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Concerns over proposed Black Bay quarry

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

Sean Chase/Daily Observer
Renfrew County planner Charles Cheeseman explains plans for a new quarry in the Black Bay area to town councillors Monday night.

Sean Chase/Daily Observer Renfrew County planner Charles Cheeseman explains plans for a new quarry in the Black Bay area to town councillors Monday night.

PETAWAWA – Residents of Black Bay say they won't support another quarry in their area telling council they have concerns over truck traffic, air quality and potential harm to the environment.

On Monday night, the town was presented with a zoning bylaw amendment from H&H Construction for a proposed mineral aggregate operation at 1417 Black Bay Road. The amendment would permit a 60-hectare quarry to be located within 300 metres of existing single attached dwellings and prohibit an asphalt manufacturing plant and concrete manufacturing plant.

While the subject lands are primarily designated rural under Petawawa's official plan, there is a linear portion fronting along Black Bay Road that is already designated mineral aggregate and zoned fro extractive industrial operations. The company plans to haul 450,000 tonnes of aggregate material from the proposed pit each year.

County planner Charles Cheeseman told council that hydrogeological, archaeological and environmental assessments have been done on the site, as well as a blast impact analysis, noise and traffic impact studies, all which have been submitted to provincial regulatory bodies. He noted there are private properties and a provincially significant wetland surrounding the location. Pointing to the Provincial Policy Statement, Cheeseman said plans for such quarry operations must mitigate adverse effects to the environment and minimize risk to public health and safety.

“Mineral aggregate resources are important but their extraction shall take place in a way that minimizes social, economic and environmental impacts,” said Cheeseman. “Those are the things you will have to think about.”

With the town considering another pit, Sherwood Nieman, owner of Do-All Construction, once more asked council for permission to increase his annual tonnage of mineral aggregate from 60,000 to 300,000. The Nieman Pit at the end of Black Bay Road cannot keep up with the demand for aggregate, he said, adding he has had to turn down contracts with Garrison Petawawa and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories.

“Quarries are needed,” said Nieman. “All I am asking is for the town to be fair and for council to be fair.”

Residents living in the area not only expressed opposition to plans for a new pit but were critical of the current Nieman Pit as well. Homeowner Tom Laverne said he can hear the sound of the crushing equipment from kilometres away adding he has tried to sell his property, however, prospective buyers are not interested in a house near a quarry.

Others who spoke at the public meeting called the environmental studies done on the proposed pit flawed adding blanding turtles and other habitats are living in the area and would be affected. One concerned resident pointed to what he believed were bad environmental practices at the Nieman pit. When directed by Mayor Bob Sweet to address the current proposed pit, the homeowner stated that if there is no environmental oversight now then what can residents expect in the way of oversight in the future.

“This will be an environmental disaster,” he said.

Kristi Beatty, a biologist/ project manager for the firm of Ontario Resource Management Group, responded that if they confirm the presence of blanding turtles they must report it the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. She noted the project will not affect any wetlands. 

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