Rural Burlington community shows up in droves - they didn't leave with much in the way of answers to their questions.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

August 9th, 2019



It took a while for the crowd to show up – but when they did they filled the room at the Conservation Authority offices to hear what ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan had to say about the plans that were made public earlier in the week to turn the quarry on the Second Side Road into a public park.

It was a Standing room only event with Nisan standing before the crowd answering questions as best he could.

He was joined by Burlington Planning Director Heather MacDonald who explained the rules that were in place and what had to be done by whom and when.

MacDonald explained that at this point there was no application for anything from the Quarry. There was a letter about which she said nothing.

Heather_MacDonald COB planner

Heather MacDonald – Director of Planning

MacDonald set out the protocol:

There is a pre-consultation meeting with the applicant. They set out in broad terms what they want to do and what they will be applying for.

The Planners tell them what they have to produce in the way of reports – there are a number of reports that have to be submitted by the applicant.

When all the reports are in and accepted the applicant is required to hold a public meeting which will, MacDonald assured the audience, will be heavily promoted. The city mails out the notices.

It is only after that public meeting has taken place that the city will actually begin processing the application.

Just what it is that Nelson Quarry wants to do is not exactly clear – they have published information on a web site that has been put up.

The link to that web site is:

Beach 1

An architectural rendering of what the mined out quarry could look like when it is mined out and flooded – a lake in a park setting.

The content of the web site can be changed at any moment. At best it is an indicator.

Councillor Nisan was at first a little conflicted with what he could say and couldn’t say. He chose to fall back on one of his election campaign promises – to protect the Escarpment.

He took the position that he wanted to hear what the people in the room had to say.

Rory Aug 8 meet

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan was at the meeting he called to listen to his constituents.

“I want to hear from you guys. This is about you guys”

One women said “We know this is coming – what can we do to prepare?.

There was no advice from the Councillor.

The best advise the crowd was given came from Roger Goulet who was one of the leading voices of the PERL – Protecting Escarpment and Rural Lands.

Do your homework, said Goulet. Read all the reports that are submitted; question everything – go deeper and deeper into the details.

Asked if he had talked to the MPP – Nisan said “not yet” He did tell the audience that “you are going to need to be out there advocating”.

Nor had Nisan talked to or met with anyone from the Quarry even though they are reported to have reached out to the Councillor.

Nisan told the audience that he “could not tell them what his position was” that he needed more time to get all the facts.

There was never any sense that the Council member was going to be part of the team that would lead the battle; but he was going to protect the Escarpment.

More than a dozen people spoke of the damage done to their homes from the blasting done in the quarry. Windows crack, wells get put out of alignment, and dishes rattle in cupboards.

The constant heavy truck traffic with drivers that are much more aggressive was making things worse.

Golf course entrance

Burlington Springs Golf Course – has it been sold?

There were conflicting views on whether or not the golf course had actually been sold to Nelson Quarry. One speaker said the owner is my neighbour and he said he had sold it – others had different stories.

Several said representatives from the quarry were going door to door, in some cases asking for water and earth samples which a real estate agent in the room said they did not have to give – “Just tell them to get off your property. That agent added that the announcement of a quarry expansion would lower the value of properties.

There was a lot of information being bandied about – much of which couldn’t be validated.

What was clear was that the residents didn’t have the leadership they needed and it didn’t look as if much in the way of leadership was going to come from the council member.

Harmer - Mother

Isabelle Harmer on the left.

Several of those who fought long and hard to win at the Joint Application Review Tribunal in 2012 were in the room. Isabelle Harmer spoke on several occasions urging people to get out organize. Harmer will be as supportive as she can.

No one wanted to talk about the park that was being proposed. The concern was with the damage that would be done if an expansion of the quarry were to take place.

At some point the quarry will be mined out and the water will rise. Most of the people in the room last night seemed quite content to let that happen.

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1 comment to Rural Burlington community shows up in droves – they didn’t leave with much in the way of answers to their questions.

  • N Ferreira

    Thankfully I’m not the only person from that room who doesn’t feel our newly elected Councillor didn’t have our best interests in mind. I left feeling anything but positive or encouraged that we would have his support and he would be working for us… the people who elected him.