Should the City of Burlington conduct peer reviews of Meridian Brick’s annual Compliance Assessment Reports? If so, who should pay?
That question was raised by members of the Tyandaga Environmental Coalition (TEC) at the first meeting of the new Aldershot Quarry Community Liaison Committee.
According to the recently released “notes and highlights” of the February 22nd private meeting, TEC requested that Meridian fund the City to conduct peer reviews of its Compliance Reports as well as sound technical reports. The company said it would not pay because the Ministry already does peer reviews.
“With regards to peer reviews, the Mayor indicated that funding will be a council decision, requiring four votes. Council would need to know specifically which studies are of concern and why”, according to the notes issued by the Mayor’s Office.
The Committee was set up by Mayor Meed Ward to “provide an opportunity for questions, concerns, ideas and new information related to the Quarry’s ongoing activities”. The meetings are not open to the public but minutes are published later.
The Compliance Report is an annual and detailed analysis of the quarry operation. It is submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry with copies to the City and Region. The most recent report was submitted in September. It covers a wide variety of topics, in checklist form, including: dust suppression, noise mitigation, screening, security, rehabilitation, etcetera.
Meridian has longstanding approval to expand its operation into its east quarry, close to Tyandaga, but has run into opposition from nearby neighbours.
Also at the meeting, according to the notes, questions were again raised about salamanders. The allegation is that the company’s recently completed studies were “being done at the wrong time of the year, by an inadequately qualified individual, thus possibly not yielding correct results.” No rare Jefferson salamanders were found.
“The study was done over a span of three years and involved more than one person” according to a Company representative at the meeting.
Questions were also raised about the air quality monitoring program which is being developed with a third-party consultant named Wood PLC. Residents want to participate in discussions with the consultant prior to final approval of the monitoring plan. Meridian would not commit at this time. Air quality monitoring will be on a continuous basis once extraction starts in the new east quarry.
Finally, the meeting notes confirm that the City will not be proceeding with an air quality bylaw, as demanded by nearby residents, but instead has asked staff to report back in April on the feasibility and criteria for a health protection bylaw. Traditionally, however, health issues fall under the jurisdiction of the Region of Halton. The company website says the quarry had been operating for 10 years before the Tyandaga West subdivision has approved.
By Rick Craven