Detailed, fact based site on Highlands.
Do not take this 2,316 acre quarry lightly. The environmental impacts of this proposed quarry are complex and far-reaching due to its scale. Opponents are estimating that the drinking water of one million people in southern Ontario could be affected. While the Aggregate Resources Act does not require an Environmental Assessment for this quarry, enough concern has been shown by the people of Ontario to prompt the Government of Ontario into taking this unprecedented step.
Broad concerns are: loss of water quality, loss of prime farmland, community impact, loss of long-term jobs, blasting impact, additional heavy traffic, dust, loss of air quality, noise pollution, Niagara Escarpment impact, potential to take water, potential to export.
Currently, the ball is in Highland’s court. The Province of Ontario mandated an unprecedented provincial environmental assessment (EA) in Sept-2011. The first step of the EA is for Highland to file the terms of reference. In the mean time, opponents are (i) generating awareness, (ii) demanding a Joint Review Panel (includes a Federal environmental assessment), and (iii) raising funds for the upcoming fight. Yes, this will be a long (10 years?) and expensive ($2 million?) fight.
The principal of the Highland Companies, Mr. John Lowndes, is the brother of Mr. David Lowndes of Lowndes Holdings who initiated zoning for a quarry in Flamborough. Lowndes Holdings ultimately sold its Flamborough interest to St. Mary’s Cement. St. Mary’s continues to pursue the Flamborough quarry despite heavy opposition and is now suing the Government of Canada under NAFTA. See FORCE for further information. [Also General FAQs and glossary courtesy of FORCE.]
Finally, to quote an article by Our Innisfill, Melancthon Quarry and Lessons from Site 41, “In other words, the foreign-funded commercial mining enterprise reaps the benefit of maximum extraction and profit during a finite lifespan while Ontario residents are expected to assume all the risk of unknown, possibly unforeseen, consequences without limit.”