The re-zoning by-law that will allow the proposed Freymond quarry to move forward has been approved by Hastings County council.
Bancroft’s Mayor Paul Jenkins, Hastings Highlands Mayor Vic Bodnar and Wollaston Township Reeve Barb Shaw were the only three councillors to vote against it.
The County’s Director of Planning Justin Harrow explained the proposed quarry application will now be sent to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. That is led by MPP for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes Steve Clark. Harrow says their review process is likely to take multiple months.
Before the vote was held Reeve of Carlow/Mayo Bonnie Adams spoke how important the forestry industry is to North Hastings. She said that while the tourism industry is important, forestry is the area’s “bread and butter” by approving the proposed quarry, it will help sustain that industry. Hastings Highlands Mayor Vic Bodnar also spoke up and says that his concerns lie with what the economic benefit of the quarry will be to the community. He said he couldn’t vote for the proposed quarry in good conscience.
“Thank you to everyone in our community who has supported the quarry,” the Freymond’s say in a statement. “The 6 year process, detailed studies and peer reviews confirm that despite concerns that have been raised, we will continue to operate as good neighbors in our community.”
Owner of Grail Springs Madeleine Marentette says that she’s disappointed with the decision that was made by County council. “How is it that all of this evidence is being ignored,” she asked. Marentette points out that the main concerns those that are against the quarry have are with the noise impact. She says she, along with other members of No Place for a Quarry, will continue to go around North Hastings speaking to residents and cottagers about what they believe are the risks associated with the proposed quarry.
She adds they will be appealing the decision. A meeting has been scheduled for Friday with lawyer Eric Gillespie who, among other notable cases, was involved in fighting against the proposed “mega quarry” that was to be outside of Bobcaygeon, Ontario. “He’s very interested in the case,” Marentette says.