The Nelson Aggregate quarry expansion will begin after local and provincial government departments release their multiyear study, the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) ruled December 8th. The Joint Action Review Team (JART) has been researching potential impacts of Nelson’s expansion on the Niagara Escarpment. Scientists, local officials, and environmental groups feared the Ontario Municipal Board/ERT hearing would begin before JART completed its research.
Nelson Aggregate operates a 600-acre quarry on the Niagara Escarpment near Burlington. The company hopes to expand another 200 acres and extend the operation’s life. Water flows from the nearby creeks and underground pools into the quarry pit. Nelson pumps this water out of the pit into just one river – effectively robbing the surrounding area of its natural water supply. This added stress may be the breaking point for the area’s watershed.
“This quarry is a real concern . It’s draining the roots of Lake Ontario,” explains Waterkeeper Mark Mattson. “I’m pleased the Tribunal is proceeding methodically. It reflects the gravity of Nelson’s proposal.”
JART’s will release its report February 19, 2009. Scheduling for the Environmental Review Tribunal hearing begins in March. The tribunal will also host at least one evening session so the community can participate.
Listen to Living at the Barricades.
Digging Deep: the Nelson Quarry expansion and the Niagara Escarpment (December 16, 2008)
Nelson Aggregate wants to expand its rock quarry on the Niagara Escarpment near Burlington, ON. On this week's show, Mark and Krystyn look at the proposed plan and its potential impacts on the area, as well as the decision that was reached at the preliminary hearing. We speak with musician and local organizer Sarah Harmer, who's group PERL of Burlington has been working to deny Nelson the permits to extend the life of the quarry. We'll also hear from Michael Brown, a Toronto-based environmental artist, who's latest exhibition Urban Canoe Trip documented his 10-day journey through Toronto's river's and creeks.
Music on this week's show:
Birds - Dawn Blythe and Dave Clark
Music Box - Jake Taylor
- Read the transcript from the Nelson Aggregate hearing here
- Musician and activist Sarah Harmer's group PERL of Burlington are also participating in the hearings
- Lake Ontario Waterkeeper's submission to the Ministry of the Environment/ Ministry of Natural Resources
- Nelson Aggregate's Burlington Expansion Website