background

Scroll down for a summary of the issues surrounding the Teedon Pit and the Sarjeant Pits or start here with our glossary of the key terms, places and organizations.

  • aquifer – an underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock, rock fractures or unconsolidated materials
  • moraine – a ridge or mound of rock debris including sand and gravel left by glaciers; the debris forms a filter for water including rainfall. Gravel is also a primary resource used in construction
  • Simcoe Moraine or Oro Moraine – a ridge made of glacial debris about 26 km long running northwest of Lake Simcoe and covering over 140 square kilometres. The moraine drains into Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe.
  • French’s Hill and the Waverley Uplands – the low range of hills that are part of the Oro Moraine, visible from the Elmvale water kiosk; French’s Hill is a natural filter for the Alliston Aquifer
  • Alliston Aquifer –  an aquifer under the Oro Moraine that stretches south from Georgian Bay in Tiny Township all the way down to Highway 9 and has the purest water tested to date by scientists; this aquifer supplies drinking water for much of North Simcoe and beyond; watch the video
  • The Flow, Elmvale – the water kiosk just north of Elmvale, Ontario on Highway 27; like many others in the area, it is an artesian well (meaning the water flows under natural pressure without pumping); people travel from far and wide to keep themselves supplied with this pure water
  • groundwater – water beneath Earth’s surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations
  • water table – upper level of an underground area permanently saturated with water 
  • hydrogeology – the area of geology that deals with the distribution and movement of groundwater in the soil and rocks of the Earth’s crust (commonly in aquifers)
  • Anishinaabe –  a group of culturally related indigenous peoples whose territory is included in William’s Treaty Territory and encompasses both the Teedon Pit and the Alliston Aquifer
  • nibi – water
  • Clean Water Act – passed in Ontario in 2006 to protect municipal drinking water after E.coli contamination of the Walkerton drinking water system left seven dead (many  residents in Tiny rely on private wells and thus are not protected by the Clean Water Act)
  • Canadian Environmental Law Association a non-profit, public interest organization established in 1970 to use existing laws to protect the environment and to advocate for environmental law reforms
The illustration shows an artesian well and a flowing artesian well, which are drilled into a confined aquifer, and a water table well, which is drilled into an unconfined aquifer. Also shown are the Piezometric surface in the confined aquifer and the impermeable, confining layer between the confined and unconfined aquifer. (Credit: Environment and Climate Change Canada)
  • aggregate – coarse to medium grained particulate material used in construction, including sand, gravel and crushed stone 
  • aggregate extraction – aggregate is mined from the earth, either dug out of pits or blasted out of quarries; aggregates are the most mined materials in the world; gravel pits can use large amounts of water to ‘wash’ gravel as well and they can dig beneath the water table, which can drastically change hydrogeology
  • Teedon Pit – a gravel pit located in Concession 1, Tiny Township within Anishinaabe territory; originally owned by K.J. Beamish Construction Co. Ltd; purchased in 2017 by Dufferin Aggregates, a division of CRH Canada Group Inc. 
  • CRH Canada Group Inc. – part of CRH plc, a global building materials company which is one of the top three building material players globally and number two in the world in aggregates, headquartered in Ireland
  • Dufferin Aggregates Teedon Pit Community Liaison Committee – established in 2017
  • The Sarjeant Company – a Barrie based aggregates, construction and fuels company
  • Permit to Take Water – companies which take over 50,000 litres of water/day from a lake, river, stream or groundwater source, must obtain a Permit to Take Water from the Ministry of the Environment; the Teedon Pit permit expired on April 28, 2018 but gravel continues to be washed in the Teedon Pit with what is considered to be the world’s purest water
  • silt – granular material of a size between sand and clay; when silt appears as a pollutant in water it is called siltation
  • Dump Site 41 (North Simcoe landfill Site 41)– a planned landfill site for municipal waste above the Alliston Aquifer; the site was to begin operation in the fall of 2009, however, Simcoe County Council voted to shelve the project after a massive public protest; many now refer to the current campaign as the fight to stop Site 42
  • Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) – an independent administrative tribunal that replaced the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and hears applications and appeals on municipal and planning matters including zoning bylaws, subdivision plans, official plans, consents and minor variances under the Planning Act

Summary – Teedon Pit Extension

The Teedon Pit is in Concession 1, Tiny Township, Ontario, above the aquifer that supplies pure water for much of North Simcoe and beyond and was threatened over 10 years ago by the proposal to establish Dump Site 41. There has been a small pit at the Teedon site for many years, operating below capacity. However, in 2008-2009, soon after the aggregate operation expanded, residents near the pit who rely on groundwater began reporting silt in wells, local streams and springs , though the connection between the pit operation and the impacts on wells is disputed by the province and the pit.  Recently, silt has also been briefly observed in the artesian well water at the water kiosk on County Road 27, just north of Elmvale. In 2012, an application was submitted to extend the Teedon Gravel Pit . In addition to the potential environmental risks posed by the extraction and the washing of gravel above the aquifer, the pit running at capacity can mean 40 trucks an hour arriving at and leaving the pit. The current owners of the pit, CRH Canada, appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal about Tiny Township’s failure to amend its Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw to allow for the northward extension of the pit into French’s Hill. FoTTSA has been granted party status in the appeal. Protection of drinking water is so important in this case that lawyers with the Canadian Environmental Law Association agreed to represent FoTTSA.

