Not every piece of land can be used as a pit or quarry. Only Mother Nature dictates where these resources are located and in what amount. Although we sometimes find sites that are ideally located, the aggregate may not be abundant enough to justify the cost of setting up a fully operational pit or quarry. Furthermore, because stone, sand and gravel sources are naturally occurring, they can be easily lost when houses or other developments are constructed over top of them.
Our industry sometimes faces opposition when a pit or quarry permit is applied for. Everyone needs aggregate, but who wants a quarry or pit next door to them when they could have a park or even a new shopping centre instead? The reality is that most opposition comes before a pit or quarry is licensed. Once operations begin, neighbours quickly realize that living next to a pit or quarry is quite pleasant.
Because aggregates are a non-renewable resource, our industry continually struggles to find conveniently located sites that:
1) Have an abundant supply of aggregate;
2) Are conveniently located to the location they will be used in; and
3) Are unconstrained by the myriad of competing land uses that could render the deposit unusable.
Local aggregate pits and quarries are a responsible use of land. With Provincial Plan review underway, it's important everyone understands that no new prohibitions should be considered on aggregate extraction.
The aggregate footprint in Ontario is small: only 1.5% of Provincial Plan Areas are licensed for aggregate - only 0.6% us under active operation.
Aggregate does not threaten agricultural land: of the 4.9 million hectares of prime agricultural land in Southern Ontario, only 0.7% is licensed.
The Provincial Plans already protect the environment.
Aggregate is found only where mother nature put it.
But replacement of licensed reserves is not keeping up in the Provincial Plan areas. Since 1990, over 100 licenses have been surrendered (3,000 ha) and returned to other uses including agriculture and natural land. During that time, only 0.1% or 875 ha of Provincial Plan lands has been licensed.