On March 11, 2011, the Highland Companies — backed by a US hedge fund, the Baupost Group — applied for a license to excavate a quarry in southwestern Ontario, just north of Orangeville. The quarry would be the largest Canada has ever seen and span 2,316 acres. For those living in the area, this would be the equivalent of the area in Toronto from the Don Valley Parkway to Dufferin Street, and St. Clair Avenue down to Lake Ontario. Of particular importance is the destruction of precious Class 1 farmland, which would result from the excavation, as well as the impact to the water in the area. The proposed quarry would plunge 200 feet below the water table, which feed in the headwaters of five rivers. The result would be that 600-million-litres of water would need to be pumped from the mega quarry every day, in perpetuity.
What is especially disturbing is that this prime farmland was originally purchased with the stated intent of farming it. However, immediately upon consolidating ownership of the land, Highland Companies has turned around and promptly filed application for a mega limestone quarry; a quarry that will destroy the high-quality soil of Ontario’s farming heartland, disrupt the waters of 5 major rivers for generations to come, require water pumping generators to pump the water in perpetuity due to the permanent disruption of the underlying water table, and create immeasurable impact to the vast acres of neighbouring farmland, not to mention very real potential of pollution of the pristine water that currently serves over one million Ontario residents.
More information about this issue can be found at Canadian Chefs Congress.
In particular, on October 16th from 11am to 5pm, an event will be held where Chef Michael Stadlander and 70 other of Canada’s best Chefs will be cooking in solidarity with the movement to Stop the Mega Quarry. Be there to share the land and make a stand. Tickets are pay what you can and can also be bought either through the site, or at the event the day of. All proceeds will go towards assisting with the legal costs of fighting the Mega Quarry.
Thank you very much for reading this post, and do pass the word along. This land and water is ours. We have an opportunity to take a stand, so let’s take it.