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Congratulations to the Town of Caledon, on winning its long, uphill fight against the massive James Dick quarry, planned for a sensitive natural area. The Ontario Municipal Board, which almost never turns down quarries, rejected Dick’s promises to manage the impacts of its quarry after the approval was given: OMB decision – James Dick Construction.

At page 75, the OMB ruled:

“Too much of enormous value to the Province, the Region and the Town could be lost if the proposed quarry went forward. A failure in the mitigation measures proposed for the quarry, as set out in the AMP, would have a catastrophic impact on the natural environment or the natural features and functions of the area. Such an impact cannot be countenanced by the Board. In addition, the fundamental change to the character of the area attendant upon the proposed quarry would not be acceptable. The loss of views of rural lands, the loss of a cultural heritage landscape and cultural heritage resources and the conversion of a rural area into an urban area centred on a heavy industrial operation cannot be permitted in the interest of the production of more aggregate for infrastructure development. It is time for alternatives to aggregate for infrastructure construction to be found. Too much of what is essential to the character of this Province would be lost if aggregate extraction were to be permitted on lands like the subject property. Lands situated in a significant cultural landscape, surrounded by significant natural heritage features and functions, are not lands on which extraction should be permitted in the absence of demonstration of no negative impacts. No such demonstration has been completed in this case.”

The OMB decision is particularly noteworthy because so many recent regulatory approvals, such as the federal and Alberta approval of the giant Kearl oil sands mine, have relied on unproven promises to manage adverse effects, such as wiping out the habitat of an endangered species.  I am rarely a fan of the OMB, but they have my congratulations for this decision.

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