Saturday, February 4, 2012

Maude Barlow talks mega-quarry March 7

Community concerns about the implications of the proposed Alliston-Melancthon mega-quarry are growing. Now, environmental activist Maude Barlow brings her take on the project to the Georgian College Theatre, Barrie Campus, on March 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians, has campaigned for years to raise awareness of threats to Canada’s drinking water resources, among other issues. The Council of Canadians is among the key players in the drive to oppose the Highland Companies plans for a huge open-pit mine on 2,316 acres of prime farmland it has assembled in Melancthon Township near Shelburne.

The mega-quarry proposal is raising objections for many reasons. The six-billion tonne quarry would be the second largest in North America, reaching deep below the water table. At 200 feet, the quarry would be deeper than the height of Niagara Falls, and would displace 600 million litres of fresh water per day. Depending on demand, up to 300 trucks per hour could haul gravel south to fuel the Greater Toronto area’s demand for gravel. Blasting would continue daily. The pit would also destroy Class One agricultural land that is a prime location for specialised potato production.

Highland says the project would create local jobs and benefit the Ontario economy. The firm, backed by Canadian and US investors, says it would eventually restore the land to agricultural use, 300 acres at a time. The proposal has now been referred for a full-scale Environmental Assessment by the Ontario government.

Barlow’s talk is the next instalment in the annual speakers’ series, sponsored by the University Partnership Centre. Barlow most recently appeared at Georgian in 2006, when she spoke about the fate of Canada’s freshwater resources. Tickets for the event are $12 for the public and $6 for students. They can be purchased at the Georgian College bookstore, in person on online at, at Page and Turners bookstore at 123 Dunlop St. E., Barrie, or at the door.
For more information contact Tim Green, professor, Georgian College, at or 705-728-1968, ext. 5718.

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