Open letter: Action needed to protect our water in Guelph
Dear Hon. Minister Ballard,
Guelph’s drinking water is under threat.
Activities at the River Valley Development’s (RVD) quarry, or Dolime Quarry as it’s known in Guelph, put the quality and quantity of local drinking water at risk.
The City of Guelph has repeatedly asked the provincial government for action on this issue.
I sincerely hope you can provide a new set of eyes on this file. The people of Guelph deserve to have the city’s water supply protected.
Since 2003, the City has sent letters to your Ministry raising concerns about the quarry’s threat to the quality and quantity of Guelph’s water supply. In February of 2009, a technical committee with experts from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), Ministry of Environment (MOE), RVD, and the City concluded that quarry operations had created an environmental risk to Guelph’s water supply. On February 11, 2013 the City filed an application for a Leave to Appeal the amended Permit to Take Water (PTTW) for RVD’s Dolime Quarry. Ongoing negotiations have not resolved this matter.
Thousands of Guelph residents have signed a petition calling on the province to protect our city’s water supply. In an unusual show of cross party cooperation all four of the major party candidates in the 2014 provincial election came together to support the City’s efforts to protect Guelph’s water.
Yet, RVD’s Dolime Quarry continues to threaten the quality and quantity of Guelph’s drinking water.
The City has asked for four simple and fair conditions to be placed on RVD’s PTTW. These prudent and responsible requests would help protect Guelph’s source water:
1. Limit water pumping to the “historic average pumping rate”
2. Create a comprehensive long-term management plan for the quarry that protects Guelph’s water
3. Establish an effective monitoring program
4. Put in place financial assurances and legally enforceable requirements so that the quarry owner – rather than Guelph ratepayers – pays for long-term mitigation costs related to the quarry’s operation.
The City of Guelph’s conditions are reasonable and deserve action from your ministry. The people of Guelph need to know that when they turn the taps on clean water will flow.
The MOECC has failed to show leadership on this file to date. As a relatively new Minister at MOECC, I’m asking you to step up. The people of Guelph deserve action.
We now have an opportunity to fix this. The current permit, which the City opposed, is set to expire at the end of this year. Negotiations to address the City’s concerns have failed to date.
It is time for your Ministry to do the right thing — implement the four conditions requested by the City of Guelph.
Minister, I appreciate your consideration of my concerns regarding the threat posed to the quality and quantity of Guelph’s water supply by the activities of RVD’s Dolime Quarry. I urge you to act now. I’m available to discuss this matter in person if you would like to schedule a meeting.
Hon. Minister Chris Ballard
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
11th Floor, Ferguson Block
77 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2T5
September 7, 2017