compliance problems when it conducted an internal review in 2006-2007 · 83

Ratio of land disturbed for aggregate extraction to land rehabilitated in Ontario, 1995 to 2005 · 2.3:1

Percentage of government aggregate fee that goes to an abandoned pits and quarries fund · 4

Number of significant “built heritage resources and cultural heritage landscapes” identified on the quarry site by the Highland Companies’ Cultural Heritage Study · 0

Number of farmsteads demolished by Highlands on its properties prior to its application · 30

Duration that The Highland Companies’ scientists searched for amphibians or played recorded birdsong at various locations to determine the presence of endangered species at the quarry site, in minutes · 3 to 6

Percentage of Ontario’s stored potato crop located in Melancthon last November · 49

Percentage of Melancthon’s prime potato-growing area – a unique 15,000-acre plateau of Honeywood Loam soil – located on the quarry site · 15

Percentage of Canada’s land area that is rated Class 1 farmland, the highest quality · 0.5

Percentage of proposed quarry land that is Class 1 farmland · 95.8

Percentage of farmland lost in Central Ontario since 1951 · 49

Percentage of proposed quarry area that the application says will be rehabilitated to “prime agricultural land and agriculturally related uses” on the quarry floor, where a “hardy crop…is expected to produce acceptable yields” · 58

Lift that will need to be overcome by the quarry’s dewatering pumps, in feet · 175

Lift of pumps operating in the Holland Marsh, in feet · 8

Annual amount per acre in 2011 dollars that NDACT estimates it will cost to operate these pumps in perpetuity in order to avoid flooding and sustain farming on the quarry floor · $4,500

Annual gross yield from an acre of potatoes in 2007,of which 5 to 10 per cent may be profit · $3,360



Remember, the YMCA issue?  That little tidbit that Highlands was going to bestow on their good subjects.

I guess they are busy with other things right now, but word is......forgetaboutit

So if a YMCA is viable, lets get behind our elected officials and push for one, or maybe they could invest their money in the Honeydome and the Dundalk pool. 

Now that Dundalk has a heater for that outdoor pool, it would be nice if they had the money to actually turn it on.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Article about the mega quarry meeting in Alliston on Saturday June 25, 2011:


The Ministry of Environment submitted 19 pages of comments to the Ministry of Natural Resources (within the 45 day time frame) regarding Highlands application for an Aggregate license.

Here is the full letter, posted on AWARE-Simcoe's site:

Here are the hi-lites:

Page 2
“It is our position that the reports ailed to demonstrate a three dimensional understanding of the geology, hydrogeology and hydrology of the site….”

“Please note that MOE expressed its expectations for a groundwater recharge study during a meeting with Genivar on November 30, 2010. These expectations have not been met to date.”

Page 3
“As such it is not clear whether the modeled flow are representative of actual flows….”

Page 4
“Given the above noted inadequacies and concerns, the ministry objects to the application.”

Page 6
“The reports failed to demonstrate a three dimensional understanding of the geology, hydrogeology and hydrology of the site.”

“The MOE listed its expectations for a groundwater recharge study during a meeting with Jason Baldson of Genivar on November 30, 2010. These expectations have not been met to date.”

Page 9
“Geniver do not appear to understand the palacozoic geology of the site.”

Page 10
“There are inconsistencies between the statements made by Genivar and the evidence recorded in the bore hole logs."

“…though this may be true, this statement is not supported by documented data.”

Page 11
“The data has not been presented in a manner in which to demonstrate this.”

Page 12
“Background datashould be collected for more than two years. This data should be collected over a longer period of time."

Page 13
“This statement is unsupported by data.”

Page 17
“the MOE listed in its expectations for a groundwater recharge study during a meeting with Jason Baldson of Genivar on November 30, 2010. These expectations have not been met.”

Page 18
“Given the simplistic interpretation of the geology, stratigraphy and lack of documented support for much of the geological interpretation, the model hydrostratigraphic units are questions. It is also noted that the density of regional boreholes is not consistent around the proposed excavation.”

There you have it in a nutshel, so to speak.

Their studies would appear to suck!! Like really, really bad.


Letter to the Editor, Clearview Echo Friday June 24, 2011

Alarm bells are going off – this aggregates issue is bigger than I expected. Within 20 minutes of Creemore we have three proposed quarries and one proposed gravel pit:

- Duntroon, MAQ Aggregates Inc.
- Duntroon, Walker Aggregates Inc.
- Mansfield, Arbour Farms/Airport Road (sand and gravel pit)
- Melancthon, 3191574 Nova Scotia Company (aka The Highland Companies)

These proposed projects all plan to extract below the water table. Combined, they will have an effect on seven rivers (Batteau, Beaver, Grand, Nottawasaga, Pine, Pretty, Saugeen).

