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Burlington council asks Province to deny Nelson Aggregates' mining expansion

The request comes as part of an ongoing battle between the City of Burlington and the aggregate company

Burlington councillors unanimously voted to submit a request to the Province of Ontario to deny a mining company’s application to expand their Mount Nemo open-pit quarry this morning (May 21).

The council meeting heard from representatives of CORE Burlington and Protecting Escarpment Rural Land, local environmental groups, before agreeing to submit their concerns to the provincial government.

A motion memorandum was brought forward by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Ward 3 councillor Rory Nisan, explaining the reasons to protect the area.

Nelson Aggregates has operated a limestone quarry in the area for more than 70 years and has faced push-back from the community over their practices and the possible expansion. Nelson would like to expand the quarry into what are currently residential and agricultural areas and the Burlington Springs golf course.

The Mount Nemo Plateau is located in both the Greenbelt and the Niagara Escarpment UNESCO Biosphere reserve and is the habitat of several endangered species. The area also has a large amount of wetlands and head water tributaries in the region that could be disturbed by the expansion. The balance of the Mount Nemo Plateau is prime agricultural land and the farmland is also under threat of development for aggregate extraction now and in the future.

The City of Burlington will be asking the province to deny Nelson Aggregates’ application and to establish long-term protection for the area by redesignating the Mount Nemo Plateau. The request will be sent to Premier Doug Ford and his ministers of the environment and natural resources, as well as local MPPs such as Burlington’s Natalie Pierre, Milton’s Zee Hamid and Oakville’s Effie Triantafilopoulos. Hamid campaigned during his recent by-election victory on the assurance that he would not allow the Nelson quarry to expand.

Representatives from the Halton Region, the Joint Agency Review Team and local environmental groups have several concerns over the damage that an expansion to the quarry could do to both the environment and to the health of people in the area.

The groups believe that Nelson Aggregates expansion would threaten water resources and the natural features that depend on them, such as the surrounding wetlands and the destruction of fish and amphibian habitats.

Additionally, the area would see significant increases in both noise and air pollution, which could prove hazardous to local communities, and the danger of rocks thrown clear from the quarry by the explosives used by Nelson Aggregates also remains a problem.

A similar application from the company was denied in 2012 and a push to have the area redesignated to Escarpment Natural and Escarpment Protection fell through in 2016. This designation would keep much of the area as natural as possible and restrict development.

There are currently 22 active quarries in the Halton region which produce 13 times the annual average demand for aggregate in Ontario.

Council has also asked the province to establish long-term protection through the redesignation of the Mount Nemo Plateau to Escarpment Natural and Escarpment Protection.

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Calum O'Malley

About the Author: Calum O'Malley

Calum O’Malley was born and raised in Burlington and became a full-time reporter in 2024
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