At the same time, The Sarjeant Company has licenses to dig two new gravel pits above the Alliston Aquifer and to extract gravel below the water table at one of them.

One way to stop the development of these pits is for the Ontario government to declare a moratorium on the extraction of aggregates. In January 2020, Tiny Township Council unanimously voted for the following statements:

  • that the Township is fundamentally opposed to the extraction and washing of aggregate in environmentally sensitive areas 
  • that there is presently  a groundwater study being undertaken by Dr. Cherry et al and that  the findings of this report be taken into consideration by the province prior to the issuance of any further licenses

Teedon Pit Resources, Documents & Experts

January 29, 2020 FoTTSA’s Objector Response letter and an expert opinion from hydrogeologist Wilf Ruland delivered to CRH Canada and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

January 2020 Objector Response Letter from Anne Ritchie-Nahuis and John Nahuis

January 23, 2020 Open Letter to the General Public, regarding chemical analyses of artesian flows in the Elmvale area by Dr. William Shotyk

January 3, 2020 CRH Canada Group Inc letter claiming to have resolved all the issues raised by individuals and groups who submitted comments about its intention to extend the Teedon Pit in Concession 1 of Tiny Township north into French’s Hill

Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition Aggregate Reform Review – May 1, 2019 – Aggregate extraction in Tiny Township has increased more than 60% since 2000

March 2019 FoTTSA Comment Letter to MNRF and CRH Canada

March 2019 Council of Canadians email to MNRF

2019 ​Teedon Pit Extension Application to MNRF under the Aggregate Resources Act

Letter to Simcoe County from Dr. William Shotyk, December 2018

Planning Application to Township of Tiny – Extension of The Teedon Pit 

Letter to the Ministry of the Environment from Jagger HIMS LTD, Environmental Consulting Engineers, August 2007 regarding PTTW application for Teedon Pit, Site 41 and groundwater in the Waverley area

Summary – Two Sarjeant Pits

Road Improvement Agreement between the Township of Tiny and the Sarjeant Company

In 2011 the Township and the Sarjeant Company entered into a road improvement agreement regarding French Road, which Sarjeant intended to use as a haul road for the operation of two newly licensed pits in Parts of Lots 78 and 79 Old Survey (south and west of the Teedon Pit), in Concession 1 of Tiny. The only user of the road would be Sarjeant since there are no dwellings on it. The improvements were not made, and the pits were not opened.

In 2019, Sarjeant decided to make the pits operational and approached the Township about executing an Amending Agreement to the French Road Improvement Agreement so that it could bring the road up to haul road standard and gravel could be trucked out to County Road 27. Requirements for the haul road were updated.  Since Sarjeant was the sole user of the road, Councillor Mintoff suggested that the Amending Agreement require Sarjeant to maintain the road to an appropriate standard throughout the period when it was needed as a haul road and then turn it over to the Township in good condition.

The decision was taken to revisit the Amending Agreement to include a clause regarding the ongoing maintenance and care of the truck haul route by the Sarjeant Company. FoTTSA noted that this road is the only control Tiny has over the Sarjeant gravel pits: the zoning is aggregate, the license to take gravel is in the hands of the province, and if washing of gravel is contemplated, the Permit to take Water is also controlled by the province. FoTTSA therefore made an open, unscheduled deputation on October 16th, 2019 at the Council Meeting because the by-law about the haul road was on the agenda. Following that, an open unscheduled deputation was made by a representative from the Sarjeant company.

FoTTSA Deputation to Tiny Council on December 9th, 2019Sarjeant Haul Road & Waverley Uplands Aquifer 2019

Tiny Council decided October 28th, 2019 to defer passage of the French Road Haul Route Amending Agreement until staff reported back on discussions with the Sarjeant Company regarding the storing, recycling and processing of asphalt at Waverley Pits 1 and 2 and aggregate extraction below the water table at Waverley Pit 2.

Dave Hopkins, Senior Hydrogeologist, R.J. Burnside & Associates Engineering reviewed studies and site plan notes related to hydrogeological studies submitted by Sarjeant and to excavation of aggregates from below the water table. Burnside also considered whether new regulations would impact its March 2009 recommendation and whether the Township could comment on a pit where the aggregate licence has already been issued by the province. In November 2019, Hopkins stated that the opinion expressed in Burnside’s July 9, 2009 letter remains unchanged: the company still finds everything to be in order. Following this, Council approved the French Road Haul Route Amending Agreement, clearing the way for two new pits to be dug above the Alliston Aquifer, one of them permitting excavation below the water table.

Amendment to Sarjeant’s Site Plan: In correspondence dated January 22, 2020, the Ministry of the Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) agreed to the Sarjeant Company’s proposal that Note “f)” on the Operational Plan which currently reads “Recyclable materials, i.e. concrete and asphalt may be imported on to the site” be removed and replaced with “Asphalt may not be imported on to the site. Other recyclable materials (i.e. concrete) may be imported on to the site.”

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