These four proposed operations are spread across three counties and four municipalities. It doesn’t appear that any government organization is taking “the big picture” into account.

Also, as of July 2009, seven aggregates companies owned land in Melancthon (west of Honeywood/north of Shelburne). If Highland’s mega-quarry replaces Honeywood Loam soil farmland, consider a precedent set.

What will be the cumulative affects of all these quarries? How much traffic, blasting, dust, noise and air pollution will surround the Creemore valley? What about water quality?

Now is the time to pay attention.

Donna Baylis

Hear hear!!

Friday, June 24, 2011


Birth of a protest:
By Tim Schuff
"This spring, when The Highland Companies filed its application for a 2,316-acre limestone quarry, a small rural protest caught the big wave."

Click here to read more: below for pictures in the article

Ralph Armstrong and his wife Mary Lynne have a 200-acre, old-style mixed farm that their family has worked since 1853;

Avid fly-fisherman Rob Krueger frequents the Pine River

Native environmentalist Danny Beaton

Bill French (right) and son Brian grow rhubarb, peas and other vegetables for the Toronto market at Lennox Farm, beside the quarry site. Bill’s father farmed in Brampton and sold when subdivisions and golf courses moved in. A generation before, his grandfather farmed on Islington Avenue in what is now built-up Toronto. Bill feels lucky to have found this 3oo-acre patch of paradise near Reddickville in 1988 after combing the province for the best soil. Bill hopes Brian and his one-year-old son won’t be the next generation to pick up and move: “There’s no other place to go.” Photo Jason Van Bruggen

Cattle rancher and agri-tourism entrepreneur Carl Cosack, 52, is the cowboy-philosopher of the Stop the Quarry cause and a late convert to citizen engagement. “You grow up and things sort of just happen to you. As you get to be a little bit older you see that if you engage you can actually make a difference – your actions and your words and your participation are meaningful. People are truly trying to reclaim some decision-making process here.” Photo Jason Van Bruggen

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Here are the pageviews on this blog since its inception:

Canada 30,092

United States 2,476
Russia 183
Iran 135
Germany 134
Netherlands 105
United Kingdom 97
Mexico 63
South Korea 57
France 53

Interesting, very interesting.


MP Chong adds his support to calls for an EA

Endangered bird threatens quarry

Day of solidarity for the land’ delayed

Quarry opposition continues to grow

Senseless act of destruction


Got up this morning and the day turned out better than Xmas morning, first day of spring and a box full of kittens:

The papers are reporting that Michael Daniher, spokesperson for Highlands has been replaced by the company.  Nothing untoward about it, of course, according to Daniher in the article.  (links attached:; )

While Daniher is being retained as an "advisor", the face of Highlands will now be Lindsay Broadhead, employee of an old PR firm called Hill & Knowlton. 

Over the years H&K have been retained by such notable firms and organizations as Bank of Credit and Commerce International (money laundry problem)] the Church of Scientology,(a huge PR problem) Mazda Motor (putting the brakes on the bad publicity), Tobacco Industry Research Committee - (cough cough), the United States Catholic Conference (hmm) the US federal government, Wal Mart etc.

In fact in 1953, members of the tobacco industry hired the firm to help counteract then recent scientific findings that suggested cigarette smoking led to lung cancer. As a result “A Frank Statement” was released to nearly every major newspaper and magazine, which suggested that cigarettes had no verifiable links to cancer.(source: Wikipedia). 
Things can't be good for Highlands if they have had to call out the big guns.

But to be fair to Daniher, other than his unholy alliance with Highlands, he seemed like a nice guy with a sense of humour.  He had an impossible task-defending the indefensible and the stupid moves that Highlands was making almost on a daily basis.

Adios Michael-if you want to redeem yourself and do some charity work, you might want to volunteer for some grassroots organizations in Melancthon/Mulmur....just a thought.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


From the Highland Company website:


The Highland Companies is creating a diversified portfolio of sustainable local businesses in and beyond Melancthon Township in Dufferin County, Ontario. By building sustainable local businesses, we are creating local jobs and improving the life of the communities in which we operate.

NOTE that they state they are creating local jobs.

Well good for them.

Then what is up with the recent round of layoffs at the packing plant?

And guess who got laid off?

