Save Our Water
During the Covid-19 crisis, if you have extra time at home, here are some reading suggestions about protecting the water and the environment in Tiny Township:
NEW documentary: Elmvale – The Cleanest Water on Earth – a short video focusing on Dr. William Shotyk and his scientific colleagues and their desire to research and document what makes this water exceptional
Did you know….
- Groundwater used by private wells in Tiny Township is not protected by the Clean Water Act.
- Aggregate extraction (gravel and sand pits) in Tiny Township has increased by more than 60% since 2000.
- The company that owns the Teedon Pit, CRH Canada (formerly Dufferin) wants to extend the Teedon Gravel Pit above the Alliston Aquifer.
- In addition to the potential environmental risks posed by the extraction and washing of gravel so close to the aquifer, the pit running at capacity could mean 40 trucks an hour coming in and out of Tiny Township.
- The Sarjeant Company has a license to dig two new gravel pits in Concession 1 above the Alliston Aquifer and to extract gravel below the water table at one of them.
Save our Water: Stop the Extension of the Teedon Gravel Pit
The LPAT Hearing
- We’re fighting against the extension of the Teedon Gravel Pit and the renewal of its permit to take water to wash gravel.
- This gravel pit is in Tiny Township over the aquifer that supplies pure water for much of North Simcoe and beyond and was threatened over 10 years ago by the proposal to establish Dump Site 41.
- Residents near the Teedon gravel pit, who rely on groundwater because there is no municipal water system in their part of Tiny Township, began reporting silt in their wells, local streams and springs soon after the Teedon Pit expanded in 2008-2009, though the connection between the pit operation and the impacts on wells is disputed by the province and the pit owner. Silt has also been observed recently in the water at the water kiosk on County Road 27, just north of Elmvale.
- The current pit owners appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (formerly OMB) because of the Township’s failure to amend its Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw to allow for the expansion of the pit above the aquifer. FoTTSA has been granted party status in the appeal.
- The potential impacts to water are so serious that lawyers with the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) have agreed to represent FoTTSA pro bono at the LPAT appeal.
- FoTTSA needs to raise at least $100,000 to cover all the other legal costs including hiring expert witnesses.
Spread the word
Lawn signs are now available with a minimum $10 donation. Remember in Tiny Township, you must place any sign on your private property behind your 911 sign (approximately where the township property ends). Please help us spread the word about this incredibly important fight – thank you for your support! To get a sign, email us and we’ll get it organized: firstname.lastname@example.org
What does the Teedon pit look like? See video footage of the pit here
Save our Water Legal Fund Campaign
If you would like to support FoTTSA’s expenses in the legal campaign to stop the expansion of the Teedon Gravel Pit (Save our Water!) please include a note with your cheque or email our treasurer, Linda Andrews: email@example.com Please note that we cannot issue tax deductible receipts for donations. Ways to donate securely:
Interac e-transfer – firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheque – made out to FoTTSA and mailed to: Linda Andrews, 42 Haselmere Road · Toronto,, Ontario M4N 1X6
Credit card or Paypal – can be a once only donation or a monthly recurring donation
What you can do:
- Put up a lawn sign: Lawn signs are now available with a minimum $10 donation. Remember in Tiny Township, you must place any sign on your private property behind your 911 sign (approximately where the township property ends). Email us and we’ll get you a sign: email@example.com
- Stay informed and tell your friends – follow FoTTSA on Instagram @tinycottager_fottsa and the Friends of the Waverley Uplands on Facebook. Join our mailing list for the FoTTSA Flash and other email updates – send your email address to: firstname.lastname@example.org Share this Save-our-Water-FoTTSA-Flyer-
- Talk to us – do you have questions? Would you like us to arrange a speaker for an event? Can you help in another way? Judith Grant is the FoTTSA spokesperson on this issue and she can be reached by email email@example.com
- Finance the fight – CELA is providing free legal assistance but FoTTSA is responsible for all CELA’s expenses (travel, hotels, photocopies, supplies) and for the cost of retaining essential witnesses like a hydrogeologist and a planner. These expenses will amount to thousands of dollars. Help us by making a donation to FoTTSA’s Save Our Water Legal Fund by PayPal, e-transfer or cheque and indicating “Save Our Water Legal Fund”
- Participate in events and protests – see below for upcoming events
Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition Video Dr. William Shotyk explains the importance of the Waverley Uplands and how he is testing the water of the aquifer
January 23rd, 2020 Open Letter to the General Public, regarding chemical analyses of artesian flows in the Elmvale area by Dr. William Shotyk
February 5th, 2020 Podcast by the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition about the fight to save the Waverly Uplands
Here are 3 photos of the Teedon Pit showing its expansion:
- in 2008, before the sump (wash) pond was created
- in 2009, with expanded extraction and after the illegal sump pond was created (it was legalized later); it is topped up regularly with water from a nearby well
- now in 2019 with 2 settlement ponds and the sump pond plus green newly seeeded land
2008 (detail from Simcoe County map) – no pond visible, only small quarry
2009 (detail from Google Earth map) – large pond created, expanded quarry area
2019 (detail from drone image obtained legally by FoTTSA) – large pond visible with 2 adjacent wash ponds; newly seeded land in the foreground (green); facing west, Georgian Bay in the background
Friends of the Waverley Uplands
Like-minded citizens coming together to safeguard the Alliston Aquifer, one of nature’s last and purest sources of water in the world, which provides gold-standard drinking water from the Oak Ridges Moraine north to Wyebridge, Ontario; from the foot hills at Collingwood in the west, to Lake Simcoe in the East.
