GAIL MARTIN, Independent Editor
The involvement of Preston Sand & Gravel with the Jigs Hollow Road gravel pit will not make a difference to the upcoming mediation.
That’s according to township director of planning and engineering Dan Kennaley, who made the comments in response to concerns raised by Laurie Breed, a nearby resident of the proposed pit.
Breed suggested that the involvement of a larger company, such as Preston Sand & Gravel, makes it much more likely that this gravel pit would set a precedent for future gravel pits in the Winterbourne Valley.
“If one pit is considered acceptable, it would be difficult to prevent additional pits,” said Breed.
She was also concerned that the upcoming mediation between the township and the gravel pit applicant gives tacit approval to the pit.
“The only thing being mediated here is the severity of the impact,” said Breed.
The township received a letter from IBI Group on Sept. 4, indicating that the Preston Sand & Gravel has acquired an interest in the long-term operation of the proposed pit, although Kuntz Topsoil, Sand & Gravel would retain ownership of the property.
At the Sept. 18 committee-of-the-whole meeting, Kennaley said that the township’s legal advice indicated that the additional involvement of Preston Sand & Gravel doesn’t bring about any new issues.
“We can’t necessarily read into it,” said Kennaley.
He also took exception to Breed’s comments that mediation is giving approval to the pit.
“That’s certainly not the case,” said Kennaley, who said mediation could serve a role in reducing the overall length of an Ontario Municipal Board hearing, should the township fail to reach an agreement with Preston Sand & Gravel.
“And whatever comes out of mediation will come back to council; it will be up to council to decide.”
Township CAO David Brenneman noted that any results of the mediation will go back to the Ontario Municipal Board for a hearing, which provides an opportunity for public input.
Mediation was slated to take place this week.