Hastings County’s Planning and Development Committee will be meeting June 18th in Belleville to vote on the zoning by-law that will decide whether or not the proposed quarry moves forward.
In advance of that, No Place For a Quarry held a press conference to detail the results of their reports on the added noise and traffic that will be seen if the plan for the proposed quarry moves forward.
“To see what’s happening with the approval in spite of the noise reports and the economic impact has been incredibly disappointing and discouraging,” founder of Grail Springs Madeleine Marentette tells My Bancroft Now. That’s why she says they have gone to the community to get the support they need to go against the proposed quarry. “They’re the ones that are finally voicing themselves and letting people know this is not okay in our backyard,” she says.
“This noise is incompatible with a wellness retreat,” is stated in the noise report done by J.E. Coulter Associates that was presented during the press conference. Economics Professor at the University of Toronto Dr. Peter Tomlinson is part of the team that was brought in to help with the assessments as well. He explains the report done by Coutler states there will be a noise issue. “That’s the threat,” Tomlinson says. In a report done by Hugh Williamson Associates for the proposed quarry, they say the noise level will be below the Provincial standard of 45 decibels. “That provincial standard is not designed for a wellness retreat,” Tomlinson explains.
The report done-up by Tomlinson looked at how many jobs will be gained from the quarry and how many jobs will be at-risk because of it. That includes Grail Springs and the jobs that are connected to them throughout the County. “That’s a total of 31 full-time equivalent jobs that you wouldn’t have if grail springs weren’t here,” he says. Tomlinson explains the jobs produced by the proposed quarry would have been there anyway if the quarry was not. “Maybe five or six jobs net County-wide if that quarry goes ahead,” he says. “One-sixth of the jobs you’re putting at risk at Grail Springs.” Tomlinson adds that not including in that number is jobs in Central Bancroft. With the potential truck traffic coming through, the possibility of it affecting tourism is there too.
While the press conference was held to speak about the effects the proposed quarry could have on Marentette’s business, she says there is a wider effect it could have. “This is not just affecting our business, it’s affecting businesses all over this town and it’s affecting the livelihood and the lifestyle and the health and well being of the people that are living so close to the area,” she says. Marentette says an expansion of Grail Springs has been put on hold for the time being because of the quarry.
No Place For a Quarry’s representative Brian Donnelly explains no matter the decision, it’s expected an appeals process will begin afterwards. He hopes council does vote against the application. “That puts the onus on Freymond to make the appeal,” he says. “They have to prove that the quarry is compatible with the surroundings.”
Freymond Lumber’s representative Brian Zeman was unavailable for comment.