May 11, 2017
David Pink, Director of Planning
Township of Muskoka Lakes
P.O Box 129 Bailey St.
RE: Proposed Official Plan Amendment No. 46 Zoning By-Law Amendment 2017- 51, ZBA 13/12 Proposed Lippa Pit and Quarry
I am writing this letter to state my extreme opposition to the Lippa Pit & Quarry located at 1089 Butler Mill Road. I have taken time to read all 14 reports listed on the Muskoka Lakes Planning website. The following quotes were taken from the Planning Justification Report.
On pg.36, “The proposed Lippa Pit & Quarry is located in an unpopulated, rural area of the Township of Muskoka Lakes, surrounded by densely forested vacant land.” This is incorrect; please see figure 1, a map of the surrounding area and who lives there. On Butler Mill alone, there are 3 year-round family homes. 1002 Butler Mill, family of 4 (whose family has owned land here since the 1950’s, the road is named after them), 1054 Butler Mill Road, family of 4 (lived here for over 5 years), 1152 Butler Mill Road, family of 2 (who have lived here for over 23 years). That totals 10 people who live on Butler Mill, this does not include the numerous other people who own land on Butler Mill that use it recreationally. For example, South part of Lot 4 Con 4, the Creasor,s (whose family has owned property here since the 1940’s). There are many others who live close by to Butler Mill Road, myself included. Within just over a Km there are 20 homes, 15 permanent family homes & 5 recreational homes and at least 12 children. To me, that is not unpopulated.
On pg.37, “The proposed pit & quarry is an economic opportunity which does not conflict with recreation or tourism or other rural uses in the Township of Muskoka Lakes.” So how many full time year-round jobs for Muskoka residents are guaranteed verses jobs for Mr. Lippa’s friends and family from Toronto? It most definitely would conflict with recreation, tourism and other rural uses! Due to the high volume of heavy truck traffic there would be conflicts with cyclists, homeowners along Butler Mill & Apsdin Road and the local businesses in Rosseau, such as the Rosseau Retreat Bed and Breakfast (located right at the stop sign on the end of Aspdin) and Crossroads Restaurant whose patio can be seen from the road. How many local businesses will suffer due to the increase of heavy truck traffic.
On pg.38, “The proposed pit & quarry will support long-term economic prosperity & diversity of the rural economy by optimizing the use of land through resource extraction in an unpopulated area of the township.” Again, unpopulated means “a place with no people living there”, which I have proved not to be true. The amount of jobs produced I believe would be insignificant to the job market in Muskoka. Certainly not worth the potential contamination of the pristine Skeleton Lake and the negative impact of noise, air pollution and well water contamination to the countless people living along Aspdin Rd.
On pg.41, “will be appropriately buffered & designed to ensure that there are no unacceptable impacts to nearby sensitive land uses”. I do not believe they can accomplish this at the proposed pit and quarry location. It would be impossible. Yes, I have read all the Reports and I don’t think that the noise, dust and possible contamination of water could be contained to their property only. An unacceptable impact for me would be the extreme heavy truck traffic passing my door every 4.4 minutes. You can’t tell me that I wouldn’t feel or hear the blasting from this quarry, especially on a clear quiet day. The proposed site encompasses a percentage of the Skeleton Lake watershed and it is less than 2 km away from the lake. Skeleton Lake is such a rare treasure in all of Canada since it was formed by an ancient meteor strike and scoured by several ice ages. Due to the spring fed nature of the lake, the water is exceptionally clean and clear. Do you really want to take any chances contaminating such an exceptional natural wonder? Once the water becomes contaminated you can’t put the pollution back.
On pg.43, “operation activities will not be visible from Aspdin Rd”. Except for the heavy trucks coming out every 4.4 minutes!
On pg.43, “The development of the pit & quarry will not conflict with the tourism base of Muskoka.” This is utterly false. Of course it would conflict with the tourism base! What about the numerous cyclists who use Aspdin Rd? They use Aspdin Rd from Huntsville to Rosseau. Do you think they will feel safe and have an enjoyable ride with all the extra heavy trucks on the road? It is dangerous enough as it is. What about people using Aspdin Rd as a scenic drive? Would they like to be stuck behind a convoy of gravel trucks? What about the quaint village of Rosseau? Would their tourism base not be affected by all these extra heavy trucks? Would the trucks not negatively impact the Rosseau Farmers Market on Fridays?
