Although we are in a legal mediation process and this update is confidential and subject to solicitor-client privilege, Councillors can publically release/discuss the following facts:
•The City has been working for the past five years to address a long term risk to the City’s drinking water associated with quarrying operations at the Dolime Quarry, located adjacent to the City’s western boundary;
•Under its present license, the quarry’s owner is permitted to excavate through the Vinemount Member, a geological formation which provides natural protection to the municipal aquifer from which City supply wells draw water. As a consequence, portions of the Vinemount member have been breached. In the City’s view, until this breach is repaired, and a long term management plan is put in place, the situation presents a serious and continuing long term risk to the City’s drinking water supply.
•In May 2014, the City won an application before the Environmental Review Tribunal for leave to appeal a recent Ministry of Environment decision to extend the Permit to Take Water at the quarry. This sets the stage for a hearing on whether or not a management plan to address the long term repair of the Vinemount , comprehensive monitoring program and financial assurances requirements should be imposed on the quarry.
•The parties to the hearing, (the Ministry of the Environment, the quarry owner and the City) have now agreed to adjourn this hearing and try to find solutions with the assistance of an independent mediator with extensive experience in resolving environmental disputes.
•The parties have also agreed that the quarry operator will maintain a limitation on excavation in the Vinemount Member, to ensure the breach will not be increased while the mediation and hearing process is on-going.
• A mediation session has been scheduled for October 22, 2014. The City is hopeful this mediation session will chart a course for putting in place workable solutions without the need for a lengthy hearing.