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Blind River hears argument for moratorium on quarry developments

Council accepts report from Demanding A Moratorium Now (DAMN) campaign
Blandings turle
Blanding's turtle. Source: / Ian Dickinson

Blind River council has given its support to a move to ban all new quarry developments in Ontario.

Rhonda Kirby, a steering member, and northern representative with the Reform Gravel Mining Coalition founded in January this year, made a virtual presentation to council Monday evening.

She is also a member of the Demanding A Moratorium Now (DAMN) campaign which is attempting to halt the creation and approval of a gravel pit development in the township of North Shore.

The group contends the pit will have a negative impact on the local environment in the area to be mined and on the waters of Lake Lauzon, Long Lake and the Serpent River watershed and Lake Huron. It would also threaten the habitat of the endangered Blanding’s turtle.

“If approved it (the pit) will destroy the second-largest documented population of Blanding’s turtles in the province and perhaps in the country,” she said of local efforts to halt the proposed development in Blind River’s neighbour North Shore. “Gravel mining is not a benign or harmless activity. It destroys the existing natural environment and can damage communities.”

The movement has garnered about 5,300 supporters.

The group also claims the need for gravel for road work and maintenance has declined, despite efforts to increase the number of gravel mines operating.

The province prohibits individual municipalities from having input into regulations governing pit operations.

“We should attempt to minimize the number of gravel mines in Ontario unfortunately the opposite is happening.”

It is estimated more than 5,000 acres of Ontario land annually is turned into gravel mining operations, she noted.

Kirby said the group in its provincial campaign is advocating for a temporary moratorium in the province for the creation of new pit operations and would not include current existing sites. They are looking for new regulations to be put in place with input from municipalities and Indigenous communities to safeguard the environment.

“The Progressive Conservative government has slammed the doors in our face,” she added as efforts for new regulations and a moratorium continue.


About the Author: Kris Svela

Kris Svela has worked in community newspapers for the past 36 years covering politics, human interest, courts, municipal councils, and the wide range of other topics of community interest
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