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Open Letter from GPO leader Mike Schreiner on the Guelph Dolime Quarry Permit to Take Water

For Immediate Release
July 16, 2013
 
Open Letter from GPO leader Mike Schreiner on the Guelph Dolime Quarry Permit to Take Water
 
Dear Minister Bradley
 
RE: Guelph Dolime Quarry Permit to Take Water
Ministry Instrument Reference: 5080-8TAKK2
EBR Registry Number: 011-5939
 
I believe the Ontario Ministry of the Environment should reverse its decision to grant River Valley Developments Inc.’s amended permit to take water at the Dolime quarry site. Your ministry’s decision poses a threat to the quality and quantity of Guelph’s water supply.
 
Minister, your government has a solemn duty to protect our drinking water. You have failed to perform this duty by ignoring legitimate concerns raised by the City of Guelph.  
 
A growing number of people are demanding that the province take action to protect our water. The attached petition represents 1,575 citizens who have signed in support of the city’s position regarding the Dolime quarry. The attached signatures specifically demand:
 
I call on the Ontario Ministry of the Environment to support the City of Guelph’s request for a limit at the current historic average pumping rate; a comprehensive long-term management plan for the quarry that protects Guelph’s water; an effective monitoring program; and financial assurances and legally enforceable requirements to ensure the quarry owner — rather than Guelph ratepayers — pays for long-term mitigation costs related to the quarry's operation. 
 
The City of Guelph has applied to the Environmental Review Tribunal of Ontario to seek leave to appeal this decision. The city has long maintained that River Valley Developments Inc.’s excavation and water taking at the Dolime quarry has the potential to impact the quality and quantity of Guelph’s municipal water supply, now and in the future.
 
In a letter to the Ministry of the Environment on December 21, 2012, Janet Laird, City of Guelph Executive Director of Planning, Building, Engineering and Environment, outlined four major reasons why the amended permit to take water (PTTW) should not be granted:
 
1. The PTTW will worsen the interference effect of quarry operations on the City’s municipal wells.
2. The PTTW must be conditional on the establishment of a long term Management Plan for the quarry.
3. The establishment of the Management Plan cannot be deferred to another approval process.
4. The proposed Monitoring Program for the PTTW is not adequate.
 
It is my understanding that none of these concerns have been addressed. By ignoring the city’s concerns, your ministry is failing to mitigate current and future threats to Guelph’s water supply.
 
Minister, this is a serious issue. The city has eight water supply wells within two kilometres of the Dolime quarry. These wells supply approximately 25 per cent of Guelph’s water supply. Operations at the quarry may also affect private wells for area residents in Guelph-Eramosa Township since the quarry and private wells pump from the same aquifer. 
 
Action on this issue is needed now. Operations at the quarry already compromised Guelph’s water supply when the aquitard that protects the groundwater was breached in the 1990s. The city’s demands are quite reasonable under the circumstances. 
 
We are not asking for the Dolime quarry to be shut down. We are simply asking your government to do its job — to ensure that the quarry operates in a responsible way that protects Guelph’s water now and in the future.
 
Thank you for your consideration.
 
Sincerely,
 
Mike Schreiner
Leader 
Green Party of Ontario