Niagara Region, Port Colborne holding online public meeting over quarry expansion request

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Published August 16, 2021 at 6:21 pm

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Both Niagara Region and Port Colborne are holding an open house to provide an opportunity for the public to review and ask questions about an application for the expansion of the present Port Colborne Quarries (PCQ).

An online open house will be held to provide an opportunity to hear about the proposed amendment, ask questions, and provide comments on the application before a staff recommendation report is prepared and presented to Regional and local council on September 9 at 6 pm via a Zoom webinar.

Representatives from the Region and City’s planning departments, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, and the applicant and their agent will attend remotely to present the proposal and answer questions. To participate in the online open house, pre-register through Zoom.

The application, initially filed months ago, has come under some fire from both local residents and environment groups.

According to the application filed with the Region, PCQ is asking for four separate planning and rezoning approvals, some of which could be considered contentious.

First up, PCQ is hoping to obtain a special “quarry below water” permit from the Ministry of Natural Resources to allow it to mine near a source of water.

Next, they are asking the Region for permission to expand their operation. Presently, PCQ is 106 hectares in size.

After that, they are asking Port Colborne to rezone the area they are looking to expand into from agricultural lands to mineral aggregate lands.

And finally, they are asking all three groups for permission to lift the minimum setback of a provincial roadway from 90 metres and dropping it to 30 metres.

On their end, PCQ is pushing their business case, saying their expansion would add another $1.2 million to the regional tax coffers.

Among the groups fighting the expansion is the Niagara Water Protection Alliance.

Among residents, the concerns are obvious. Bringing the operation that much closer to the road would likely increase noise levels in their community.

Also the “quarry below water” permit application could have potential serious effects to the local water tables. While any resident on the municipal water line likely has less cause for concern, the same cannot be said for those on rural lands who rely on underground wells to provide their water.

Should the quarry somehow hit or come close to a rural aquifer, it could seriously affect the rural underground wells that tap from those aquifers.

Both Niagara Region and Port Colborne are also asking for input in writing. For more information about the proposed amendment, including information on appeal rights, contact: Britney Fricke, Senior Planner, Niagara Region at 905-980-6000 ext. 3432 or [email protected]

Port Colborne residents can do it locally by contacting: David Schulz, Planner, City of Port Colborne at 905-835-2900 ext. 202 or [email protected]

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