Aggregate resources include naturally occurring deposits of sand, gravel, clay, earth and bedrock. These natural resources are needed to build roads, houses, bridges, schools and hospitals. Bill 39, Aggregate Resources and Mining Modernization Act 2017, recently amended the Aggregate Resources Act, which governs aggregate development/operations in Ontario.
The Township of Oro-Medonte contains a number of active aggregate licences in addition to known deposits of sand and gravel resources. Land Use Policies for Aggregates were updated through Official Plan Amendment #17 with an intent to balance protection of this vital resource with protection of the environment.
Provincial & County Policy
The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) and the County of Simcoe Official Plan Policies provide direction on specific issues. The Township Official Plan policies must conform to the PPS and County Official Plan, which set out the following policies:
Protection & Identification
Provincial Policy requires that mineral aggregate resources be identified and protected for long-term use. The mapping of existing aggregate operations, as well as known deposits of aggregate materials, ensures that the resource supply is protected from incompatible land uses over the long-term.
Provincial policies also require as much of the mineral aggregate resources as is realistically possible shall be made available as close to markets as possible.
Minimizing & Mitigating Impacts
Extraction shall be undertaken in a manner that minimizes social, economic, and environmental impacts.
Aggregate extraction is recognized as an interim land-use. Progressive and Final Rehabilitation is required to return the land to a subsequent land-use.
Rehabilitation should take surrounding land uses into consideration to promote land use compatibility.
Extraction in Prime Agricultural Areas
Aggregate extraction is permitted as an interim use in prime agricultural areas and the site must be rehabilitated back to an agricultural use. Agricultural rehabilitation is not required if there is a substantial quantity of aggregate material available below the water table. The Growth Plan requires applications for new mineral aggregate operations to be supported by an agricultural impact assessment.
Existing Policy & Legislation
Provincial Policy Statement 2014
Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017
County of Simcoe Official Plan, 2016
Aggregate Resources Act
Aggregate Resources and Mining Modernization Act, 2017
Current Township Policies
The Mineral Aggregate Resources designation is divided into two categories – Licensed and Potential – and is identified on Schedule A of the Township’s current Official Plan. The Licensed category applies to mineral aggregate operations that are licensed in accordance with the Aggregate Resources Act. The Potential category applies to lands which are deemed to be appropriate for future extraction, provided all of the policies of the Mineral Aggregate Resources section are met.
Section C12 of the current Official Plan contains policies for Mineral Aggregate Resources, including special policies for lands within the Oro Moraine Core Area and Corridor area, Agricultural designation, and Environmental Protection One and Two designations. Current Official Plan policies require:
That existing mineral aggregate operations are recognized and protected from activities that would preclude or hinder their continued use or expansion.
That new mineral aggregate operations will not have a negative impact on the significant natural features and ecological functions of the Oro Moraine and in the Township.
That the haul routes used are appropriate; that extraction areas are progressively rehabilitated; that extractive activities are carried out so as to minimize environmental and social impacts; and that the aggregate extraction operations are designed to minimize visual impacts on the open and natural character of the existing rural area.
Permitted uses on lands designated Mineral Aggregate Resources include: extraction and associated operations, agricultural uses, passive non-motorized recreational uses, forestry and resource management uses, and wayside pits and quarries for road works. Concrete batching plants and asphalt plants may be permitted subject to rezoning.
All new and expanded mineral aggregate operations shall require an Amendment to the Zoning By-law if the subject lands are designated Mineral Aggregate Resources (Potential) or an Amendment to the Official Plan and the Zoning By- law if the subject lands are not designated Mineral Aggregate Resources (Potential).
Any application for Amendment to the Official Plan and/or the Zoning By-law shall be supported by studies that are based on predictable, measurable, objective effects on people and the environment. Such studies will be based on Provincial standards, regulations and guidelines, where they exist.
If a site is to be rehabilitated to a natural state, it is the intent of this Plan that natural self-sustaining vegetation be established and restored. If the site is to be rehabilitated to agricultural use, it is the intent of this Plan that substantially the same land area and soil capability for agriculture is restored.
New and revised Official Plan policies will aim to balance the demand for aggregate resources, while minimizing potential impacts to surrounding communities and the natural environment.
What changes would you like to see?
The province provides clear direction for aggregate resources in the PPS and Growth Plan, and through legislation including the Aggregate Resources Act. In essence, aggregate resources: shall be protected for long-term use, shall be made available as close to markets as possible, and extraction shall be undertaken in a manner which minimises social, economic, and environmental impacts. To permit development and/or expansion of aggregate resource operations, a number of requirements will need to be met (e.g. site plans, rehabilitation plans, background studies, etc.). The Township needs to include policies for aggregate resources in its Official Plan which do not conflict with the direction set out in PPS and Growth Plan.
Do you think that the existing Aggregate Resources policies meet the Township's goals and objectives while also meeting Provincial requirements?
Should an Official Plan Amendment be required for all new and expanding aggregate operations?
What additional studies should be required for an application for a new aggregate operation?
Where should aggregate operations be encouraged? Where should they be restricted?
What roads should be used to transport aggregate material?
Please provide any other comments you may have for consideration in the development of new Aggregate Resources policies.