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Activist Communiqué

Krystalline Kraus's picture
Krystalline Kraus is an intrepid journalist and veteran reporter for rabble.ca since its 2001 beginnings. She needs neither a red cape nor safety goggles to fly into her latest political assignment. She often live-tweets from events -- almost exclusively First Nations and environmental issues. You can follow her on Twitter @krystalline_k.

Activist Communique: Ontarians say no to the Mega Quarry

| July 5, 2011
Activist Communique: Ontarians say no to the Mega Quarry

A US corporation is trying to construct a quarry of over 2,300 acres in Southern Ontario -- a hole deeper than Niagara Falls. Yes, you read that right -- deeper than Niagara Falls.

The Highlands Company is privately backed by a Boston multi-billion dollar hedge fund and is currently seeking a licence from the Ontario government to operate an open mining pit to extract Amabel dolostone (limestone) in the Melancthon township.

In its Aggregates Overview statement, it claims a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agenda: "The site of the Melancthon Quarry was carefully selected so that our aggregate operations could be conducted in an environmentally, socially and economically responsible manner. We have also stated our goal of progressively rehabilitating the site to agricultural and associated uses.

Local residents, farmers and activists claim this deep open mining pit threatens not only the headwaters of five major rivers -- the Grand River, Pine, Nottawasaga, Saugeen, Noisy, Boyne, and the Mad River -- but also the habitat of fox, coyote, wolf, beaver, lynx, rabbits, deer, duck, geese, turkey, pike, pickerel, trout, salmon, turtles, salamanders, and snake.

According to the Council of Canadians' assessment of the issue, "The Highlands company started buying farmland in Melancthon several years ago saying they wanted to become the province's largest potato growing operation -- which made sense to local farmers as the area is well known for its particularly high quality soil and micro-climate. After many local farmers had sold their farms -- some of which had been in the family for generations -- the real motives of the company became apparent. Under that rich and rare soil is a fortune in high quality limestone worth upwards of eight billion dollars."

"The Highlands company started buying farmland in Melancthon several years ago saying they wanted to become the province's largest potato growing operation -- which made sense to local farmers as the area is well known for its particularly high quality soil and micro-climate. After many local farmers had sold their farms -- some of which had been in the family for generations -- the real motives of the company became apparent.

Under that rich and rare soil is a fortune in high quality limestone worth upwards of eight billion dollars. The Highlands Company started buying farmland in Melancthon (township) several years ago saying they wanted to become the province's largest potato growing operation -- which made sense to local farmers as the area is well known for its particularly high quality soil and micro-climate."

Residents claim a "five-year history of deception" by Highlands Company which they claim led them to believe the company was interested in potato farming. It was described as, "the company bought farms under the auspices of maintaining them for agricultural use, however, the company began clearing trees, demolishing homes and doing test drilling while attempting to get new land assessments."

Regarding the negative impacts the mega quarry will have on the land and water, in an open letter written by Danny Beaton (Turtle Clan, Mohawk), "It is obvious to many that this quarry would create a wasteland and dust in a rural farmland setting. It can poison the drinking water for our children and our children's children and their children, so we must think of protecting their future and our elders say we must think Seven Generations.

The hole that will be dug to extract the product for China and Boston etc, will be 20 stories deep and possibly 7500 acres wide, one of the largest open pit mines in Canada. Will Ontario allow such a monster to rape and kill life? As a native environmentalist I urge the Assembly of First Nations and Chiefs of Ontario to get involved in this struggle now and demand a stop to this development and all mega projects on the farmlands of Ontario and water supply! "

For more information, please see: Activist Communiqué: Ontario quarry will be deeper than Niagara Falls

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Comments

In my opinion the proposed quarry is an act of international/environmental terrorism that threatens the food security of Canadians. Acceptance of the proposal, no matter the financial/legal justifications, is an act of treason. Let's see whether those involved value sustainable agriculture in Foodland Ontario vs. rocks and rubble.

 

July 11th is the deadline to make your comments via the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry (on the right hand side and scroll down a wee bit): http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?notice...
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