Countryside District Councillor Gary Oosterhof is “profoundly disappointed” for the “amazing community” of Elginburg, he said, reacting to the news that the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) has approved the expansion of a quarry in that community.
At its hearing yesterday, Wednesday, May 31, 2023, the OLT concluded that the proposed extension of the quarry represents good planning and is in the public interest, that the City Official Planning amendments should be approved, that the City zoning bylaw amendment should be approved, and that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry should be directed to issue the Aggregate Resource Act license in accordance with the site plan.
Back in May of 2022, Oosterhof led the charge as Kingston City Council considered and ultimately rejected the proposed expansion of the quarry in his district, citing environmental impacts and concerns from area residents.
At the time, Oosterhof said the support from other areas of the city meant a lot to his constituents, describing their “sense of relief and a sense that ‘big brother’ came to our side. We didn’t feel so alone as a community. The urban community came alongside the rural community… and it felt like we were together.”
Elginburg, he said today, “has borne the brunt of the burden” of the fight against the quarry for years, so “after seven years and more of forming and preparing significant supportable data, [they] must be feeling ignored by the almost complete disregard at the OLT level.”
“I understand what the considerations are… and statutory requirements carry significant weight. But — and I mean but,” he said emphatically, “the community impact is seriously significant here, and this is how they are treated? Unbelievable, really. Their sense of being ignored is a travesty, in their minds, and I share their deep disappointment.”
“This quarry will be given a 50-year license to wreak its havoc,” Oosterhof continued. “I can only hope that the settlement agreement that was worked out by [the City’s legal counsel] will carry enough strength and be implemented in a way that recognizes Council’s desire to see that the community’s concerns are recognized and respected.”
“In the end,” Oosterhof concluded, “I hope the province does more to implement greater and more effective regulatory oversight and actually goes to the quarry and sees the operations on a regular basis. That would be the start of responsible oversight.”