(Above: Location of the proposed Taggart quarry near Fernbank and Jinkinson. The Trans Canada Trail is along the north of the site. Via Bing Maps.)
UPDATE: ARAC approved the zoning application on Thursday. It will now go to City Council for approval.
The City’s Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee (ARAC) will vote on Thursday on a zoning change that would allow Taggart Construction to operate a new quarry on Fernbank Road.
The quarry land is on Fernbank near Jinkinson, adjacent to the Trans Canada Trail. It covers an area of 142 hectares, although only about a third of that area would be used as a quarry over the next 50 years. A portion of the property is part of the Goulbourn Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW) Complex.
Typically, quarries are used to extract limestone from the ground for construction, such as road beds or for concrete and asphalt production.
The zoning change would convert the land from “Mineral Aggregate Reserve” to “Mineral Extraction Zone”. If the zoning amendment is approved, Taggart would still need approvals from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of Environment before they can start operating.
A report being tabled at the ARAC meeting says that one community association and 20 property owners commented on the application for the zoning change. They cited a variety of concerns about truck traffic, noise, dust and pollution, as well as the possible effect on property values, nearby wells, and the Trans Canada Trail.
“We’ve fought quarry development for 20 some years,” says Colin Heard, president of the North West Goulbourn Community Association.
“We’re always concerned about another quarry. We haven’t been successful so far. Even though there’s enough material [in existing quarries] for something like 100 years, they still can operate,” he says.
Where they have been successful is in ensuring that the Ministry of Environment requires quarry operators to participate in a water monitoring program. Operators have to test well water levels on a regular basis and provide the community with a yearly report.
Heard says so far there have been no significant problems with water levels or water safety. “The water level is down closest to quarry operational areas. The impact on the surrounding wells as you get further away has not been significant.”
He says nearby residents are also concerned about the noise and traffic from trucks.
“On this latest report, when they say that they don’t think 35 trucks per hour will have a significant impact on traffic, I think it will. The city bylaw says it has to be 75 per hour before it’s an impact on roads, but Jinkinson and Fernbank are not truck routes,” he says.
Heard says the report being considered on Thursday by ARAC is an improvement over the original plans.
“It looks like they’ve limited the extraction area to area A, more confined than oiriginally thought, that’s a good thing. As long as they become participants in the voluntary monitoring program, we’re accepting of it,” he says.
There’s also concern from residents along Flewellyn Road to the south that water pumped out of area quarries is contributing to flooding on their land.
Nick Stow, a planner with the city, said in an email to StittsvilleCentral.ca that preliminary study results show “that quarries in the area discharge significantly less water than allowed under their authorizations from the Ministry of Environment”, and that “quarry discharges do not appear to contribute to the extent of wetlands in the area”.