The Fleming Quarry, owned by Fowler Construction Co. Ltd. is quite literally within a stone's throw from our community. The closest homes are approximately 80 metres away.
Here is the link to Fowler's website detailing the plans for the Fleming quarry, and the assessments (paid for by Fowler). They recently added the township peer reviews of the reports, and their responses to the peer reviews. Here is the most recent version we have of their site plans.
Fowler has purchased the property to the north, and has applied to not only re-zone this land from Rural to Mineral Aggregate Extraction, but has also applied for amendments to its existing quarry, to be able to blast a further 15 metres deeper, and to come 22 metres closer to Rama Road, and dangerously closer to our community. If approved, Fowler's plans would extend the active quarry's lifetime by about 76 years.
This is not how any of us envisioned raising our families or enjoying our retirement, in this beautiful community on the shores of Lake Couchiching. This is not the legacy we want to leave for future generations.
However, since our small community has banded together in challenging this threat to our safety and quality of life, we have realized that we need experienced help. We have retained the services of esteemed environmental lawyer David Donnelly. With his knowledgeable and common-sense legal arguments, Ramara Town Council was convinced to oppose the rezoning of the proposed new quarry property.
Now we must prepare for the battle ahead as Fowler has appealed the decision to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT, formerly named LPAT). With the township on our side, our chances at the OLT are very good.
Fundraising has begun to help us pay for our lawyer's continued representation, as well as the fees of various highly-trained experts, so we can have the best possible outcome in defeating the quarry at the OLT.
We feel quite optimistic about our chances of success. Together, we can do this!
We are a local group of concerned residents, working on behalf of, and in cooperation with our neighbours. The health and safety of local residents, properties, and wildlife are at risk.
With the help of our tireless volunteers, we research the issues, and consult with experts to better inform our group how to effectively object to the various powers-that-be via the appropriate channels.
We have had to learn so much over the last 4 years since we first heard of the proposed expansion, in order to defend our position that the quarry should not have priority over the people that live here.
There is strength in numbers, so on behalf of our community, we appreciate your support. There are so many issues at stake that affect us all. Since we are not sure which ones will carry the most weight at the OLT, we are preparing from all possible angles.
Click the button below to see some of the things we are doing.
Fowler has stated that our groundwater is protected from a reduction in quality and / or quantity because of the non-porous nature of granite.
To quote from page 5 of Golder Associates’ hydrogeological report (Fowler-paid consultant):
Unweathered and unfractured metamorphic rocks (such as the quartzo-feldspathic gneiss or mafic gneiss seen at the site) have primary porosities (i.e. natural volume of void space) that are typically less than two percent, and primary permeabilities close to zero. Secondary porosity and permeability are commonly developed through fracturing and weathering of the rock. Fractured metamorphic rocks may exhibit secondary porosities up to ten percent (Freeze and Cherry, 1979). Groundwater flow within such bedrock aquifers is primarily through secondary porosity from fractures that have developed.
This would indicate that not only is seepage already occurring naturally at 2%, but is made worse by the quarry activity that would create the secondary porosity via fractures, resulting in a 10% leakage.
How are everybody's wells doing?
Fowler currently has a Permit to Take Water (PTTW) for approximately 2 million litres of water per day. A PTTW is required by the Ministry of Environment for amounts above 50,000 litres per day. The only other PTTW in this area is for the municipal well that services all of Davy Drive, about 1.5 km from the quarry. For perspective, the PTTW for the entire street of about 35 permanent homes on Davy is 75,000 litres per day. The quarry is approved to take 1,940,000 litres per day.
This water is used for washing their aggregate products, and pools into a quarry sump, along with groundwater (the quarry is already licensed as Class A: Below Water). This water is pumped out into the Green River tributary, which is home to the nesting Trumpeter swans, and other various species at risk.
The surface run-off flows to the Black River watershed, an area that is highly prone to flooding every spring, coincidentally since Fowler resumed quarry operations around 2013.
So many of our waterways in this area are connected.
The quarry is already below the water table, and they want to go 15 metres deeper?
Since the Fleming quarry is within a 500-metre radius of a closed county landfill site, it is required to conduct a D4 assessment for the potential risk to groundwater via leachate migration from the closed landfill.
In the report, it states that no information was available via the Freedom of Information Act from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change about this landfill, or what could be in it.
Many local residents are quite familiar with what is likely in it, from their experience decades ago when it was an active and open landfill, before the days of tight regulation standards.
Similarly, the report stated that neither Simcoe County nor the company performing the D4 assessment monitored the actual soil in the landfill site. Yet they feel confident in their assessment that since, "the site is heavily vegetated and shows negligible signs of leachate impact," that, "significant impact to the proposed expansion lands as a result of hazardous waste at the closed landfill site is not expected."
What about the wetland? What about our drinking water? Given what we know about the porous nature of fractured metamorphic rocks, it is not unfeasible that contaminants could leach into the groundwater, with every blast and vibration.