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Residents want to bury quarry plan; Councillor will try to remove a surprise city bid for exemption of quarries from greenbelt development freeze

Eric McGuinness
The Hamilton Spectator
Wednesday, May 26, 2004, p. A04

FLAMBOROUGH - Plans for a 150-hectare quarry are sparking an uproar in an area of horse farms and estate subdivisions in northeastern Flamborough bordering the Town of Milton.

Residents say their concern is compounded by a seemingly coincidental, surprise attempt by the City of Hamilton to exempt quarry applications from the provincial greenbelt freeze.

Councillor Margaret McCarthy, who represents the area, plans a last minute bid to delete the quarry exemption from a planning and economic development committee report going to council tonight.

Hamilton council will be dealing with the issue at the same time Burlington Mayor Rob MacIsaac's task force is meeting to hear public opinion on the planned greenbelt at the Hamilton Convention Centre, across Main Street from City Hall. That session runs from 7 to 10 p.m.

McCarthy has also called a public meeting on the quarry proposal for June 3, at 7 p.m. in the Carlisle Recreation Centre.

Environmental consultant Mark Rudolph, who lives in the Timber Run subdivision off Mountsberg Road, said he learned Friday night that more than 150 hectares had been assembled for a quarry on 11th Concession East at Milburough Line, the boundary between Hamilton and Halton Region.

The 11th Concession runs east from Highway 6 across Centre Road to Milburough Line. Steeles Avenue connects on the Milton side.

Rudolph and his neighbours spent the weekend seeking information, organizing opposition and calling news media and elected officials.
McCarthy's office received so many e-mails that her assistant, Don Redmond, sent a form reply yesterday. It said McCarthy was approached two weeks ago by David Lowndes of Lowndes Holdings confirming plans to mine stone for construction aggregate. It also said she is opposed.

Redmond said Lowndes would be out of the country on vacation until June 1, but planned to attend McCarthy's June 3 meeting.

Hamilton council complained in February about the year-long freeze on virtually all zoning changes in rural areas within the Niagara-to-Rice Lake greenbelt, citing in particular plans for a new Flamborough church caught by the provincial legislation.

Then, without warning last week, staff handed the planning and development committee a proposed request to the municipal affairs minister to exempt a whole list of planning matters from the freeze. The list includes zoning applications for gravel pits and quarries.

Lee Ann Coveyduck, general manager of planning and development, said the request had to be endorsed immediately and sent to Queen's Park to meet yesterday's deadline for submissions, even though the full council wouldn't act on it until today.

Also on the exemption list are minor variances from zoning bylaws, applications for agricultural and agricultural-support uses, other uses already allowed in rural areas by the city's Official Plan, and Ontario Municipal Board hearings on zoning amendments passed before the freeze was imposed.

The staff report says allowing such applications would not conflict with the greenbelt law's aim of preventing expansion of urban settlement areas and stopping the spread of inappropriate urban uses into rural areas.

Tim McCabe, director of development and real estate in the city planning department, said he put together the proposed exemption list before the May 18 planning committee meeting and didn't hear of the Flamborough quarry plan until he spoke to McCarthy May 20. "It's a complete coincidence," he said.

McCarthy said yesterday she doubted the province would pay any attention to Hamilton's request, but nevertheless would ask council to withdraw the request to exempt quarry applications.

emcguinness@thespec.com
905-526-4650

 


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