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OMB issues interim order approving Nelson gravel pit near Everett

Posted January 31, 2018

The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) has dismissed appeals against Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments approved by Adjala Tosorontio and Simcoe County to permit Nelson Aggregates from operating a one million tonne per year gravel pit at 5556 and 5670 County Road 13 just south of Everett.

The property covers about 72.8 hectares in area and located about five kilometre north and west of Alliston. It is designated as Protected Aggregate Resources and zoned M3 Protected Extractive Resources. It will be redesignated a Licensed Pit, and rezone the Subject Lands to M2 Industrial to permit the development of an aggregate operation. The application was deemed complete by the Township on February 3, 2015.

Residents opposed to the application formed the Concerned Citizens In Adjala/Tosorontio Inc and launched the appeal, which was heard in November. Among the concerns: Noise and Traffic; Vibration; Traffic (Not Following the Haul Routes, Speeding, Safety, Pre-Opening Truck Queuing (on 5 Side Road); Excavation Below the Water Table and the Impacts on Wells and Drinking Water; Dust; The Structural Adequacy of the Berms to the Tosorontio Creek;  Pollution from Extraction Operation and Machinery to the Boyne River and the Tosorontio Creek; The Loss of Agricultural Land;  Impacts to Endangered Species;  The Existing Municipal Drain; Road Infrastructure; and Impacts on New Residential Uses in the Area.

According to the OMB ruling summary, the development proposal is to license the 72.8 ha of which 51.49 ha will be slated for extraction to occur below the ground water table. The pit is proposed to be developed in three phases with phase 1 being the portion south of the Tosorontio Creek. The haul road access will be onto Side Road 5, east to County Road 13, south along County Road to Hwy 89 then either east to Hwy 400, or west.

A processing plant will be located in phase 1 with either an acoustic barrier or enclosure for noise control.  Under the amended Operations Plan (Exhibit 68A), while phase 2 extraction will move north of the Tosorontio Creek for phases 2 and 3, the processing plant will remain in phase 1.

In addition to the 8 metre high acoustic barrier on the south side 5 Sideroad, a four metre high berm planted with conifers on the west side of the subject lands immediately south of the Tosorontio Creek and immediately north of the Tosorontio Creek in the vicinity of the Humane Society lands.

Also key in the OMB's decision "no municipal governments, public agencies, or commenting authorities in opposition to the development proposal."

"The Board finds the Township staff and the Township Council acted appropriately as it had prepared a draft development agreement setting out the terms and conditions.  While that agreement is not as of yet "entered into", it is clear that the Township Council has addressed what it believes necessary to be in the development agreement, and has asked the Board in the event that the Board were to approve the OPA and ZBA, to withhold such approval in its Final Order until the Township can have the development agreement executed," according to the ruling.

There is an amendment to the Haul Route Condition No. 2 so that it will read: “There will be no external queuing allowed prior to the pit opening" which is "to enable early morning on site truck queuing, but not in any way to effect or change the hours of operation."

The concerned citizens group was scheduled to hold a community meeting tonight at 6:30 pm at Somervile Nurseries to consider its options which include the appeal process featuring potential "Omissions, errors, and concerns within this written decision."

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri