Milton Quarry, operated by Dufferin Aggregates, part of St. Lawrence Cement, the largest active quarry in Canada at 468 hectares is causing local environmentalists some concern. Now, the company wants a licence to quarry another 83 hectares (205 acres) of this precious natural corridor to gain about ten years of quarrying. Protecting the escarpment has come full circle, for it was the blasting of a huge hole in the cliff face here in 1962 that ignited the first public outcry about saving the escarpment.
Premier Dalton McGuinty and his cabinet now have a pivotal decision to make: whether or not to approve the company’s applications for various land-use planning amendments, permits and licences to expand the Milton Quarry.
The company will also need to protect the water resources of the area as it quarries deeper and deeper into the ground. How this will be done entails as yet untested engineering that might fly in the face of the public’s demand for clean, abundant drinking water and protected ecosystems, especially in an area as environmentally sensitive as the Niagara Escarpment.