Residents get chance to air concerns over Port Colborne quarry expansion application


Published February 7, 2023 at 12:46 pm

The proposed expansion of the Port Colborne Quarry will be the subject of a public meeting on March 8 at 1 pm.

For the first time since the Port Colborne quarry filed its proposal to expand its operations with the city and Niagara Region in July 2021, the public can now show up in person to voice their concerns over the application.

The region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee is holding a public meeting on March 8 at 1 pm to hear from the public over the expansion.

The application for expansion has come under some fire from both local residents and environment groups.

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

First up, Port Colborne Quarries (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.

The total area proposed to be licensed as new quarry is 106.29 hectares, of which 71.12 hectares will be aggregate extraction.

On their end, Rankin is pushing their business case, saying their expansion would add another $1.2 million to the regional tax coffers and that aggregate is desperately needed province-wide, especially with the call for new housing projects. Aggregate is a key infrastructure component for roads, property foundations and parks.

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 from which rural homes get their water.

The March 8 meeting will be held both electronically and in person in the Council Chambers at Niagara Regional Headquarters (1815 Sir Isaac Brock Way, Thorold).

Residents who wish to be a delegation need to register either online or in-person by emailing the Regional Clerk at [email protected] by Friday March 3, 2023 at 9 a.m.

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