On pg.46, “There will be no negative impacts to the scenic corridor along Aspdin Rd, due to the development and operation of the pit and quarry.” “No scenic vistas will be impacted by the development of the quarry. There will be no impact to the tourism industry resulting from the quarry development & operation.” I respectfully disagree with these statements. Of course there will be negative impacts to the scenic corridor and the tourism industry! Again, let’s think about what a significant increase in heavy truck traffic will mean to cyclists, cottagers, full time residents and the village of Rosseau.
According to the Planning Justification Report on pg.32 the Township of Muskoka Lakes will receive $12,000 a year and the District of Muskoka will receive 3,000 a year from Mr. Lippa’s Pit & Quarry. Is that amount of money really worth destroying the lives of people who live close to the proposed pit & quarry and those along the haul routes? Nobody I have spoken to (and there are many) want this pit & quarry. There are many other locations across Muskoka that would be much better suited for this type of development.
On pg.58, “Any use which a third party makes of this report, or any reliance and or decisions to be made based on it, are the responsibility of such third parties. Skelton, Brumwell & Associates accepts no responsibility for damages, if any, suffered by a third party as a result of decisions made or actions based on this report.” So according to this statement then we should not take these reports seriously since they will not stand behind them. That takes all liability away from Frank Lippa and the company that produced the reports. If it is in fact reliable data that we can trust and believe in, then why not stand behind it? Who is going to fact check those reports?
Where are the Road Geometric reports evaluating the only possible haul routes along Aspdin Rd? There was only a small mention in the Traffic Report of the poor sight lines at the intersection of Butler Mill Rd. and Aspdin Rd. I would like to know about the many curves and hills that would compose the 21 km to Hwy 11 and the 14 km to Hwy 141. Are the roads wide enough to safely accommodate the trucks, and would there be enough road clearance on the unpaved shoulders? I would like to see mention of the narrow bridge on Aspdin rd (close to 5400 Aspdin Rd). It is currently in rough shape and will cost a huge amount to upgrade. Will there be mention of the countless wetland habitats that are found along Aspdin Rd? I would like to know who will pay for all the road upgrades once Aspdin Road is destroyed by these extraordinarily heavy trucks from the quarry? There are already numerous pit & quarries that service the Muskoka area.
Are you also aware of the close proximity to the Eastern Cardwell Forest Conservation Reserve, which is protected area? No mineral exploration or mining is allowed here. Please see figure 2, this map shows how close this pit & quarry will be to protected lands. I encourage you to research this. More information can be found at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/eastern-cardwell-forest-conservation-reserve-management- statement. Or you can simply google “Eastern Cardwell Forest Conservation Reserve C102”.
A few points to summarize my opposition:
1. Negative impact on air quality from dust pollution with this type of industry and trucking haul route. Citizens living adjacent to pits and quarries or in surrounding areas have a higher instance of bronchitis, emphysema, asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Fine dust particulates are particularly hazardous to children and the elderly.
2. Proposed pit and quarry will be operating above and below the water table leading to potential contamination of ground water and surface water. Numerous water wells and Skeleton Lake are at risk.
3. Negative impact on species of special concern and rare wildlife – bird species such as the Eastern Wood Pewee and the Wood Thrush and turtles such as the Snapping Turtle.
4. Lower property values along Aspdin Road and haul route.
5. Heavy use from trucks will put wear and tear on our municipal roads leading to higher taxes and road delays.
6. Negative impact on safety – Poor sight lines on Aspdin Rd means it will be less safe for cars entering and exiting driveways/side roads, school children getting on and off the bus, pedestrians, and cyclists.
7. Proposed pit and quarry will be operating 7 days a week, Monday to Friday 6:00am to 9:00pm and Saturday and Sunday 9:00am to 9:00pm .
8. Increase in heavy truck traffic will have a negative impact on tourism on and near this designated scenic route and will affect local businesses in Rosseau.
9. Negative impact from extra noise and vibration from trucks traveling on haul route, blast zone and processing materials.
10. There will be a massive increase in heavy truck traffic on Aspdin Rd — an average of 150 heavy trucks per day at capacity, which translates into 1 truck every 4.4 minutes.
I’ll leave you with one final question. Would you want to a new pit & quarry next to your house?
Thank you for your time and attention.