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Aldershot Quarry Community Liaison Committee Meeting Update

Alderhot Quarry AQCLC Meeting Oct 2021

On Tuesday, Oct. 26, the Aldershot Quarry Community Liaison Committee (AQCLC) met again to continue the conversation about present and future quarry activities at the Meridian Quarry here in Burlington.

The AQCLC is group comprised of community stakeholders, City of Burlington staff and Quarry representatives to provide a forum for discussion, information sharing and action around the Meridian Quarry activity in the Aldershot area of Burlington.

The committee is meant to provide an opportunity for respectful dialogue between stakeholders to share questions, concerns, ideas, and new information related to the Quarry’s ongoing activities. It is also an opportunity to identify agreed-upon action items by any stakeholders.

It’s important to note any advocacy activities for or against the quarry’s activity rest solely with external organizations — the AQCLC is not an advocacy group.

Attendees at this latest meeting included:

  • Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, City of Burlington
  • Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith, City of Burlington
  • Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan, City of Burlington
  • Victoria Langdon, Mayor’s Chief of Staff, City of Burlington
  • Hannelie van Niekerk, Mayor’s Executive Administrator, City of Burlington (scribe)
  • Stephanie Venimore, Business Performance Advisor, City of Burlington (facilitator)
  • Mike Greenlee, Manager of Corporate Strategic Partnerships, City of Burlington
  • John Lourenco, Plant Manager, Meridian Brick
  • Robert Campolo, Area Operations Manager, Meridian Brick
  • Amy Schnurr, Executive Director, BurlingtonGreen
  • Christine Carter, Tyandaga Environmental Coalition (TEC)
  • Fran Fendelet, TEC co-chair
  • Cathie Kelemen, TEC
  • Paula Evans-Nash, TEC
  • Roger Goulet, Executive Director, Protect Escarpment Rural Land (PERL)

Topics discussed at the meeting included the following:

Meridian representatives updated the group that their latest inspection/report demonstrated compliance in every category (a self-completed report that gets submitted to the province) — click here for their 2021 Compliance Assessment Reports. They also noted that the last provincial oversight visits were December of 2020 (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry – MNRF) and earlier this very week (Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks – MECP).

The visit this week included a physical site visit around the grounds exploring the activities of the quarry for a couple of hours. No orders or recommendations by either ministry were received after the visits. Meridian reminded the group that they post their reports and many other materials on its website and that they also submit their reports to the city, which the Mayor noted leads to the reports being included in Council Information Packages for awareness (that are also publicly available).

These reports are received for information at the City of Burlington. It is not municipal jurisdiction to review/evaluate the reports – that oversight is a Provincial mandate.

Meridian mentioned they are using feedback received from TEC/town halls several years ago to amend their operational plan and accommodate some suggestions made around berms, setbacks, staging, and at-risk species. These updates were detailed in the most recent newsletter that Meridian sent out to the group. Ultimately that amended plan needs to be approved by the MNRF before they can “put a blade in the ground.”

Meridian mentioned the amendments can take up to a year or more due to elements such as engineering drawings; the Mayor asked if the group could be sent the existing operational plan (that is registered with the MNRF) and Meridian will get back to the group on that.

Meridian also mentioned it has had to replace the fencing that has been taken down repeatedly by members of the public to be in compliance with the MNRF.

Mayor Meed Ward also requested the new operational plan — once available — be shared with the group.

The group posed several questions to Meridian, that resulted in some take away actions:

  1. Has the pandemic has delayed anything expected to happen in the east quarry expansion?
    • Meridian representatives indicated that yes, things are evolving and they are busier now than they have been in a long time with builds, roads and infrastructure demands increasing. They also referenced a supply shortage in labour. They indicated they still can’t see them being in the east quarry for another couple of years but that it is hard to predict with such a changing environment.
  2. Have there been staffing staffing changes?
    • Meridian conveyed that yes, they had lost some experienced staff through the pandemic ups and downs and it is hard to replace them at this time.
  3. It is typical on other quarry applications for site plan amendments to go to the Environmental Registry of Ontario for public review and commenting. Will that happen with Meridian’s amended site plan?
    • Meridian will review if that’s mandated and get back to us on that. The mayor will also follow up.

