Dorset, ON – January 18, 2017: A group of residents in the Harvey Lake Area (HLAR) remain opposed to the now 35-acre proposed John Bacher Construction quarry, which extends to only 400 metres away from the shoreline and cottages of Harvey Lake with potential crushing all summer long and have submitted a second round of formal objections
to the Ministry of Natural Resources.
“Critical concerns remain about the proposed quarry’s large 35-acre footprint, proximity to cottages and Harvey Lake, their ability to crush rock all summer long, and lack of dust, noise, water and environmental protection,” said Harvey Lake resident Aaron Court.
“While we are pleased our efforts to date have produced some positive results in making the footprint smaller, it has been through sheer determination and countless hours of research, and hard work by area volunteers that best practices have been brought to light and through tenacity that they have been reluctantly and inefficiently adopted – all to protect the area,” said Court. “The reality is that the group of volunteers will be unable to diligently monitor this quarry and the proponent’s own consultant has informed us that the Ministry has minimal resources to police such operations.”
HLAR contends that Crown Land shouldn’t be considered an inheritance for the proponent’s children or grandchildren – the health and well-being of area children and the future of Harvey Lake is far more important than financial gain. This application could set a significant precedence in protecting Haliburton Country, which has substantial amounts of aggregate potential Crown Land near cottages, lakes, and homes. The County is at a critical juncture – we need to vigorously demand the MNRF respects local zoning, and The Official Town Plan, similar to the Muskoka Region.
The quarry would be permitted to fulfill large municipal contracts – right behind recreational use properties in the heart of Algonquin Highlands cottage country – setting a dangerous precedence for the area and one which the Muskoka Region has rejected. The objections submitted by Harvey Lake Area Residents after receiving a response from the applicants’ consultant to objections include:
• Potential for noisy and dusty rock crushing all summer long will destroy the reasonable enjoyment of nearby cottages and homes.
• The aggregate development would permit stripping, extraction, blasting and crushing in close proximity to wetlands that flow directly into Harvey Lake and then Kawagama Lake and then on to Lake of Bays.
• Airborne particles and contaminants are a concern of residents, who are only 400 metres from the proposed quarry and whose drinking water is currently taken from Harvey Lake.
• Noise and environmental reports have recommended no drilling when there are no leaves on the trees, as leaves to provide noise and dust screening. The applicant has proposed substantial activities during the fall, thereby putting permanent residents at risk of extraordinarily high noise impacts.
• Assurances of the quarry being a small operation are not reflected in the footprint of the quarry, nor in the operating conditions. In fact, the permit application allows for large municipal contracts to be filled with large crushers – directly behind recreational cottages accustomed to the ambient sounds of nature and just down the road from Otter Lake.
• Drinking water should never be put at risk. The site’s natural water drainage occurs mainly towards the adjacent meadow marsh and stream flowing into Harvey Lake. Unlimited term for permit allows for exemption from tightening restrictions for the next 50-100 years
“The residents of little Harvey Lake have been on the lake for over 60 years and are now faced with the destruction of their surrounding area which will be stripped of its trees, dust-filled, and so noisy we would not be able to enjoy our properties during the peak summer season,” said Aaron Court. “To state this would not impact the reasonable enjoyment of our cottages, and not impact our property values is unreasonable. While we understand local business is important, this is simply a play for more profit, as local needs can be met through local quarries with direct highway access. The quarry should not be at the expense of the Harvey Lake families, cottages or the wellness of the lake.”