Councillor Josh Matlow

Councillor Matlow’s Motion to Request Provincial Environmental Assessment for Proposed Melancthon Mega Quarry

Dear Toronto residents,


Please review my motion to ensure our city’s interests in the headwaters of our region’s river systems, our nearby agricultural lands and our access to affordable, local food is protected.


Moreover, any of us who cherish our own neighbourhoods can empathize with local residents in our region who might be affected by hundreds of trucks going through their communities daily, losing prime agricultural land and seeing the degradation of local rivers and fish and wildlife habitat if this quarry is allowed.


Ultimately, Toronto is at the heart of a region that we share with our neighbours. We have a responsibility to stand with them for what is right.


If you support this motion, please let your local councillor and the mayor know. You can find their contact information here. To learn more about this important issue, please visit the Stop the Melancthon Quarry website here. And, if you’d like to here exactly why the City of Toronto must take an active leadership role in this issue, please click here.


Thank you,






Re: Motion to Request Provincial Environmental Assessment for Proposed Melancthon Mega Quarry

Dear Mayor Ford and Committee Members,



I am writing to request that the attached motion, Request for Provincial Environmental Assessment for Proposed Melancthon Mega Quarry, be considered at the September 6th, 2011 meeting of the Executive Committee.


The City of Toronto has long recognized the important connections to its countryside and has repeatedly supported local and regional agriculture and food security initiatives that promote and protect the social, environmental and economic development interests of Toronto’s citizens and businesses.


In March 2011, a numbered Nova Scotia company presenting itself as The Highland Companies submitted applications to the Township of Melancthon and the Ministry of Natural Resources for approval to develop a massive limestone quarry in North America.  The proposed site is located approximately 100 kilometres north of the City of Toronto and calls for a 2,316 acre quarry that would be 5kms wide and blasted to a level 200 feet below the water table in a sensitive recharge area at the headwaters of a number of important river systems that run through the GTA.


To support excavating this enormous crater, about 600 million litres of water would be pumped from the quarry floor back into the now pristine aquifer every day at the highest elevation in Southern Ontario.  This is equivalent to 25% of the water consumed on a daily basis by Ontario’s entire population.


The main financial backer of this project is a Boston-based hedge fund called the Baupost Group .To date, the company has amassed approximately 8,000 acres of our Province’s highest quality (Class 1, according to the Canada Land Inventory classification system) prime agricultural farmland that is famous for its Honeywood Silt Loam soils, unique micro climate and its superior potato-growing capabilities.


This agricultural area supplies the equivalent of 25 lbs of potatoes to every resident of the GTA on an annual basis and provides approximately 50% of the potatoes consumed annually in Toronto. The loss of this agricultural area could have an adverse effect on Toronto’s consumers of potato products.


The mega quarry application contains well over 3000 pages of technical studies, maps, models and forecasts and is currently being reviewed by the Township of Melancthon under the Planning Act and by the Ministry of Natural Resources under the Aggregate Resources Act.  Melancthon is a very small municipality with an annual budget less than $3million. The municipality does not have the expertise or ability to finance the extraordinary resources required to undertake a comprehensive review of a proposal this large.


The proposed quarry is of serious concern to many Torontonians as demonstrated by the strong opposition that has been mounted by local residents in a few short months.  Objections have already been filed by numerous agricultural organizations (Dufferin Federation of Agriculture, National Farmers’ Union, Ontario Farmland Trust etc), environment and sporting organizations (The Suzuki Foundation, Earthroots, Council of Canadians, Ecologos, Ontario Waterkeeper, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, etc.), First Nations communities and concerned citizens from across the province.


This is the largest quarry proposal ever presented in Canada, and its size, scope and potential impacts demands the most comprehensive review possible. The Environmental Assessment Act was established over thirty years ago to deal with large private sector undertakings of this kind and it provides a fair and reasonable legal process that is much more comprehensive than if it is simply reviewed under the Aggregate Resources and Planning Acts.





  1. City Council request the Ontario Minister of Environment designate the proposed Mega Quarry in the Township of Melancthon as a Major Commercial or Business Enterprise or Activity pursuant to ss.3 (b) of the Environmental Assessment Act.
  2. City Council formally encourages all Ontario municipalities to support this recommendation.



Thank you for your consideration of this important issue,







Josh Matlow


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