Some general questions were also posed:

  1. Where is the city at with implementing a Health Protection Bylaw?
    • The Mayor indicated there is nothing new yet to share at this time with the community as staff are looking into getting council info on what this could look like/how to move forward.
  2. What advocacy work has the city done with other levels of government? Are they aware of the issues and concerns re the Aldershot Quarry?
    • The Mayor responded that all advocacy taken is shared on the Mayor’s website and that she takes every opportunity to meet either individually or via scheduled delegations with ministers at provincial events such as Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) or Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conferences. Through these channels, the Mayor has introduced the ministers and their staff to quarry issues being raised in Burlington and asked for them to commit to have a representative sitting around this table. No response has yet been received. We will follow up again ahead of the next meeting.
  3. How does the potential significant loss of trees due to continued quarry activity factor into the city’s tree canopy goal?
    • The sentiment expressed is that it is important the implications of irreplaceable habitat loss/mature tree canopy be factored into the larger context of Burlington’s objectives in regards to urban forestry management and climate emergency priorities and targets, in order to determine what industries can be sustained or require pivoting.
    • Meeting Facilitator Stephanie Venimore (Business Performance Advisor at the City of Burlington) referenced the strategy and risk team objectives happening at the city and the possibility of leveraging that work to understand the broader city-wide risks of quarry activity and any mitigation strategies that could possibly be considered (such as tree canopy replacement). One of the residents commented that the city owns land between the quarry and the homes and that might be an opportunity for tree planting/mitigation.
  4. What is the status of the request for peer reviews by the city of Meridian studies?
    • This matter has been addressed at previous meetings. The request has been made to TEC to specify exactly what study or concern is in need of review so that council can better understand the scope and potential costs involved, so an informed and comprehensive request (if appropriate) can be brought forward to council for any support

Actions arising:

  1. Meridian will look into sharing the existing operational plan with the group. The Mayor will also look to MNRF to release it.
  2. Meridian will look into whether they need to post the amended site plan on the ERO. The mayor will also look to the provincial government for clarity on this point.
  3. The mayor will again reach out to our provincial partners (MNRF and MECP) to see if they can attend an upcoming meeting and provide more insight into how they oversee compliance reporting and site plan amendments.
Action Item OwnerRequest to be ActionedProvide Feedback ToFeedback Due By
MayorContact MNRF to confirm if posting an Amended Site Plan to the ERO applies to Aldershot. Report back on the process.Meeting GroupAt Next Meeting
MayorConfirm with MNRF what needs to submit to them as part of the Amended Site Plan.Meeting GroupAt Next Meeting
MayorInvite MNRF to the next meeting.Meeting GroupAt Next Meeting
MayorReport back to group about the Tree Counting System (iDOT).Meeting GroupAt Next Meeting
MayorAsk Staff to confirm if the tree loss at the quarry is compensated for in tree planting targets.Meeting GroupAt Next Meeting
MeridianUpload Compliance Report to the website.WebsiteWhen available
MeridianShare report on shale received from development (dig out) sites at next meeting.Meeting GroupAt Next Meeting
MeridianConfirm if Amended Plan needs to be posted on the Environment Registry of Ontario (ERO) site.Meeting GroupAt Next Meeting
MeridianAir Emissions Monitoring ReportMeeting GroupAt Next Meeting
MeridianProvide the City with a copy of the current Operational PlanCity of BurlingtonWhen available
MeridianUpdate Aldershot Quarry website with feedback on Dusky Mottled Butterfly statusWebsiteWhen available
MeridianInvite new owners to the next meeting.Meeting GroupAt Next Meeting
TEC GroupSpecies At-Risk ReviewMeeting GroupAt Next Meeting
TEC GroupBriefing Note: Provide info about request for a peer review of reports — which study needs to be reviewed. Specific item(s) to be reviewed within the study.Meeting GroupAt Next Meeting

The next meeting is planned for March of 2022 with one of the follow-up items to be addressed being at-risk species reporting.

Related Links:

*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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