PC Motion on Aggregate Resources Act Review Passes CommitteeMay 10, 2012
KITCHENER — Late yesterday, the Standing Committee tasked with the review of the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA) passed a PC motion to extend public hearings and conduct consultations across the province.
“The Standing Committee did the right thing by agreeing to extend public hearings on the Aggregate Resources Act review,” said Michael Harris, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga. “In order to move forward now, House Leaders from all three parties must authorize the Committee to proceed as outlined in our motion.”
The motion as passed will allow the Committee to hold public hearings and investigations during the month of June. It would also allow the Committee to sit for as many days as deemed necessary to hear from the public and concerned stakeholders.
“This is a very positive step to ensuring a meaningful review of the Aggregate Resources Act,” said Harris. “If the House Leaders of the other parties support the motion passed yesterday, we will be able to move forward with additional hearings across the province.”
In addition, the motion passed would enable the Committee to travel to aggregate producing regions across the province to solicit feedback as well as to visit and tour current, proposed and decommissioned aggregate resource facilities.
“Since the review was first announced, I have been working to ensure our local municipalities, residents and stakeholders have the opportunity to provide feedback as part of the review,” said Harris. “I appreciate the Committee’s support for including Waterloo Region on the list of locations for public hearings moving forward.”
“Based on the number of current and future aggregate applications in our community, it makes sense for the Committee to visit Waterloo Region,” Harris said. “I encourage Liberal House Leader, and Kitchener-Centre MPP John Milloy, to stand with the PC Caucus in support of extending public hearings and conducting consultations in Waterloo Region.”
The motion put forward by PC Natural Resources Critic Laurie Scott and passed by the Standing Committee on General Government read:
That the Standing Committee on General Government (herein “the Committee) extend the number of days and hours of its public hearings for the Aggregate Resources Act and that the Committee undertake the following:
1. Seek the authorization from each of the House Leaders of the recognized parties in the House to permit that the Committee be able to sit so as to hold public hearings and investigations after the House rises during the month of June, and that it be able to sit as many days as the Committee deems necessary to hear from the public and concerned stakeholders; and,
2. Seek the authorization from each of the House Leaders of the recognized parties so that the Committee may be able to travel from place to place in Ontario for the purposes of holding the aforementioned public hearings and that such locations in Ontario, include but not be limited to: Windsor, London, Region of Waterloo, Brampton, Barrie, Durham County, Peterborough, Ottawa, Sudbury, Sault Saint Marie and, Dryden; and that other locations be agreed upon by the sub-committee as necessary, with particular consideration being given for the regions of the Province of Ontario whereby the communities are impacted by the Act; and,
3. That during the aforementioned hearings that the committee, in addition to holding public hearings also be able undertake to visit and tour various aggregate resource facilities, processing centres and/or quarries that are: in current operation; and/or are proposed to be in operation; and/or are no longer in operation; and/or facilities that have been “rehabilitated”.
Aggregate Resources Act Review Timeline:
September 20, 2011 – Just 17 days before the provincial election, the Liberals announce as part of their seat-saver program a review of the Aggregate Resources Act. No details on when the review would take place, what would be reviewed or the impact of the review on existing applications was provided.
December 6, 2011 – MPP Michael Harris submits a formal request to the Minister of Natural Resources asking for specific details on this review. The request was:
“Would the Minister of Natural Resources provide a detailed timeline for completing a review, (promised during the election) of the Aggregate Resources Act, including an indication of the specific areas of the Act to be examined, as well as the expected impact of this review on existing quarry applications currently in front of local Councils and/or the Ontario Municipal Board.”
March 22, 2012 – The review of the Aggregate Resources Act receives all-party support in the Legislature. The review will be conducted by the Standing Committee on General Government.
May 4, 2012 – In preparation for the first meeting of the Standing Committee on General Government, a Sub-Committee met to determine the way forward on the review. During this meeting it was determined that only four dates for public hearings, all in Toronto, would take place on May 7th and 14th from 2pm to 6pm and May 9th and May 16th from 4pm to 6pm.
May 7, 2012 – First meeting of the Standing Committee reviewing the Aggregate Resources Act meets and begins hearing from interested parties as part of the review. Based on the timeline for public consultations, the only public notice in province-wide newspapers appears.
May 9, 2012 – The Standing Committee tasked with the review of the Aggregate Resources Act passes a PC motion to extend public hearings and conduct consultations across the province. Based on the original timelines, this was also the deadline to request delegation status.