[Above Photo; Arlene Slocombe, WWW Executive Director, speaking in scenic hamlet of Cataract, in Caledon, ON]
For Immediate Release - July 14, 2021
Shane Philips began the second phase of the Ear to the Groundwater walk in the scenic hamlet of Cataract, in Caledon Ontario.
Arlene Slocombe, Executive Director of Wellington Water Watchers (WWW) said, in her opening remarks,
“There is a breach in the supportive relationship between humanity and nature caused by decades of natural resource extraction, carbon emissions and unsustainable levels of consumption. Gravel mining is one of these extractive industries, and it helps to fuel the climate chaos we are now experiencing”
“We have to think globally and act locally”
stated Mike Balkwill, campaign director with WWW
“Gravel mining, the extraction and consumption of aggregates (gravel, crushed stone and sand) makes a significant contribution to the climate crisis”.
Balkwill referred to studies
which show the cement industry produces 8% of global carbon emissions. Aggregates are used in the manufacture of cement as well as for the construction of roads, bridges, sewers and other infrastructure.
“If the cement industry was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of CO2 globally"
David Sylvester, Friends of the Forks Preservation Society, listed the many impacts the quarry proposed by Brazilian based multinational St. Mary’s Cement would have on the community and said water is the number one concern.
“In the village of Cataract all homes rely on private wells for their water. The removal of the dolomite and subsequent water table alterations will damage, for eternity, the groundwater, and wells in the area.”
David concluded his remarks by asking whose side Doug Ford is on – the people or corporations like St. Mary’s Cement.
“Whose interests will Ford protect?” asked Sylvester
St. Mary’s Cement proposes to blast a hole 100 feet deep, destroying hundreds of acres of prime agricultural land. Millions of litres of wastewater will have to be pumped into the Credit River every day which could destroy the sensitive cold water brook trout habitat and have additional consequences for communities downstream. Blasting will occur within 500 metres of homes in the community, exposing people to the possibility of flying rock and homes to foundation shaking vibrations.
Graham Flint, former president of Gravel Watch Ontario, described how
“Working on gravel mining issues over the last two decades feels like living a perpetual groundhog day.”
“Time and time again, from communities across Ontario, citizens would reach out for help, dismayed that the current system is so tilted in favour of the industry and feeling betrayed that the governments who they believed would protect them, their homes and their communities didn’t. The time for sweeping reforms of gravel mining is long overdue. Gravel mining is socially and environmentally destructive and its continuous growth needs to be stopped.”
Shane Philips said, after listening to all the speakers “Water is an equity issue. It doesn’t matter what political parties say at election time, it’s what they do that matters”. He added “How governments decide who can have water – communities or corporations – tells you everything you need to know about whose interests they are protecting.”
Shane Philips, a WWW volunteer, is leading the Ear to the Groundwater walk to raise awareness of the devastating effect gravel quarries have on communities and the environment. This walk will connect the dots between the local and the global; describe how gravel mining helps fuel the climate crisis, and how Doug Ford’s agenda for new highways and more urban sprawl will devour our future.
St. Mary’s Cement is a subsidiary of Votorantim,
a family-run, Brazilian conglomerate. One of the oldest cement companies in North America, St. Mary’s was founded in 1912 in Ontario. The company has 1,400 total employees across all of its locations and generates $357.97 million in sales (USD). It has 55 subsidiaries and 440 branches. In Ontario 64 aggregate sites are licensed by the company. One of its subsidiaries is Canada Building Materials (CBM).
- 30 –
About Wellington Water Watchers
Founded in 2007, Wellington Water Watchers (WWW) is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization based in Guelph, Ontario, with a focus on the Grand River watershed. WWW is committed to the protection, restoration and conservation of groundwater. WWW works to influence local water policy and protect water sources.
Shane Philips is a singer/songwriter and Guelph resident who has walked from Guelph to Queen’s Park in Toronto in previous years to show his public opposition to Nestle Waters Canada water-taking.