The Ontario Aggregate Resources Act governs
development of aggregates like gravel, sand, clay, earth, and
stone. Most of the aggregate resources produced in Ontario are used
for construction, but they are also important for many other
industries. In light of controversial proposals to create ever
larger quarries, such as the so-called "Mega Quarry" in
Melancthon Township, and conflicts with local communities and
groundwater protection, the provincial Legislature is reviewing the Act.
The purpose of the review is described as:
"Aggregate resources such as sand and gravel are vital
to Ontario's economy — they are used to build roads,
subway tunnels, hospitals and schools. The need for aggregates must
also be balanced with the protection of other important resources,
like water, green space and agricultural lands. While aggregates
are plentiful in Ontario, recent studies show that rising demand
due to population growth and land constraints could significantly
deplete resources within 20 years. By seeking advice and gaining
insight from key stakeholders, the committee will make
recommendations to the government about how to strengthen the
The Act, as it is currently structured, puts a premium on
ensuring access to cheap local aggregate, and makes it difficult
for residents to stop quarries. Is this still good social, economic
and environmental policy? It is imperfectly integrated with other
land-use statutes, such as the Clean Water Act and the
various protected area Acts.
On Friday, May 4, the Standing Committee on General Government
announced that it will be holding public
hearings in Toronto on Monday, May 14 and Wednesday, May 16. Those
who wish to make an oral presentation must contact the Clerk of the
Committee by 5:00 on Wednesday, May 9. Written submissions must be
received by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, May 16.
The short notice, and the absence of rural hearings, will make
it difficult for people in the communities most affected to be
heard. There are remarkably few gravel mining opportunities in
Toronto, and spring is a very busy time for many in the rural
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