The locals…because the employees Highlands flew in to work, can’t be fired because of a little agreement the company (as do all companies who hire out of country workers) has with the feds-they MUST provide a certain amount of employment.

So, before the naysayers start in on the comments, yes other local farmers also bring workers in from other countries. It is just those “other” local farmers are not promoting a local job strategy as a key driver of a 2,300 acre, 200 foot below the water table mining operation.

NOR do they run a website talking about local jobs without mentioning that it is the out of country jobs that they have to ensure.

Wonder how getting laid off has improved the lives of those former employees?


In case there was any doubt about what is going to win this battle, it is clearly money and the citizens organizations fighting it.

What have they spent their money on?

Take a look at this website.

Much of this work was financed by a grassroots organization that got off the ground 2-3 years ago and starting laying the foundation for a formidable objection to the aggregate application filed by Highland Companies.

In fact Hunter & Associates objection letter is 91 pages and is backed up by years of studies and maps.

To put it into context, Melancthon’s letter of objection is 2 pages, and it is listed on the link above, as well as other letters filed (Shelburne 12 pages, Caledon, 12 pages, NDACT 15 pages, CAUSE 21 pages, etc. etc.)

And as of May 30, 2011 Melancthon’s solicitor advised Highland Companies that Melancthon doesn’t have their “team” in place yet, due to logistical circumstances.

Apparently the public isn’t entitled to know what those circumstances are, but don’t roll your eyes, that makes Council upset.

Please donate whatever you can if you want to Stop the Quarry to:
Cheques payable to NDACT, Box 15, Honeywood, Ontario L0N 1H0

Friday, June 17, 2011


Lots of letters of objection and comments at this link:


This is the kind of “crap” (excuse the pun) you will see on websites who are backed by the aggregate industry ( source: )

"Do pits and quarries have an impact on groundwater?

Aggregate mining in many cases actually cleans the water in an aquifer. There are no chemicals used in aggregate processing.

I know of one case where septic systems from an adjacent village had contaminated all the wells in the village. That same groundwater, once it passed through the gravel pit with all its wetlands and water plants, had all the pollutant nitrates and phosphates naturally removed. A new municipal well drilled downstream from the pit provided some of the cleanest water in the region"

REALLY?   Then why don't they name the village where the open pit mine cleansed their water so people can actually verify this for themselves.

I am surprised they don't make the claim that open pit mining can make the blind see and the lame walk....


A recent post under comments advised to check the stats for recycled aggregate.

Minebuster did this LONG ago, but here are the stats.....(next time, just try google)

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) encourages the reduction, reuse, and recycling of aggregate materials. In a 1992 study, it was estimated that recycling contributed up to 5% of the supply of aggregate resources.  Today, twenty years later they are recycling 7.5%  .
(source: Which is an increase of 2.5%, wowee. 170,000,000 million tonnes used per year in Ontario and 11,900,000 million tonnes recycled per year in Ontario

So follow the math: 170 million tonnes of aggregate is used each year in Ontario;
51,800 tonnes of aggregate are required to pave one kilometre of a 6 lane highway(source: )
or 8,333 tonnes is needed to pave one kilometre meaning all the aggregate mined in Ontario mined in a year could pave 19,691 km of road.

ALL of the aggregate recycled in Ontario in a year (7.5% of 170 million tonnes) would pave about 1,300 kilometres of road.

So June 16 at 1:29 pm, who posted: 
I believe if you did your homework you would know that the aggregate and constuction industry do recycle the majority of the old concrete and aggregates. And that is fine if your tearing down a old bridge to build a new one, but where does the aggregate come from for new roads, bridges, houses(1,000s of them), schools, hospitals....... If you really think recycling aggregate will supply 100% of the 90 million tonnes a year consumed, you best wakeup!

I did my homework.  And the industry does NOT recycle the majority of the old concrete and aggregate.  They, according to their OWN information recycle 7.5% of their product. And Ontario uses 170 million tonnes of aggregate a year, NOT 90 million tonnes.

What is disturbing are the big box stores/developers who construct commerical venues with a 20 year life span.

So lets start a little game.  Name a commercial or residential structure that has been demolished in the last 3 years and its lifespan.

I will go first-Dairy Queen Orangeville-lifespan 20 years. 

Oh yeah, I will go second-30 homesteads located in Melancthon-lifespan-priceless.

