The proposed Melville Pit will negatively impact the natural environment on the site as well as on surrounding lands in several ways. The proposed site is characterized by a mixture of active agriculture (i.e., wheat, corn and soya), deciduous forest, conifer plantation, cultural woodland, savanna, thicket, and old field meadow. Despite there being a number of deep depressions due to the superficial geology of the site, there are no wetlands found on the subject lands due to good drainage of the sandy soils.
Potential impacts of concern on the proposed site include:
- Adverse impacts on the quality and quantity of surface water and groundwater
- Interference with threatened or endangered species or their habitat under federal and or provincial laws. This should mean that the Ministry of Natural Resources has no option but to reject the applicant’s request for an aggregate license for the site. Examples of this include:
- Butternut trees on the site are nationally and provincially protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Regrettably, there currently are no guidelines available from the Ministry of Natural Resources that detail how this protection will be achieved
- A pair of Bobolink, identified as breeding on the site are also listed as a threatened species (nationally and provincially). A Permit under the Endangered Species Act will be necessary before this habitat can be removed
- Jefferson Salamanders, assessed as an endangered species (facing imminent extinction or extirpation) by the Ministry of Natural Resources, have been photographed on the site by a community member. The Credit Valley Conservation Authority has a Jefferson Salamander monitoring station on the property adjacent to the proposed pit site.
- At the time of the original application the “Melville Hill” or the “Orangeville Moraine”, which is on the southeast corner of the site, was identified as a regionally significant Earth Science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI). As a result the applicant reduced the proposed extraction area
- Similarly a potential candidate Significant Woodland (FOD5-B), under the Provincial Policy Statement and a key natural heritage feature under the Greenbelt Plan was identified on the southwest corner of site
Potential impacts of concern on properties in close proximity to the proposed site include:
- The Caledon Lake Wetland Complex, a Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW), is located only 110m northwest of the site
- A significant woodland identified by the Town of Caledon’s Woodland Policy Review study is located only 120 m off of the northwest corner of site
So there are real concerns about the impact the Melville Pit will have on our natural environment.