Facebook page: Friends of the Waverley Uplands
Teedon Pit Gates Protest – Friday September 13th 9am-1pm. Please join us at the Teedon Pit gates, 40 Darby Rd., Waverley. Bring a chair, dress for the elements, bring signs. This is a peaceful event.
July 28th – supporters were at The Elmvale Flow water kiosk from noon to 5 pm to communicate more about what we can each do to Save Our Water
Wednesday July 17th at 2:30 pm – Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, spoke at the Teedon Pit gate about the potential environmental risks posed by the pit. Here’s what she said: Elizabeth May – July 17th 2019
Dr. William Shotyk at Tay Township Council – June 12th, 2019 10 am, 450 Park St, Victoria Harbour. The Cleanest Water on Earth: some research highlights from the past 30 years of scientific study of the artesian flow systems of the area.
Public Meeting – Sunday April 28, Elmvale – Dr. John Cherry: Groundwater – What is it? Where does it come from? Where does it go?What does it consist of? What are the risks to it and What can we do to protect our groundwater for future generations? Dr. John Cherry is the Director, University Consortium for Field-Focused Research and principal investigator, G360 Institute for Groundwater Research at the University of Guelph. The public meeting was co-sponsored by AWARE Simcoe and the Elmvale Foundation.
Sarjeant Pits – Road Improvement Agreement between the Township of Tiny and the Sarjeant Company
In 2011 the Township and the Sarjeant Company entered into a road improvement agreement regarding French Road, which Sarjeant intended to use as a haul road for the operation of two licensed pits in Parts of Lots 78 and 79 Old Survey (south and east of the Teedon Pit), in Concession 1 of Tiny. The only user of the road would be Sarjeant since there are no dwellings on it. The improvements were not made, and the pits were not used.
In 2019, Sarjeant decided to make the pits operational and approached the Township about executing an Amending Agreement to the French Road Improvement Agreement so that it could bring the road up to haul road standard and gravel could be trucked out to County Road 27. Requirements for the haul road were updated. Since Sarjeant was the sole user of the road, Councillor Mintoff suggested that the Amending Agreement require Sarjeant to maintain the road to an appropriate standard throughout the period when it was needed as a haul road and then turn it over to the Township in good condition.
The decision was taken to revisit the Amending Agreement to include a clause regarding the ongoing maintenance and care of the truck haul route by the Sarjeant Company. FoTTSA noted that this road is the only control Tiny has over the Sarjeant gravel pits: the zoning is aggregate, the license to take gravel is in the hands of the province, and if washing of gravel is contemplated, the Permit to take Water is also controlled by the province. FoTTSA therefore made an open, unscheduled deputation on October 16th, 2019 at the Council Meeting because the by-law about the haul road was on the agenda. Following that, an open unscheduled deputation was made by a representative from the Sarjeant company.
FoTTSA Deputation to Tiny Council on December 9th, 2019: Sarjeant Haul Road & Waverley Uplands Aquifer 2019
Tiny Council decided October 28th, 2019 to defer passage of the French Road Haul Route Amending Agreement until staff reports back on discussions with the Sarjeant Company regarding the storing, recycling and processing of asphalt at Waverley Pits 1 and 2 and aggregate extraction below the water table at Waverley Pit 2. This is just a small delay to the potential start of extraction in 2 more pits adjacent to the Alliston Aquifer but it is very important.
Council decision – Aggregate Resource Act review comments:
Council decision regarding the French Road Haul Route Amending Agreement:
Update and Deputation Wednesday October 16th, 2019
Full Text FoTTSA Deputation 16-10-2019
In a 23 page letter dated January 3, 2020, CRH Canada Group Inc claimed to have resolved all the issues raised by individuals and groups who submitted comments about its intention to extend the Teedon Pit in Concession 1 of Tiny Township north into French’s Hill. FoTTSA believes that the main concerns about protecting the water in the Alliston Aquifer have not been resolved. On January 29th, 2020 FoTTSA hand-delivered its Objector Response letter as well as an expert opinion from hydrogeologist Wilf Ruland to CRH and to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Read FoTTSA’s letter here and the hydrogeologist’s expert opinion here. Read CRH’s letter here
Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition Aggregate Reform Review – May 1st, 2019 -Aggregate extraction in Tiny Township has increased more than 60% since 2000. This is an excellent overview of the the aggregate industry in North Simcoe and its impact on the environment now and in the future.
