Stone, Sand and Gravel REVIEW - March/April 2018 - 47
There is a Right Way and a Wrong Way
to Introduce Your Quarry Application
by Christopher Hopkins
easier than it has
been in the past.
AS WE SAT IN a conference room
in the upper floors of a high-rise in
Toronto, we were looking out over Lake
Ontario, it was a clear spring day, May
27, to be exact, and you could see the
sail boats starting to leave their docks.
The city was bustling with activity, people shopping, heading off to
lunch, you could see the Skydome a
few blocks away with the roof opened
in anticipation of that evening's ballgame against the Chicago White Sox.
We were there to discuss a major
quarry that was being planned in
Melanchthon, a suburb of Toronto and
some of the richest potato farming
land in Canada. Someone had been
buying up 8,000 acres of prime farmland under the auspices of creating
one mega potato farm. What few people knew at the time was that those
acres also contained some of the best
limestone and amabel dolostone in
We were meeting with the managers of a hedge fund from the United
States and a local "quarry person" who
was going to be the expert in charge
of changing the zoning and getting
permits from the province. We began
to discuss the project and the need
for an intense campaign to tout the
need for this limestone, educating the
residents about aggregates overall and
then identify and organize supporters.
We also brought up the need to initiate a very active and positive social
media campaign in order to counter
the expected campaign that would
come from an opposition group that
was surely going to evolve.
They listened and upon the completion of our presentation, the local
expert looked up and said he did not
anticipate any problems. When we
asked why, he looked us in the eye
and said, with a straight face, "We are
going to sneak it in during the summer
when people are on vacation."
Now an 8,000-acre piece of land,
nearly 3,000 of which are going to be
quarried, is a third of the size the city
of Toronto and the largest permitting
application in the history of Ontario.
"You are going sneak it through during
the summer? Good luck with that," we
responded, anticipating the enormity
of this mistake.
As with nearly everything in life
there are right ways and wrong ways of
doing things. There are provenly-effective ways of turning acres of green
field into a limestone quarry, but this
was definitely not one of them.
The Risks of Digital Networks
In today's environment of instant,
easy and digital communication,
opposing development is easier than
it has been in the past. Earning positive and negative attention for any
cause just requires an email address,
Facebook, Twitter or other social network. Social media allows for instant
communication, spreading misinformation and access to ideas on how to
oppose permitting projects from other
groups around the world.
The "Mega Quarry" inlaid into the
City of Toronto for comparison.
STONE, SAND & GRAVEL REVIEW, www.nssga.org 47