The proposed Melville Pit would be located in the Town of Caledon, Region of Peel, outside but in close proximity to the Town of Orangeville in Dufferin County. This has prompted the expression of some concerns and action by the Town of Orangeville:
As Mayor Adams states in his letter to Mayor Morrison ” This proposed gravel pit may present real and serious threats to Orangeville’s core values – outdoor lifestyle, tourism and green community, and have major ramifications to Orangeville’s water, air quality, truck traffic and property values”. While there is no formal response back from Mayor Morrison on file she was quoted in the Caledon Enterprise on October 7th 2013 as saying ” “That’s a political statement. He hasn’t got in touch with anyone here to find out what our Official Plan is, or what our policies are. If Rob Adams wants to contribute a few million to the fight he’s welcome to,” Morrison said. “They’ll (Olympia Sand and Gravel) take us to the OMB and because it’s mapped and in the resource area in the town’s Official Plan, and the region’s Official Plan, the town won’t have a legal leg to stand on.”
When Mayor Morrison referenced that the site is mapped in a resource area she is referring to Schedule L of the Town of Caledon’s Official Plan which describes all of the Caledon High Potential Mineral Aggregate Resource Areas, CHPMARA’s. This designation exercise predates the current provincial process to protect source water by almost over three decades.
While the Town has tried to be thoughtful in predetermining where aggregate resources exist, it has not, and did not intend to give, a blanket acceptance to all applications. Each and every application clearly needs to to be considered in isolation and on its own merit, in order to ensure that the Town is making good planning decisions. Impacts on water resources should be a primary decision criterion.
There are examples where applications in CHPMARA designated areas were not approved by the Town of Caledon and were supported by the OMB. The application made by James Dick for the Rockfort Quarry in a CHPMARA area is a good example of exactly this; where the OMB supported the Town of Caledon by also turning down the application because ” it could have affected the water table and risked water sources that feed the Credit River”
It seems that for now our local politicians will continue to debate this in the press. For example:
- Orangeville mayor and council to keep watchful eye on Melville pit –Caledon Enterprise – Oct 07, 2013
- Orangeville seeks legal opinion as Caledon approves Melville Pit – Orangeville Banner – Dec 11, 2013
- Orangeville mayor wants Melville pit compensation – Orangeville Banner – Mar 14, 2014
- Dufferin County seeks piece of the Melville Pit pie – Orangeville Banner – Apr 21, 2014
In the meantime there are real issues that will affect the residents of Orangeville.
Having enough water is a critical requirement for Orangeville as it plans to grow. So much so in early 2011, as part to the Source Protection Plan (SPP) mandated by Ontario’s Clean Water Act of 2006, a (so called) Tier 3 water budget was completed for the Source Water Protection Area around the municipal wells of Orangeville, Mono and Amaranth. While the town of Orangeville has never historically had problems meeting the required pumping rates, even during periods of higher water demand, areas with significant groundwater quantity threats were identified, reflecting a need to manage the drinking water resources in these areas in order to avoid future problems.
This map shows the Credit valley Source Water Protection Area in question and the broad Well Head Protection Area (WHPA) covering most of Orangeville. It also identifies the “Issue Contributing Areas” (ICA’s).
While it was clear that the Melville Pit is situated within the Well Head Protection Area for Orangeville, it is now clear that part of the site actually in an Issue Contributing Area. Indeed two of the twelve municipal wells serving Orangeville, well #11 and well #6, which are both located just west of the proposed gravel pit site are also in the Issue Contributing Area.
The CTC (Credit Valley, Toronto and Region and Central Lake Ontario) Source Protection Committee (SPC) has just finished taking comment on its Amended Proposed Source Water Protection Plan. This is important because their amendments include a set of policies which are, by definition, specific to Orangeville’s water quantity threats. These policies for the Issue Contributing Areas include:
- Reviewing all existing Permits To Take Water and amend the permits where necessary to ensure that the planned services, in line with the agreed to population growth, will be met on a sustainable basis
- Issuing Permits To Take Water for new or increased takings only if it can be satisfactorily demonstrated, using the findings of the most recently approved Tier 3 Water Budget Model, that the taking can be maintained on a sustainable basis
- Only permitting new development if the new development does not require a new or amended Permit To Take Water
- Only providing final approval for new development that requires a new or amended Permit To Take Water once the Ministry of the Environment has determined that the proposed taking does not become a significant water quantity threat
Orangeville residents living on or close to Riddell Road will experience a real increase in truck traffic as a result of the Melville Pit. This includes the residents of the new Montgomery Village Seniors Community and Westside Secondary School.
Orangeville residents living on the 12 streets on the south side of Town Line will be the closest to the proposed pit site and will likely inconvenienced by the noise and the dust from the pit operation.
To stop the Melville Pit, we depend on support from Orangeville. We need the support of the citizens and the support of the Town Council. We need your voice, and we need your financial support.