pitappsmallThere is a significant change underway in Woolwich township, and I fear that without action, the beauty and uniqueness of our home will be damaged for decades to come.  I am referring to the proliferation of gravel pit applications that have been submitted to Woolwich Council this year.  There are no less than 3 brand new applications underway, and all within 4 km of each other, and completely surrounding the small village of Conestogo.

The aggregate industry is a very well connected and funded one, and their ability to steam-roller opposition is well documented.  The decision to allow or disallow the operation of a specific gravel pit rests in the hands of the local, and ultimately, the provincial government.  Many concerned residents have formed the Conestogo-Winterbourne Residents Association to ensure that our quality of life, safety and property values are not hijacked by commercial interests.  But this is not an easy battle for us.  It is expensive and time consuming.

There are some real dangers posed to all of us if these pits are approved.  There will be a ridiculous number of large gravel trucks driving through Conestogo via Northfield & Sawmill as well as through the notoriously dangerous Crowsfoot intersection.  Having reviewed in detail one of the applications, their ‘traffic expert’ did not see any increased risks to life or property by potentially having 27 gravel trucks per hour go through the Crowsfoot intersection.  And that’s just the ‘expected’ traffic for a single gravel pit.  This is why citizen involvement is critical.  Gravel trucks are incompatible with communities.  School buses and Mennonite buggies are no match for a fully loaded gravel truck.

We all came together as a community to establish Woolwich as Hockeyville.  And although we didn’t receive the official recognition, it’s clear to all who live here that this is Hockeyville.  But there are commercial interests who wish to turn Hockeyville into Bedrock, the home of the Flintstones.  I for one love this community too much to sit idly by while farmers fields backing onto homes with swing sets are turned into noisy, dusty and potentially fatal gravel pit operations.

Let’s join together to fight this.  We have a community meeting scheduled for Monday, April 27 at 7:30pm at the Conestoga Golf Club.  The official Hunsberger pit application public meeting is on Monday, May 4 at 6:30pm, at the Conestogo Public School.  If you are a resident of Woolwich Township, please find the time to attend these very important meetings, or prepare yourself for the persistent rumble of gravel trucks.

We can affect the change necessary to preserve our quiet community, and ensure that our children grow up in a safe and protected environment.  Without citizen involvement, I fear that this letter will once again be re-posted after a gravel truck and one of our loved ones has what the commercial interests would call an ‘incident’.

For more information, please visit: http://conestogo-winterbourne.com/

mJm

Note: since I first wrote this, it has been published in the Observer and The Record.

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