Open Letter: One Year Anniversary of Dolime Amended Water Taking Permit

January 28, 2014 
Open Letter
Honorable Jim Bradley
Minister of the Environment
Dear Hon. Minister Bradley:
One year ago today your Ministry posted its approval for an amended Permit to Take Water (PTTW) for River Valley Development’s (RVD) quarry, known popularly in Guelph as the Dolime Quarry.  
Fifteen days later the City of Guelph filed an application for leave to appeal this decision. The City of Guelph’s Application for Leave to Appeal contains compelling evidence for why your Ministry’s decision threatens the quality and quantity of Guelph’s water supply.
I find it deeply disturbing that Guelph’s water is still not properly protected one year after the MOE’s decision. 2569 Ontario residents, who have signed our petition, agree.
I find it equally disturbing that MOE staff, in a letter to me dated October 30, 2013, completely disregard as “speculative” the serious concerns raised by the City of Guelph.
This same letter assured me that the MOE was working to address the concerns raised by both the City of Guelph and concerned citizens. It is my understanding after a brief meeting with Mayor Karen Farbridge that the MOE to date has not addressed the City’s concerns.
Today, on this one year anniversary, it seems like the perfect time for the MOE to resolve this issue. You can take action to protect Guelph’s water by reversing this decision.
In our previous correspondence, you and your staff continue to say that the amended PTTW does not grant an increase in RVD’s water taking. While this is technically true, the amended PTTW does allow RVD to pump for an additional two years at a rate that is almost double its historical daily average pumping rate.
The City of Guelph requested four very reasonable conditions to be met prior to granting the amended PTTW. These four conditions are also requested in our petition.
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.
Minister, I appreciate your consideration of my concerns regarding the threat posed to quality and quantity of Guelph’s water supply by the activities of River Valley Development’s quarry. I have also cc’d the Minister of Natural Resources since it does make sense to incorporate the City’s four conditions into RVD’s Aggregate License as well as making it a condition of the Quarry’s PTTW.
Mike Schreiner
Green Party of Ontario
cc: David Orazietti, Minister of Natural Resources
Bill Bardswick, MOE Director West Central Region, c/o Susan Brooks
Liz Sandals, MPP Guelph
Karen Farbridge, Mayor City of Guelph