What is REDC?

REDC, People for Responsible Escarpment Development Caledon, is a community group opposed to further expansion of the 3830 acres of pits between Belfountain, Caledon Village and Orangeville in the Municipality of Caledon.

Our mission is to
promote the social and environmental interests of the local Caledon community and prevent the unprincipled development and proliferation of aggregate mines in the Caledon area.

In February 2010 a few Caledon families were notified of a licence application to establish an aggregate mining operation on a local farm on Heart Lake Road near Caledon Village. They spread the word contributing to high attendance at two public information meetings.

Some citizens began meeting at a home near the proposed pit. Within a few months they organized to form People for Responsible Escarpment Development Caledon, REDC, to challenge the McCormick Pit licence application. As we worked together we realized that the application could not be studied in isolation without considering its relationship to a broad social and biological environment. For the last 4 years this has remained the focus of our activities.

The first proposal lapsed after two years without ever addressing the many objections raised against it. It reemerged in 2012 in the form of an application to amend the Town of Caledon's Official Plan to allow industrial activities on current agricultural land.

In the last four years REDC has:Objections:REDC Meeting

  • Incorporated as the not-for-profit - REDC Inc.
  • Persuaded the Town to expand the area of notification considerably for official McCormick pit updates
  • Held a number of fundraising events
  • Produced educational materials, pamphlets and bimonthly bulletins
  • Developed this website
  • Retained a lawyer, hydrogeologist and a firm of ecologists
  • Reviewed and critiqued the proponent Blueland Farm's supporting documentation for a licence
  • Researched background material found in scientific papers and government files that would help us develop a winning strategy
  • Commissioned a research study to gain a better understanding of how aggregate extraction impacts the relevant Caledon subwatersheds as a whole
  • Persuaded the Town to publish all requests for amendments to municipal and regional regulations in both local papers
  • Persuaded Caledon to post the Blueland Farms proposal online at the Town site in its entirety
  • Met with local and provincial officials to further our agenda

How We Started

In February 2010 residents in and around Caledon Village attended a public information meeting about a gravel mine being proposed in the vicinity. A property development company that had bought the 100 acre McCormick Farm on Heart Lake Road was applying for a licence from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) to extract aggregate at 135 feet below grade and 75 feet below the watertable.

Gravel Pit Caledon

In a rural community like ours with multi-acreage properties the usual 250 metre notice area excluded most interested citizens and it was up to those who knew of the meeting to hastily alert their friends and neighbours.

Attendees soon realized that the charts and documents that lined the meeting room included information that was severely limited in its understanding of the larger community.

It also revealed a highly subjective interpretation of the studies submitted by the developer in support of his licence. What's more it was clear that only the most cursory lip service would be paid to the far reaching effects of mining on the natural and social environment of the entire area.

A 45 day period was mandated for responses in the form of letters of objection. Citizens could view the 500 page plus proposal at one library in the vicinity or at the town hall during business hours and could jot down notes. Copies were not available nor could be made or purchased.

Residents wrote letters to the proponent and MNR objecting to the proposal. Regulatory agencies also, including the Town and the Region of Peel, objected that their input had not been solicited which normally would have preceded the appeal for a licence from the MNR. Community members began to meet regularly and eventually organized against the pit proposal as REDC.

This has been the standard script for aggregate proposals in Ontario. After years of assistance from public officials, developers produce proposals that will meet the aggregate friendly provincial regulations. With little prior warning, if any, official notice of the proposal appears in a local paper in a sparsely populated rural area. The window for thoughtful study and discussion is too narrow to make informed decisions. The licence for a pit or quarry is often a done deal before an active opposition can organize.

Internet and social media have helped rural communities overcome their geographical isolation from each other, liberated information that citizens can easily access, allowed them to review data directly and build networks with neighbours and other citizens across miles. More communities have been able to block inappropriate aggregate proposals and a loose province-wide network of likeminded citizens has been developing.

"Never interrupt someone doing what you said could never be done."Amelia Erhart

In the 6 years that REDC has been active, there have been numerous successes achieved by beleaguered community groups:

  • In Caledon the OMB decision that stopped the Rockfort Quarry raised the standard by which environmental and social impact should be measured and emphasized the inadequacy of current monitoring of compliance in the absence of adequate numbers of government inspectors.
  • Puslinch residents' association fought Capital Paving all the way to the OMB and saved a notable wetland for generations to come.
  • Melancthon Quarry's proponents withdrew their application in the face of a massive public groundswell and a well organized farm lobby.
  • Nelson Quarry on Mt Nemo failed to gain its licence after a long and very public campaign by PERL and singer-activist Sarah Harmon with municipal support and the Jefferson Salamander as an endangered species.
  • After years of opposition by FORCE, the Flamborough Quarry licence application was abandoned by St Mary's Cement when a Conservation Covenant was placed on all the proposed development lands and expected expansion lands that prohibits any aggregate extraction on those lands as well as anything that will "materially affect the quantity or quality of water flowing over or under the lands" for all time.
  • In West Montrose the residents association - BridgeKeepers - prevented Capital Paving from gaining their pit licence and saved a historic covered bridge and its adjoining wetland from destruction.

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