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County’s Decision on Freymond Lumber’s Proposed Quarry Deferred

Hastings County council has decided to defer the vote on the proposed quarry in Faraday Township until June.

Freymond Lumber’s representative Brian Zeman was the first delegation to speak to council. He detailed what the Freymond’s have done over the past six years in preparation of today’s decision. Four public meetings have been held – including a Faraday council meeting and two newsletters have been sent out along with the assessments and reports that have been done. Zeman said he believes the application ready to be presented to council.

There were three delegations from residents opposed to the proposed quarry. No Place for a Quarry Incorporated was one of those delegations and was represented by environmental and municipal lawyer David Donnelly. “In the short term, it’s a win for the residents and cottagers around Bancroft,” he told My Bancroft Now after council voted to defer the vote. From now until June, Donnelly says they will work to get peer reviews done of the traffic impact and on the hydro-geology. He says an economic impact assessment needs to be done as well. “There are a number of issues outstanding that haven’t been resolved,” he says. Donnelly says their reports will be made public before the vote in June.

The issue of the roads in Bancroft was brought up by Mayor Paul Jenkins during the meeting. The Town sent a letter to Zeman in January wanting clarification on what has been done to assess the traffic impact the proposed quarry will have. Zeman said during the meeting there will be little impact to traffic problems in Bancroft. Jenkins told My Bancroft Now after the meeting that he still doesn’t believe the traffic impact was properly assessed. “I think they need to look at the situation in the peak times and come up with something that works,” he says. He says County council would be “remiss” to make a decision on the proposed quarry without all of the necessary information. Donnelly mentioned that No Place for a Quarry Incorporated will work with the Town on a traffic assessment.

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Donnelly says that the over three months they have is enough time to get this done. “If (the traffic report) comes back that it’s perfectly safe then at least we’ve studied it and people will be protected,” he says. With the hydro-geology assessment on the wetlands and lakes that may be affected by the proposed quarry, he echoes what he said about the traffic report: if the water is protected, then they will be satisfied, but if there are problems then the proposed quarry should not be approved.

Questions were brought up by the delegations throughout the meeting about the assessments done by Freymond Lumber, but Hastings County Warden Rick Phillips says they have full confidence in their planning department. “We’ve done our due diligence, I think the experts have done their due diligence,” he says. “I think that county council has all the confidence in the world with our planning department.” He adds that the decision to defer the vote is the right one. He agrees that all the needed information needs to be presented before a decision is made.

“If it takes a few months more to make a decision, let’s get that decision, right,” Donnelly says. “The (proposed) quarry and its impact are forever.”

Freymond Lumber’s representative Brian Zeman had no comment on council’s decision to defer the vote.

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