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Brent Patterson

Brent Patterson's picture
Brent Patterson is the Political Director at the Council of Canadians. He works with the Council's chairperson Maude Barlow, its campaigners, organizers and chapters across the country on trade, energy, water, and health care issues. The Council has political staff in Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Halifax, Delhi, Durban and Mexico City.

WIN! Melancthon mega-quarry defeated!

| November 22, 2012


Calzavara at a protest in Melancthon against the mega-quarry last year.

PHOTO: Calzavara at a protest in Melancthon against the mega-quarry last year.

As Council of Canadians Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara reported yesterday, the proposed mega-quarry in Melancthon, Ontario has been defeated, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=18024.

This morning, the Globe and Mail reports, “It would have been the biggest quarry in Canada, but it was stopped in its tracks by an unusual coalition of farmers, urban foodies, artists, environmentalists and native bands, one that suggests a model for organizing opposition to resource projects. …On Wednesday, the Highland Companies withdrew its controversial application to build a limestone quarry in Melancthon township, about 100 kilometres northwest of Toronto, citing a lack of support in the community. It was an unexpected move that capped a two-year battle for a diverse band of citizens.”

“Mark Calzavara, Ontario organizer for the Council of Canadians, said the movement really harnessed the emerging enthusiasm for food as a political tool. ‘Food was a new message and really important,’ Mr. Calzavara said. ‘They really mobilized in every way they could, from food to music to popular culture. In my neighbourhood, they were at the farmers market in High Park every week with signs and literature.’”

“The movement against the Ontario quarry was launched with nothing more than a basic story. An American company had convinced local farmers it was buying up chunks of land for a potato farm. Potatoes were only part of the plan, however. It soon made an application to build a massive quarry that the opposition said would threaten the groundwater and soil in one of the most fertile land belts in the country. …The opposition also drew on the experience of the protest that stopped the Site 41 landfill project in Tiny Township. As in that case, the anti-quarry group made sure people from as many walks of life as possible were involved. Divisions between locals and those with weekend homes, between natives and non-natives, young and old, country and city, all had to be set aside for the greater goal.”

If the proposed 2,316 acre limestone quarry had not been defeated, it would have:

  • been the second largest quarry in North America
  • been deeper than Niagara Falls
  • been 200 feet deep, well below the water table
  • needed to pump 600 million litres of groundwater back into the aquifer every day
  • been located at the headwaters of five major rivers
  • meant the loss of prime farmland
  • meant 7200 trucks on local roads on a daily basis

Timeline of Council of Canadians opposition to the Melancthon quarry:

2010
January 16: Calzavara speaks at an NDACT public forum in Alliston against the quarry, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=2379 and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=5801.

2011
March 24: Calzavara and water campaigner Emma Lui visit the proposed location for the quarry, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=9700.
April 13: Calzavara attends a Highland Companies’ ‘public information session’ with about 400 other people critical of the quarry, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=9107.
April 21: Calzavara presents at Queen’s Park more than 1300 signatures opposed to the quarry generated by a Council of Canadians action alert, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=6600.
April 23: Calzavara and then-organizing assistant Maryam Adrangi support a five-day march from Toronto to Shelburne to protest the quarry, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=9112, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=6634 and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=9114.
April 26: Maude Barlow submitts a formal letter of oppositon to the quarry to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=6650 and http://canadians.org/water/documents/Letter-Barlow-Melancthon-0411.pdf.
July 11: Guelph chapter activists Norah and Richard Chaloner join with Avaaz to deliver a massive national petition against the quarry to the provincial government, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=9917.
August 2: Barlow threatens war over the quarry during the provincial election, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=9917.
August 30: Calzavara joins with 120 other people to deliver a petition against the quarry to a Conservative MP and MPP in Orangeville, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10183.
September 1: Just days before the provincial election began, the McGuinty government finally agrees to an environmental assessment of the quarry, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10270.
September 11: Calzavara is quoted in the Boston Herald opposing the quarry, financed by Boston-based Baupost Group, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10380.
September 12: Calzavara is in Orangeville for a provincial election debate dominated by concerns about the quarry, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10411.
September 21: Barlow is in Toronto to speak at a public forum against the quarry, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10547.
September 30: The Council of Canadians particpates in a protest in Toronto against the quarry, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10804.
October 16: Calzavara speaks against the quarry at the 20,000-person Foodstock event, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11207.
December 13: The Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter screens a documentary on the five-day walk against the quarry, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=12769.

2012
March 7: Barlow spoke against the quarry at a public forum in Barrie, http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3480201.
May 11-12: Calzavara was in Melancthon for strategic planning meetings with the community on the eve of a provincial review of the Aggregate Resources Act, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15018.

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