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Another water-taking permit raises concerns for Tiny councillor

Some council members not convinced the area in question is environmentally sensitive, others believe the opinion they have received from 'reputable scientists'
Council members asked Shawn Persaud (centre top), director of planning and development, to bring forward recommendations from the township's consultants around an aggregate company's application for permit to take water in the township.

A second permit to take water by an aggregate company has raised concerns with Tiny Township council members.

The application submitted by Barrie's Sarjeant Company Ltd. is seeking the permit to take 1.6 million litres of water per day from two ponds located on 1379 Baseline Rd. S. in Tiny. If approved, the company will be able to extract the amount for 180 days a year for the next decade.

Coun. Tony Mintoff, who had raised his voice against a similar application by CRH Canada Group Inc., brought up the matter at a recent committee of the whole meeting for discussion.

He said he intended to bring forward a notice of motion at the same-day council meeting for council's consideration at its April 7 council meeting.

"Given the fact we've taken those two principal statements about us being fundamentally opposed to extraction of water in an environmentally sensitive area and until the groundwater study is done," said Mintoff. "I was hoping to be able to give staff the direction to formulate an initial objection based on the same concerns expressed in the appeal to the CRH application."

Where he was convinced this was an open and shut case, others weren't on board with the idea of discussing what comments to send back to the ministry without having reviewed the full application and a recommendation from municipal consultants R. J. Burnside & Associates Ltd.

"I do appreciate the concern and expense that comes with reviewing application," said Coun. Cindy Hastings. "We can certainly make those statements but I think it's important that we look at the details and assess the situation. It's important if we're going to object or comment on that application."

Others weren't even convinced the area was environmentally sensitive.

"I think waiting until (April) 7th for comment is probably the best so we get an understanding of what's being tabled," said Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma. "We are not necessarily standing on the strongest ground even on our own policy.

"We're saying we're fundamentally opposed to the extraction of gravel in environmentally sensitive areas, but this site has not been identified as an environmentally sensitive area by any of the mapping that we hold in the municipality."

He said that means council is working off of anecdotal evidence.

"Until we have something that says this is an environmentally (sensitive) area, the point Coun. Mintoff raises is moot," said Walma. "I would like to have this discussion again when we have all the information in front of us on April 7."

Mintoff said he could appreciate council's desire to have a fulsome disclosure of all of the aspects of Sarjeant's application, but the salient points in their ask are against the municipality's two principles statements.

"We don't need Burnside or anybody else to review what they're talking about," he said. "We're fundamentally opposed to it and if that's the case, we don't have to wait for an engineering study or anything else. We can just put filing a comment or objection to the further drawing of water. At the end of the day, that's what most residents are concerned about."

As for the area not being environmentally sensitive, Mintoff said he was satisfied with the information he had been given.

"It may not have been applied by some people but certainly we've been told that by some reputable scientists as well," he said.

The matter, with a consultant's report, will be brought back to the April 7 committee of the whole meeting.

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Mehreen Shahid

About the Author: Mehreen Shahid

Mehreen Shahid covers municipal issues in Cambridge
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