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How did POWR MAG Start and Why?
In 2008,a non-local aggregate producer purchased property south of Hwy. 518 E, along the Magnetawan River (above Ayres Dam/bridge).This property included a small pit, licenced as a ‘B’ pit (20,000 tonnes/yr).
Shortly thereafter, applications were submitted to Twp. of Perry – zoning amendment & to MNRF toexpand the aggregate licence to an ‘A’ pit & to ADD a QUARRY (to MNRF)! An entire hillside, along with its flora and fauna, right next to a significant wetlands, would be blasted away!!
Noise & dust from crushing & screening in May/June 2010 were so intense that near-by residents had to stay indoors and cancel visitors. Alerted to the threat, residents mobilized to oppose these applications.
POWR MAG Inc. was established July 18, 2010. We worked diligently, researched laws and cases (Gravel Watch ON was an amazing resource), engaged members, started fundraising, wrote responses, and presented deputations to Perry Township Council.
Fortunately Perry Township Council listened. They ordered peer reviews on the expert reports submitted. On Oct. 3, 2012, Council unanimously denied the application to rezone! The aggregate producer appealed this decision & the MNRF referred the aggregate licence case to the OMB.
Legal and expert opinions on planning, thenaturalenvironment,noise,blasting, ground water, traffic hazards and visualimpacts are very COSTLY.
POWR MAG spent over $90,000 to defend our position. Could we afford to continue? Then a miracle – on June 29, 2016, CELA (Canadian Environmental Law Assn.) approved our application to provide legal representation!
After 2 prehearings, the final hearing set for Nov. 3/16, was cancelled. On Dec. 1/16, the OMB closed the rezoning file - Perry Twp. had passed By-law 2014-21. Thus, By-law 2002-10 did not exist, so it could not be amended. The aggregate licence case remains an open OMB (LPAT) file!
What's the impact on the Magnetawan River from the Graphite Mine?
The mine is adjacent to Graphite Lake, 20 km. from the Town of Kearney and 2 km. west of Algonquin Park. There is a history of seepage/spills of acidic, metal-contaminated effluent into a creek that feeds into the Mag. The mine has not been in production since 1994. Nov. 2007, the mine was purchased by Ontario Graphite Ltd. (OGL). Despite the significant investment by OGL, the environmental contamination continues. The Ministry of the Environment closely monitors this site, has issued Director’s Orders for work to be completed, a competent person to be hired and has issued fines. Still the spills into the environment continue. POWR MAG takes water samples & reports exceedences of pH. Ideally, OGL needs to get the funding to start operating – in an environmentally safe manner OR shut down and clean up the site.