CLEARVIEW, ON, Aug. 2, 2018 /CNW/ - Community security, road safety and the environment are being sacrificed in an ill-advised and secretive deal between Clearview Township and Walker Industries. Quarry Aware is a newly formed community group seeking answers from Township officials and Walker executives about their closed-door plan to block the western end of County Road 91 and to dispose of the public land to Walker.
The secretive arrangement is a side deal related to Walker's approval for an expansion of its quarry operations west of Duntroon. The deal is unsupported by adequate traffic safety and environmental studies despite strong and persistent requests from taxpayers in the area.
Despite receiving more than $26 million in contracts from the Ontario government since 2005, Walker Industries did not provide a sufficient environmental impact assessment to support the deal. The Township's multiple attempts to gain approval for elements of the deal have failed or been delayed without explanation. Neither Walker nor the Township participated in meaningful community consultation with Clearview or Grey Highlands residents, in spite of these being clear government requirements.
Local residents are alarmed that gravel truck traffic up and down the steep portion of County Road 91 far exceeds the approved limit of 500 per day set by the Walker Industries license. Residents report the traffic is being boosted by trucks from the nearby St. Mary's quarry even though trucks from that quarry are prohibited from using County Road 91. It appears no efforts are being made by Clearview to monitor this improper use. There also does not seem to be any policing of the speed limit on the road, which was reduced to 60 km/h as a safety measure.
Inexplicably, the Township is blocking the west end of County Road 91 to local traffic but not to gravel trucks. The heavily laden trucks will continue to barrel down one of the highest hills in southern Ontario and will interact with local traffic at multiple points. Local residents observe that the trucks do not appear to adhere to the speed limit and are terrified that brakes will fail or that a driver will lose control – both of which have happened in the past.
To provide local traffic with a replacement road, Clearview and Walker are proposing to drastically re-engineer Sideroad 26/27, which at present is a sub-standard seasonal road marked with a "No Exit" sign. The level of environmental destruction required to allow this road to safely accommodate the volume of traffic currently using County Road 91 would be enormous. This includes a serious threat to an important provincial cold water fish habitat.
"We should worry about emergency response times. If this part of 91 closes, ambulances and fire will have to drive up Sideroad 26/27. Even with upgrades, it is unlikely EMS vehicles could make it straight up the escarpment, especially in winter. So, they'd have to go around by Highway 124, adding precious minutes to response time," said Grey Highlands resident, Doug Dingeldein. "With health-compromised people, that unnecessary delay could be the difference between life and death," he added.
Quarry Aware calls on local officials to do the right thing and immediately enforce the approved Walker and St. Mary's haul route terms. Quarry Aware is seeking an area traffic safety audit in consultation with residents in both Clearview and Grey Highlands.
The more straightforward and least costly solution, especially to Clearview taxpayers, would be to simply cancel the secret deal.
SOURCE Quarry Aware
For further information: Arti Panday, The Daisy Group, 647-244-2846