Aware Ontario Teedon Pit Overview
Simcoe Aware Aggregates Page
2019 Teedon Pit Extension Application to MNRF under the Aggregate Resources Act
2012 Planning Application to Township of Tiny – Expansion of The Teedon Pit
Dufferin Community Liaison Committee meeting minutes and other information: https://www.dufferinaggregates.com/resourcecentre/#tab-id-6
Tiny Cottager Article Fall 2019: Scientist Urges a Moratorium on Aggregate Extraction
By Peter and Jenny Anderson and Christopher Williams
From the Fall/Winter 2018 Tiny Cottager Newspaper
The Friends of the Waverley Uplands, a group of like-minded community members, continue to work towards greater stewardship and protection of the Alliston Aquifer, whose headwaters are sourced locally in the area of French’s Hill. In addition to responsible stewardship and protection of this aquifer for future generations, we are committed to sharing information and research with public and elected officials, encouraging action, and preserving this pristine aquifer. Many members are veterans of the Site 41 fight, and several were asked to sit on the Community Liaison Committee (CLC) established by the Teedon Pit operations of CRH Canada Inc. As reported in earlier Tiny Township Council meetings, there were significant gaps in the CRH water taking permit application currently before the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. CRH’s application did not include any information regarding the final disposition of the millions of litres of water pumped for use in gravel washing operations. As a consequence, our members on the CLC encouraged CRH to drill additional monitoring wells around the perimeter of their current operations so that we could establish important baselines. This information was necessary to determine upper and lower aquifer flows, and specifically whether the gravel wash ponds were leaking sediment laden wash water into the upper aquifer, resulting in contamination of a number of nearby drinking water wells. To date, our meetings with CRH have confirmed the following:
- CRH was in receipt of the Wilf Ruland hydrogeology report. This report points to the Teedon Pit on French’s Hill as the source of sediment contamination in area wells.
- Operationally, CRH reported they are actively mining the west wall and that the crusher plant and wash plant are now beside each other and in full operation. They remain 40 meters above the established water table (they are permitted to excavate within 1.5 meters). Seven new monitoring wells have been established and CRH has committed to posting daily data on their website.
- The new wells only report on groundwater levels as opposed to data regarding off-site contamination of water wells by the wash plant.
- CRH confirmed that they only use calcium dust suppressant on the paved asphalt at the plant exit and do not use any type of flocculant in the wash pond.
- CRH indicated they plan to amend their site plan to exclude the northeast wetlands area from proposed development. Our members asked CRH to remove the receipt of asphalt and construction materials from their permit. This would reduce the risk of contamination to this vulnerable aquifer.
The June meeting then transitioned to a lengthy discussion regarding traffic safety, noise and vibrations that were impacting homes near the entrance to the pit. Tiny Council has requested a staff report to address road shoulders, speed and a community safety zone. These issues consumed the remaining time. The most recent CLC meeting took place on September 13, 2018. A shout of thanks go out to all the organizers and attendees for their continued support. Although our MPP Jill Dunlop and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner were called to an emergency meeting of the House and could not attend, we were fortunate to have Beausoleil First Nations Chief Guy Monague in attendance. He spoke to the greater issues of First Nations’ challenges across Canada and emphasized the importance of water as the lifeblood of our community. The meeting was largely a report from CRH’s hydrogeologist. CRH took a firm position that their operations and “no quarry worldwide” has negatively impacted groundwater. Their data to date, from seven new wells, confirm that the groundwater flows from east to west. Ironically, the previous hydrogeologist offered by the quarry was of the opinion the flow was only to the east. They also have taken a firm position that silted water cannot move laterally from the silt pond. This is curious, as we know of local groundwater springs that are milky with sediment. This conflicting information highlights why much more study is necessary. Unfortunately, CRH have rejected the findings of hydrogeologist Wilf Ruland and dispute the opinion and findings of environmental geochemist William Shotyk (Professor and Bocock Chair for Agriculture and the Environment at the University of Alberta), while praising their relationship with the inspector from the ministry. John Cherry, a world-renowned hydrogeologist and Professor Emeritus at University of Waterloo, University of Saskatchewan and University of California, Berkeley states, “the wealth of the plains depends on the health of the hill.” He also stated recently that “the single greatest threat to groundwater in Ontario is the Ministry of the Environment.” In conclusion, the reliability of the CRH opinion has to be weighed against the biased lens of their agenda. We should not be surprised by their findings. However, now that they have taken a clear position, it is time to challenge them with a set of “alternative facts” from key players and scientists whose only interest is the purity of the water.
To learn more, follow The Friends of the Waverley Uplands Facebook page