I will go third-the Garden Market grocery store in Orangeville that used to be in the plaza with Fabricland and the beer store-Lifespan: less than 10 years;

Pick me to go fourth-the Zehrs in Collingwood that they tore down about 10 years ago to build a new and bigger one about 10 feet to the north of the old one.  Lifespan-less than 20 years

Fifth?  That would be the Presbyterian Church in Hornings Mills.  Lifespan, more than 75 years-probably closer to 100 years.

Anyone else????? 

Please weigh in.

Monday, June 13, 2011


This should scare the hell out of every single person who is trying to oppose the aggregate application applied for by Highland Companies-you know the one, on thousands of acres of prime agricultural land, 200 feet below the water table, that proposes to put 7,200 trucks a day on County Road 124 in prime conditions.

The past Council and THIS Council has assured us they are doing everything they can to respond appropriately to the application.

And yet on the June 16 Council agenda, Council's solicitor is writing to Highlands solicitor with the statement: "However, due to a number of unforseen logistical ciumstances, the Township has been delayed in retaining all of the experts with respect to the peer review team, although we now believe we are in a position to proceed."

For fucks sake.

This Council has had six months to ensure they were prepared for THE most important issue in their municipality.

Four out of the five members of THIS Council was on the last Council and THEY had years and years to ensure the ratepayers were protected by getting their TEAM in place.

The only explanation I could come up with as to why the peer reviewers are not already in place is someone has threatened to sue the township over a conflict of interest in their choice of experts, but then I could be wrong.

The only hope everyone has of opposing and winning this is in the various individuals and grassroots organizations fighting AND paying for this.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Check out (and sign)  the I-petition about the quarry at this link:

After you sign the petition, it takes you to a "donate" section.  You can just close it at this point and your name will still appear on the petition.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Minebuster, using unusual intelligence ;) has FINALLY figured out why some comments get posted, then deleted and some not posted at all.

Apparently there is more to this blog stuff than just running amuck with verbal diarrhea and pushing the post button.

Who knew?

Apparently IF comments posted are longer than a certain number of characters, they get moved into a spam box for the BLOGMASTER to determine if the entry is spam.

Sometimes the comment gets posted first then removed, sometimes it never gets posted, but I must admit I found about three of these spam comments in this previously unknown to me section.

Rest assured, if I can remember how I found it, I will check that more often.

And further rest assured all the comments that I found there have now been removed from spam and into the public realm.

And enjoy this song which will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, from the Monty Python movie, Spamalot.....

Lovely Spaaam! Wonderful Spaaam!
Lovely Spaaam! Wonderful Spam.


Lovely Spaaam! (Lovely Spam!)
Lovely Spaaam! (Lovely Spam!)
Lovely Spaaam!

Spaaam, Spaaam, Spaaam, Spaaaaaam!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


There is a frenzy of farming happening on approximately 7,500 acres of land in Melancthon.

You would THINK they would be pretty busy planting potatoes, but they seem to be more intent on cutting every single blade of long grass with any method available.

Wonder why?

A little birdie told me the reason, do some googling and you will figure it out.


Thursday, June 2, 2011


Mayor Bill Hill has provided an explanation on the confusion over the Environmental Bill Registry. 

In a nutshell the EBR period for commenting has been extended to July 11.  While those comments will not form part of the official objections which needed to be submitted by April 26, 2011, the comments filed on the EBR will be forwarded to the Ontario Municipal Board for consideration. 

What is the difference? Well the official objections received by April 26 must be considered by Highland Companies and they must try to work with the objector to "resolve" the objection.  They have two years in which to do that.  As stated previously, the EBR postings will be forwarded to the OMB for consideration at the OMB hearing as it is pretty clear it will be going to the OMB.

On Page 2 of this attachment Craig Laing at the Ministry of Natural Resources provides answers to questions.  Please note where he talks about the volume of letters received and the thoroughness of every letter.

Congrats and huge thanks to every single individual who took the time to write-Great work!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


"St Marys Cement has abandoned its appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), deciding instead to take its quest for a quarry in Flamborough to court.

The aggregate company, which wants to establish a 150-hectare limestone quarry on 11 Concession Road East and Milburough Line, (Hamilton) announced last Thursday that it will submit an application for a judicial review to the divisional court of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in an effort to quash the Ontario government’s ministerial zoning order of April 2010 and the government’s recently announced provincial declaration of interest.

In a brief statement issued last Thursday, St Marys reiterated its stance that the quarry “would provide local jobs and investment, be operated to the highest environmental standards, and would serve the needs for high quality aggregate to build schools, hospitals and roads in southern Ontario at a reasonable cost to taxpayers.”

Full article is at this link: