Community raises $100,000 to fight proposed quarry in Milton

Residents show their support for the fight led by non-profit ACTION

May 14, 2019 -    by Bambang Sadewo


The meeting at the Mohawk Inn and Conference Centre on Wednesday, May 8, was attended by over 300 residents. - Bambang Sadewo/Torstar 

A community organization that is fighting to stop a proposed quarry in Campbellville gets a huge financial boost from residents.

By the end of a meeting that was attended by over 300 residents and held at the Mohawk Inn and Conference Centre last week to hear the latest on the Reid Road Reservoir Quarry, the organizer — Association of Citizens Together In Our Nassagaweya (ACTION) — received about $100,000 in donation pledges to retain experienced aggregate lawyer and consulting experts.

Of note, two attendees agreed to donate $10,000 each to the cause, and many donated $5,000, $2,500, and $1,000 — the latter being the majority where people raised their hands to help fund the legal fight.

“I’m excited,” said George Minakakis, chair of ACTION of the response from residents, adding that he’s pleased to be a part of Campbellville. “This really helps us continue the momentum.”

Earlier in the meeting, Jennifer King, a lawyer with Gowling WLG who has been working with the non-profit group since fall of last year, explained that the application by James Dick Construction Limited (JDCL) to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) to extract 990,000 tonnes of aggregate annually by underwater blasting is “about halfway through the process.”

As part of the approval process, JDCL recently responded to objection letters from residents. In turn, they have 20 days to respond to JDCL — or in this case, by May 22.

“Once MNRF have all the complete documents from the applicant, they make a recommendation within 30 days to the minister,” she said. “When there are objections like there are here, it will most likely get referred to the LPAT (Local Planning Appeal Tribunal) hearing.”

She said it’s important for residents to meet the deadline if they’d like to be considered as a party at the hearing, which might take place as early as this fall.

In addition to opening up the floor to take questions from residents and hear their concerns, which include the proposed quarry’s potential negative impacts to the environment: air and water quality, endangered species and provincially significant wetlands, as well as the adverse effect to property value and increased road safety risk, the meeting also heard from local politicians.

Milton MP Lisa Raitt said she’ll continue to “amplify the voices of the people in the room” and try to make sure that the application doesn’t go forward because “it just doesn’t make sense for the community.”

Mayor Gord Krantz and Coun. Kristina Tesser Derksen spoke of a motion that council members plan to bring forward on May 27. While they didn’t provide details, the organizer said the Town is ready to contribute $75,000 to help protect the community.

“There's not a colleague of mine who doesn't empathize very deeply with what's going on in this area. Some of them could be impacted as well, family members and friends. So just know that that the support is there, we're behind you and keep fighting the good fight,” Tesser Derksen said.

Calling it the biggest community meeting in Nassagaweya, Coun. Colin Best urged residents to “get vocal,” pointing out an example of Bill 66 that was brought up by the province a few months ago that would have opened up the greenbelt. The legislation was withdrawn following protests by the public and various agencies.

“The same thing could happen here,” he said.

Closing the night, Minakakis thanked all the residents, organization members and those who have shown their support.

“I came into the meeting really worried … wondering whether or not we could raise enough money,” he said. “You blew me away. Absolutely.”

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