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Alarmist? Absolutely!

2011-08-04 Ms. Broadhead, the recently appointed spokesperson for the Highland Companies, is questioning the validity of the Avaaz petition that was signed by almost 120,000 people to object to the proposed mega quarry. Granted, technology does make it easier to collect opinion, and what a boon to being able to quickly gain the opinion of the general public, as opposed to the traditional ways of controlled sampling surveys. The suggestion in the article is that the rhetoric in the petition is alarmist. She is absolutely correct. If a company or person proposes plans that would (a) be the largest quarry ever undertaken in Canada, and the second largest in North America, (b) potentially make the drinking water of large numbers of Ontario residents unsafe, (c) potentially affect fish production and habitat in nearby waterways, (d) destroy thousands of acres of some of the best farmland in Ontario, (particularly at a time when the world is concerned about food shortages), (e) dig a huge below-the-water-table quarry in an extremely sensitive headwater recharge area to depths unheard of anywhere in the world, and (f) propose a rehabilitation plan that no one believes is feasible, then would one not expect a petition objecting to this proposal to be somewhat alarmist? In fact, shouldn’t it be very, very alarmist? Ms. Broadhead is questioning the truth behind the petition. Ms Broadhead has a daunting task, as recently appointed spokesperson, to get fully up to speed on past events related to her client’s past actions and rhetoric related to the mega quarry. The following is worthy of note:  The company she now represents told farmers they bought land from that it only wanted their land to create a large, consolidated potato operation. It did not tell them it wanted to take land farmed by their families for generations out of food production and build a mega quarry. It did not tell them about the billion dollar opportunity lying beneath the surface of their quiet farms.  She states that their 200 foot below the water table mega-quarry will be returned to food production using rehabilitation technology that has already been proven in the Milton quarry. However the Milton quarry did not rehabilitate the land to agriculture. Instead, they planted 250 tree seedlings and 225 wetland plants and created a set of ponds. The Highland study makes reference to growing “hardy crops” on the quarry floor, not necessarily food. The Highland Companies has not

Was the application or Ms.000 acres. Perhaps she should start her quest for the .substantiated its claim that it will be able to successfully rehabilitate the land to agriculture. Ms. The application’s experts confirm.  At Highlands’ own open house in July 2009. and the application further states that haulage would occur 24 hours per day. It is not surprising then that over a very short 5 day period 120. the company’s application is asking for permission to quarry all 2. Broadhead’s claim in error?  The introduction to the Highlands’ application provides assurances that the mega quarry will have “no adverse impacts on its neighbours or the environment”. Highlands own figures substantiate the 7. confirmed that they intended to destroy only a few more. when asked a question about the number of heritage and other structures they intended to burn to the ground. very alarmed at the prospect of this mega quarry proposal. and 150 truck movements out.000 vehicles per day. How can Highlands then make the claim of “no adverse impacts” and expect the public to give credence to any of their claims.000 petitioners confirmed that they were very. Broadhead is new to her position as spokeperson for the Highland Companies. and makes reference to 1.  At the NDACT June 2009 residents meeting. and certainly not anywhere near the quality of agriculture that occurs there now. She is attempting to cast doubt on the truth behind the claims in the Avaaz petition. Somebody had to ring the alarm bell.000 truck per day number. the then spokesman for Highlands. they would limit operations to quarrying an aggregate 300 acre land area at any one time. The Highlands studies themselves made reference to 150 truck movements in. of the quarry each hour. however. Our own Ontario Ministry of the Environment has cast doubt on the completeness or accuracy of a number of the Highlands reports that accompanied their application. that the water flow to the adjacent Pine River fish habitat might be affected by 10%.100 trucks daily. the number stands at approximately 30. the company advised the public that although the proposed licence area would be over 2.  Ms Broadhead attempts to talk her way around claims that truck traffic from the proposed mega quarry would be approximately 7.316 acres at once. Contrary to this. As of this date. Their plan is just not credible. maybe 8 to 10 in total including the 6 already destroyed.

truth by first looking for it from the people who are paying her salary. Harvey Kolodny. Hockley Director. CAUSE (Citizens’ Alliance United for a Sustainable Environment) .