On Monday, Mark Calzavara, Regional Organizer for the Council of Canadians, and I visited the Melancthon Township near the Niagara escarpment. We visited the site of the proposed Highlands Quarry, which will be the second biggest quarry in North America. Melancthon is the potato capital of Ontario. This area is the headwaters for several important water systems like the Grand River that flows into Lake Erie.
The Highlands Company began buying up land telling local farmers that they wanted to be the biggest potato producer in the province. When the community discovered that the real intention was to excavate a massive quarry 200 feet below the water table, they began to fight back.
We visited the Horning's Mills Community Hall, the proposed hall for the public meeting on the issue. The hall holds about 120 people. However, the last community meeting that Mark attended had over 300 people in attendance.
The unique type of limestone from the quarry will supposedly be sent to Panama to rebuild the Panama Canal. The Highlands Company, owned by a Boston hedgefund, expects to make billions in revenue. The massive construction will threaten the vulnerable headwaters and destroy the agricultural community that has relied on the land for generations.