Ridge Road doesn’t need another aggregate pit

Another aggregate pit on Ridge Road? Is five not enough? Is it right to destroy arable farmland, currently zoned and used for agricultural purposes, to create yet another gravel pit to replace the Greenridge Asparagus Farm? Is it right to damage environmentally sensitive streams and endanger fresh water sources for the almighty dollar?

Paul Greer and Sons Excavating Ltd. has applied to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for a licence to excavate aggregate on 40-plus acres of farmland on Ridge Road.

Agriculture has been an important part of the county’s history and continues to hold that status. Digging up farmland to excavate sand and gravel and leaving it as a barren wasteland does not promote sustainable use of our natural resources.

As we already face water shortages in the County, we must preserve natural watersheds and protect public health by way of proper zoning. The sensitive eco-system of Waring’s Creek is once again at risk of probable negative impacts from this proposed aggregate development. Many studies have shown that the extraction of above-water aggregates adversely affects local watersheds, wells and agricultural lands. Where will dust-reducing nitrates, chlorides, other chemicals and heavy oils go but leach into our groundwater?

Soil, plants, sand and gravel around the wetlands of Waring’s Creek act as a natural filter, slowly dispersing water back into the aquifer, continually regenerating water in the creek. This natural process supports surrounding wetlands, agriculture and local water wells. Impacting this natural dispersion of water will affect the environment and many surrounding farms.

As to rehabilitation of an excavation site: how does one restore a site that is uninhabitable, when the natural habitat has been destroyed? Filling a hole of that dimension with concrete and/or contaminated matter is not restoring the land!

This will also do nothing to rehabilitate the wetlands of Waring’s Creek (which now holds the only cold-water fish in the county), local farmlands and wells. Can anyone point out an aggregate pit that has been restored to anything other than an eyesore?

Other potential impacts are social and economic and draw further questions. Will there be monitoring of local residents’ water sources? Will there be environmental monitoring of impacts on Warning’s Creek? Will the County budget for the cost to repair the wear and tear on local roads that were not intended for heavy equipment and truck traffic? Will the County consider that the operation of this pit does not create significant employment opportunities for its residents? Does the County plan to conduct a cumulative impact study of all five excavation sites on Ridge Road as part of the environmental and social impact assessment?

We should support only projects that have sustainable rehabilitation plans addressing the environmental, social and economic impacts of a project. Let’s contact our councillors and express our concerns. Let’s start doing the right thing and protect the future for our children and grandchildren!

Ilona Anderson