August 2008 – State & Province News
Glacier Island received the final permit on a dock-building project for its Maury Island site and said it could begin construction on the 400-foot pier that would open operations at its 192-acre gravel mine as soon as the middle of this month. The pier will feature an enclosed conveyor belt to facilitate barging of materials. The Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber reports that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the pier will have an impact on the area, but not a significant enough of one to withhold the permit. A spokesperson for the Corps told the newspaper that it had reviewed more than 500 comments submitted by islanders and others concerned about the project. Members of the decade-old Preserve Our Islands opposition group say they will continue to fight the project. The group’s president told the newspaper that the Corps erred in failing to require an environmental impact statement and in disregarding letters from local realtors concerning the operation’s impact on area property values.
The Lisbon Town Board stalled Halquist Stone Co.’s plans to rezone five residential parcels it owns so that it can expand quarry operations in 20 to 30 years. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Supervisor Ron Esser convinced his fellow board members not to act on a recommendation from the Plan Commission until the board has more information about the use of the property and the fiscal impact of rezoning. He said that the property is zoned residential but has been used for agricultural purposes. He also wants to know the impact of rezoning on the town’s tax base. The commission recommended the five properties be rezoned to permit extraction of aggregates via blasting. Both the Town Board and Waukesha County have already approved the necessary land-use plan changes to allow rezoning. Town Supervisor Joseph Osterman, who owns property next to the Halquist property, has been a vocal opponent of the proposed rezoning. He abstained from the vote. Halquist spokesman Dave Anderson said the company was seeking rezoning now “so there will be no surprises for new people moving in and looking at zoning maps.”
A lawyer speaking on behalf of a local company that wants to open a 200-acre limestone quarry north of Havelock, Ontario, told attendees of a special meeting of the Havelock-Belmont-Methuen council that the site is a good place to extract aggregates. According to the Community Press, the lawyer noted that very few aggregate licenses have been granted in Ontario during the last 10 years and resources are diminishing. He also pointed out that provincial policy specifies that resource industries must be located in rural areas. A spokesman for a community opposition group complained that such use would not be compatible with the rural character of the area and voiced concerns about environmental issues, dust, noise, and wells. The previous owners of the site, Harnden and King Construction, received approval for a quarry, but never opened an operation. The new owner, Drain Brothers, has applied to the Ministry of Environment to license the site under the Aggregate Resources Act. If the license is approved, a maximum of 500,000 tons per year could be extracted from the site, which boasts reserves of close to 30 million tons.
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