One of the greatest assets we have in the southern Georgian Bay area is the Niagara Escarpment. Traversing one of the most densely populated and heavily developed regions of Canada, the Escarpment is a unique geological formation providing a vital corridor of natural green space through south-central Ontario. In our region, the Niagara Escarpment is the source of immense recreational pleasure for hiking, skiing, mountain biking and more.
The Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) is an agency of the provincial government’s Ministry of Natural Resources and is charged with the task of preserving the Niagara Escarpment on behalf of the people of Ontario.
Having recently sold three properties that fall under the jurisdiction of the NEC, I am very familiar with the developmental restrictions that exist for owners of such properties relative to building, severing and or otherwise altering properties that fall with NEC governed areas. As such, it is hard to fathom how a massive quarry expansion was allowed to proceed on top of the Escarpment west of Duntroon. A lengthy Ontario Municipal Board appeal which ran for months and one where I testified on behalf of local property owners, resulted in a decision to allow the expansion by Walker Aggregates to proceed. The approval was subsequently appealed by the NEC and that appeal was denied.
It’s hard to imagine how on one hand, a private land owner of property that resides within the NEC cannot build a home in the woods, cannot sever their property and may not be allowed to even cut down some trees yet a large for profit corporation is granted approval to essentially strip mine was is designated as being a significantly important natural area.
Work has already begun clearly the site of this new quarry at the top of County Road 91. A hardwood bush will soon be gone and the rustling of wind through the trees will be replaced by the sound of heavy equipment, scouring the landscape in the name of corporate profit. It’s a sad commentary on where our priorities lay and doesn’t bode well for the generations that follow us.